Single In The Suburbs, Installment 25

In a moment of boldness, our writer acted on impulse and asked out her child’s teacher… and now waits to see what happens!

By Sara Susannah Katz

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

n our last installment, our columnist decided to take a big risk… and ask out her daughter’s drama teacher, whom she caught giving her the eye. Meanwhile, her date with Sleep Apnea Man (a.k.a. Sam) is right around the corner…

Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
No word from Mr. Kidman. Of course, it’s only been five minutes since I sent the email. But I’m obsessed. And I cannot focus on my work until I’ve heard from him. So I hit the refresh button on my email again and again, hoping for a message.

Thursday, 9:07 a.m.
Did my message go to his junk email file?

Thursday, 9:22 a.m.
This is crazy. Why would I assume that Mr. Kidman would a) get my message—after all, he’s a high-school teacher and is probably in class; and b) respond instantly, even if he did receive it? I vow to stop checking.

Thursday, 9:45 p.m.
I can’t help myself. I have to look.

Yes. I’ve got a new message.

Wait. It’s not from Andy Kidman. It’s from Dave Myers. He wants to know if I got his phone message and he’s urging me to send in my resume ASAP. I feel a twinge of guilt as I consider applying for the job. When I took this position, I assured my boss that I wasn’t a job-hopper; apparently none of the people who had the job before me lasted more than a couple of years. I tend to be loyal as a golden retriever, especially when I know my boss would be lost without me. On the other hand, I need the money. And I hate Brenda McAleer.

Thursday, 10:50 p.m.
A whole day has passed and no response from Mr. Kidman. I wonder if my message was directed to his junk email box. Or maybe he decided to ignore it for legal reasons; everyone’s so paranoid about being sued these days, who knows? Or maybe he got it, read it, and was so horrified by it that he couldn’t bring himself to respond.

I decide to turn my attention to my date with Sam, who I have crassly come to think of as my ticket out of the labor force and back to the cushy world of a stay-at-home wife.

Oh, God. I can’t believe I just wrote that. I try to think of it as a sign of how unhappy I’ve been at work and how hard it is to fully let go of the life I once had. It probably also has something to do with a conversation I had with Liz, a good friend in the subdivision across the road. She asked what I’ve been up to and my answer was: working 10-hour days so I can finish writing a speech for my boss, revising a five-year vision statement, figuring out how my department will survive after impending budget cuts and, of course, dodging Brenda McAleer and poison arrows.

Then I asked her what she was doing and her response was: planning a family vacation in Ireland and redoing her kitchen. I felt like crying.

So I send out this prayer to the universe: Please forgive me if I sometimes sound like a gold-digger. I’m really just a decent human being who’s trying very hard to adjust to an entirely new way of life.

Friday, 9 a.m.
I decide to write to Mr. Kidman yet again. This time I take a humbled tone: “I’m sorry if I scared you off. I’m new at this.”

Friday, 10:20 a.m.
Brenda scurries, rodent-like, into my office and shuts the door behind her. “I’ve just got to tell you, your assistant is simply not up to par. I mean, she’s an actual liability at this point.”

I take a deep breath. I’d hired Kerry about eight months ago. She’s young and sometimes she goofs up, but basically she’s a smart, amiable young woman. Brenda tells me that she doesn’t like Kerry’s attitude. “She makes this face every time I ask her for something.”

“Maybe that’s because she reports to me, not you.”

“But we’re a team. We’re supposed to be supporting each other.”

Not exactly. Brenda has her own assistant, the beleaguered Mildred. Technically she’s not supposed to be assigning Kerry anything.

“I think you should consider disciplinary action,” Brenda says. “I’ve heard her badmouth
I surprise myself by kissing him back.
you on more than one occasion, you should know. And you really need to learn how to keep your staff in line.”

At this point I should have turned my back on Brenda McAleer and said something like, “I’ll take it under advisement. You may leave now.” Alas, I’m not that kind of person. I thanked her for her input and watched as she scurried out of my office on her little rat feet.

Friday, 11:11 a.m.
Someone once told me that whenever the clock hits 11:11, you’re supposed to make a wish. OK: Let Mr. Kidman write back.

Friday, 11:15 a.m.
This is eerie. It worked.

Friday, 11:20 a.m.
I guess I should have been a little more specific when I was making my wish. Yes, he writes back but no, he’s not interested in dating me. He writes, “You did not scare me off. Thank you for your note, but I am already in a committed relationship. Have a good day!”

Have a good day? HAVE A GOOD DAY?!?

My day is already miserable, and it’s not even noon. I write: I totally understand. You have a good day too!

Friday, 8:50 p.m.
I pack an overnight bag for my trip to Sam’s house. I try to be optimistic. He’s smart. He’s passionate about his work, a trait I find so appealing that I put it in my profile as one of my preferences in a mate. He enjoys the good things in life. He has a boat. He likes to read. And, like me, he’s a parent, which means I probably won’t have to feel overly self-conscious about my kids. And, frankly, he’s a warm body, and I’m feeling a little lonely these days.

Saturday, noon
I’m standing on Sam’s porch, yet again. It’s just as messy as it was last time, but there’s a new addition, an empty wicker bookshelf. I smooth my hair and clack the door-knocker. Sam flings open the door and looks at me. He’s beaming. “I’m so glad you’re here,” he says. “Come on in.”

I barely make it across the threshold when he pulls me into his arms and slathers my lips and face with big, wet kisses. What he lacks in technique he clearly makes up for in enthusiasm. I surprise myself by kissing him back with equal enthusiasm. My body is responding to him in ways I hadn’t expected. Without a word, he leads me up the wide oak staircase to his bedroom.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 26

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Would you buy someone a holiday gift that you've been dating for less than 6 months?

Yes, if I want the relationship to continue

Maybe, but only to avoid seeming rude

No, that's too early to exchange gifts

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