Single In The Suburbs, Installment 129

After a session at the therapist, our writer’s confronted with a distraught-looking Craig trying to wave her down. What fresh crisis is waiting to distract her from enjoying an afternoon off?

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n our last installment, our writer had just emerged from her therapist’s office determined to find a way to reward herself for making the right decisions. Unfortunately, Craig’s sudden appearance has distracted her… what could he possibly want?

Wednesday, 1:05 p.m.
I pull the car over and Craig slowly walks to the passenger side and lets himself in. “Have you been crying? What’s
I’m sitting at Brazen Joe, waiting for Craig to show up.
wrong? Are you OK? Are the kids OK? Is it something at work? Is it your health?” At this point I will tell you what you surely already know about me if you’ve been following my misadventures for any length of time: I am a worrier. A catastrophizer. A quick jumper to envision worst-case-scenarios. Maybe it’s because when I was 17 my Dad’s stomach pain turned out to be cancer that killed him 14 months later at age 42. Or because my Mom’s memory lapses turned out to be the beginning of dementia and she was dead at age 68. Or maybe I was just born that way.

“Fine, fine, everyone is fine, it’s nothing like that,” he says, loudly blowing his nose into a tissue. “I just got out of an appointment with my therapist. Your timing is perfect. We were talking about you.”

Me? That can’t be good. “So why were you crying?”

He closes his eyes and shakes his head. “Eh.”

“Eh? What’s eh?”

“I don’t know, Sara. I just... Oh, you don’t want to hear my troubles. You seem to be happy now. You’ve got this Aaron guy—”

“It’s Ethan.”

“Ethan, Aaron, whatever.”

I look at my watch. I’ve got a little time before I have to be anywhere. I ask Craig if he might like to get a cup of coffee. He smiles gratefully and tells me he’d love to. I tell him to meet me at Brazen Joe, a coffee shop near campus.

Wednesday, 1:15 p.m.
I’m sitting at Brazen Joe, waiting for Craig to show up. I thought he was right behind me. I can’t imagine why he’s not here yet. As I’m sitting here, I’m realizing that almost everyone in this place is heavily tattooed. The little blonde sitting next to me has the following on her arms, neck, chest and back: hula girls, a deck of cards featuring the ace of spades, a pair of giraffes, Bob Marley, the Grim Reaper, a monkey eating what looks like a hand grenade and a long vine that trails up one arm, around her back, and down the other arm. This girl can’t be more than 23 or 24 years old and I can only assume that one day she is going to wake up and wonder: WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING??? At least she can remove that large
Yes, it’s tacky — but there is significance here.
ring hanging from her septum, but she’s stuck with those tattoos forever. When I was 23 I loved stirrup pants and leg warmers and then, like the rest of the world, I got tired of them and now they are repulsive to me. What if I’d been stuck with them forever? I want to tell this girl that she has made a huge mistake but it’s too late now and anyway, she’ll probably figure that out for herself someday.

Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.
Craig finally walks in the door. He’s carrying a little paper bag. “Sorry I took so long. I stopped to buy you something.”

I’m apprehensive. Why would Craig want to buy me anything? This is a little weird. He says, “I saw this at that crazy little junk shop on 7th and knew you’d love it. So I swung by there on my way here. Go ahead. Open it!” He’s smiling now as he pushes the bag across the table toward me.

I reach into the bag and pull out a Mr. T bobblehead doll. Yes, it’s tacky — but there is significance here. When Craig and I were married, we had this thing about Mr. T. We named our cat after Mr. T. We dressed like Mr. T for Halloween. We had a little Mr. T figurine that we’d take turns hiding around the house; the doll would show up in my underwear drawer or inside a box of Frosted Flakes. And when one of us was mad, the other would use the doll to break the tension (“Aw, Mr. T doesn’t like to see you angry. Come on baby, give Mr. T a kiss.”)

I set the bobblehead on the table between us and look directly into my ex-husband’s eyes. “What are you trying to tell me, Craig?”

Attention, faithful fans of Single in the Suburbs! Our writer, Sara, will be winding down her column with the final installment scheduled to appear in October 2010. We’d love to hear how the ongoing saga of Sara’s love life has affected you personally. Have you tried online dating yourself? Have you struggled to re-enter the dating world after the end of a long-term relationship? Did Sara’s story encourage you to get out there and date again? Send your thoughts to Your comments and stories may be included in a follow-up article discussing the series’ overall impact and what Sara sees for herself in the future.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 130

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