I don’t know her personally. Only from the two-and-a-half hours of Facebook stalking, I had done the night before. And— of course— I forgot to put deodorant on this morning.
Jessica Parker carries a reusable tote to the grocery store. It’s a beige canvas material with an Eleanor Roosevelt quote on it. She would be the kind of woman to carry Eleanor Roosevelt totes. I imagine conversations stemming from it. All of them leading down the road toward her recent acquiring of a Harvard undergraduate degree. I had been to Harvard once too. On a school trip my senior year of high school.
Jessica pulls out vegetables from the tote and places them on the conveyer belt that slowly rolls toward me. She’s probably vegetarian. No—vegan. That’s more intense. And she probably wears vegan clothing and sleeps under a vegan comforter from the brand Avocado. Because she is the picture of organic beauty. Practically grown from the soil of the earth. An equal among the portrait of nature.
“Hi!” She chirps as if she’s on her third cup of coffee. Coffee with oat milk.
I smile and nod curtly. Does she know that I know? Of course not. That would mean she’s insane like I am. Coconut. Her hair wafts the scent of coconut my way when she tosses her dark tresses over her shoulder. Joe loved the scent of coconut.
Last night I was in my Golden Girls pajamas, crying as usual, with a half nursed glass of wine on my nightstand. I originally went to the internet to search how many millennials spend their nights weeping like me, but then I saw it. The small square at the top right of my computer. A notification from hell—also known as my calendar.
If I had any more tears left to cry I would have. Instead, I only had a maniacal laugh left in me. A guttural response to the comedy of my life. I remember making that note in my calendar after our second date. He told me he had always wanted to see the Knicks play at Madison Square Garden. I gave the tickets to him even after we parted ways. Because it’s sickening how spineless I am.
I numbly tapped Facebook, knowing the wound I was about to inflict on myself. Seeing how deep the pain could go. It was the first picture on my feed. A candid photo. Jessica tipping her chin up to his tall frame, his dimples popping through the coarse texture of his dark beard. Someone somewhere was watching my meltdown with popcorn. The angels on high looking down, shrugging at their failure. The creepy old man that lives in the apartment across the street that sometimes stands and watches me with a beer in his hand. My dog, begrudgingly comforting me once again. I felt eyes everywhere mocking me. Watching as I felt every last hope disintegrate like sand through my hands.
So the angels on high must have sent Jessica Parker to my checkout line at Trader Joe’s because they didn’t get enough entertainment the first time around. Normally, our store’s namesake is known for their exceptional customer service. Their staff hand selected from the rose beds of a distant magical land where everyone is always happy. I don’t have that in me at the moment. I ring her up wordlessly. Fighting every urge to ask her how he’s doing.
I still don’t know why I would even want to know.
Jessica Parker slides out a weighty titanium credit card. Even her descent into debt is perfect. I bag her groceries. Lemons. Oranges. Kale. Definitely vegan. I slide the bag over to her. Receipt in the side.
“You’re beautiful,” she whispers to me. I dare to glance at her. The crisp smile faded from her face. Malibu Barbie has cracked. And for a second I believe that there’s a universe in which perfect Jessica Parker and I are more alike than different.