The Girls' Global Guide to Guys
"It couldn’t possibly have been that bad."
"Oh, but it was. I saw his who-know-what within an hour of knowing him, totally against my will."
"He flashed you?"
"Not exactly. We stopped by my apartment after dinner before we went to the club because we’d gone for Italian, and I had garlic breath, and I wanted to brush my teeth before we went dancing, even though I knew within four seconds of meeting him that it could never go anywhere. I don’t know what Sylvia was thinking setting us up. But to be polite I had to go through the charade of the date anyway, even though I wasn’t remotely attracted to him. So I started brushing my teeth, but I wanted to check on him and make sure he was okay, so I came out from the bathroom into the living room, and he was just sitting there on the couch, naked."
"Yes. Naked and, ah . . . you know, aroused." I’m stuck in traffic, story of my life, talking on my cell phone, which is paid for by the company I work for, making it one of the very, very few perks of being employed by Pinnacle Media. "I mean I know it’s been a while since I’ve dated anyone, but isn’t the whole point of dating and sex to kind of, I don’t know, enjoy this stuff together? Like getting turned on by the other person’s touch, and not by the sound of someone brushing her teeth in the bathroom?"
"So what did you do?"
"Well, I looked at him like the maniac he was, and he realized that I was appalled and said that he’d assumed that when I said I was going to the bathroom to brush my teeth, what I really meant was that I was going to put my diaphragm in."
"I don’t . . . is English his native language? I don’t see how anyone could possibly come to that conclusion."
"Right Tate, that’s my point. The guy was a loon. So I reply, quite logically under the circumstances I think, my mouth foaming with toothpaste, ‘No, I willy was bruffing my teef.’ And this whole situation strikes me as so wildly funny. I mean in the past six months, I’ve dated a bitter divorcé, been hit on by a string of lesbians, and now this. How did my dating life go so tragically wrong? Anyway, I just lost it. I crumpled to the ground in a fit of hysteria. I mean I started laughing so hard I literally couldn’t stand, and he looked all put out and confused and out of the corner of my eye, as I was convulsing around like a fish out of water, I see him get dressed, and then he stepped over my writhing body and said, ‘I don’t know where things went wrong between us . . .’"
"No!" Tate howls with laughter.
"Yes. He said some other stuff, but I was laughing too hard to hear him. I mean, hello, I can tell you exactly where you went wrong, buddy.’"
Tate and I laugh, then Tate says, "Did you tell Sylvia about how the guy she set you up with is a kook?"
"Hell, yes. I called her up and I was like, ‘um, thanks for setting me up with a sexual predator.’ And you know what she said? She said, ‘I knew it had been a long time for both of you, and I thought you might just enjoy each other’s company, even if it never got serious.’ I don’t think you need to be an English lit major to read the hidden meaning in that sentence. I mean, obviously Sylvia thinks I’m such a sad schlub who is so desperate for sex I’ll have a one-night-stand with a scrawny, socially inept engineer."
"Jadie, look at it this way: you can put all these experiences into your writing. Maybe you’ll write a book one day about all the hilarious dates you’ve been on."
I groan. "Oh god, please don’t tell me I’m going to go on enough bad dates to fill an entire book."
"There’s a guy out there for you, I know there is."
"Maybe. I’m just pretty sure he’s not in Boulder, Colorado."
"He’s out there. I know he is. Somewhere. Look, I gotta go. I’m going to be late for my shift."
"Have fun slinging tofu."
"Oh, you know I always do."
I click the phone off, and now that I have nothing to occupy myself with I can focus completely on how annoyed I am at sacrificing yet another hour of my life to traffic. Why aren’t we going anywhere, why?
I can’t wait until the day I can work full time as a writer and won’t have to commute in highway traffic twice a day any more.
I’m a travel writer, though most people call me a "creative project manager for a web design company." Personally I think this shows an appalling lack of imagination. I have published travel articles, after all. Several of them in fact. Granted, all told, in my five years of freelancing I’ve only made a few hundred bucks on my writing and my travel expenses have come to about ten times more than what I made from my articles, but it’s a start. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, "creative project manager" is a fancy title for "underpaid doormat who works too hard." Essentially, my job is to manage people who do actual work. I make sure the copywriters, graphic designers, and programmers are getting their pieces of the puzzle done on time. Every now and then I get to brainstorm ideas for how to design a website, and those are the few moments when I actually like my job, when I get to be creative and use my brain, letting the ideas come tumbling out. But mostly my job feels ethereal and unsubstantial. The world of the Internet moves so quickly that by the time a website gets launched, the company we created the site for is already working on a redesign, and within months, any work I did on a site disappears. That’s why I like writing for magazines. I do the work, it gets printed with my byline, and I have the satisfaction of having something tangible to show for my efforts.)
Finally I see what has been holding traffic up—a car that’s pulled over to the side of the road with a flat tire. Great. Forty extra minutes on my commute so people can slow down to see the very exciting sight of a car with a flat tire.
Eventually I make it home, grab the mail, unlock my door, and dump the mail on my kitchen table, my keys clattering down beside the stack of bills and catalogs advertising clothes I wouldn’t wear under threat of torture. I sift through the pile; in it is the latest issue of the alumni magazine from the journalism school at the University of Colorado at Boulder, my alma matter. I flip idly through it until I see classmate of mine, Brenda Amundson, who smiles up at me from the magazine’s glossy pages in her fashionable haircut and trendy clothes. As I read the article, my mood sinks.
I know I’m not the first person who has struggled to make it as a writer, but sometimes, like, oh, say, when I get my alumni magazine and read that Brenda Amundson, who is my age—twenty-seven—and has the same degree I have, is making a trillion zillion dollars a year writing for a popular sitcom in LA while I’m struggling to get a few bucks writing for magazines no one has ever heard of, my self esteem wilts.
I change into a t-shirt and shorts to go for a run—I need to blow off steam. To warm up, I walk to a park, then I start an easy jog along the path along Boulder Creek. It’s 7:30 at night, but the sun is still out and the air is warm.
Boulder has its faults, but it’s so gorgeous you forgive them. No matter how many years I’ve lived here, the scenery never stops being breathtaking. As I run, I take in the quiet beauty of the trees, the creek, the stunning architecture. The University of Colorado at Boulder is an intensely gorgeous campus. Every building is made out of the red and pink colors of sandstone rocks and topped with barrel-tiled roofs. Behind them are the Flatirons, the jagged cliffs in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains that draw rock climbers from around the world and help routinely put Boulder on "best places to live" lists in magazines.
I jog for about half an hour, then walk and stretch until I’ve caught my breath. I sit down on the grass and watch three college students playing Frisbee in one corner of the field. Across the way, two young people with dreadlocks and brightly colored rags for clothes are playing catch with a puppy.
The puppy makes me smile, but I realize as I watch it that I still feel tense. My jaw muscles are sore from clenching them, a bad habit I have when I am stressed, which is most of the time these days it seems.
I need to get away, to relax. I long to hit the road.
I’ve always loved traveling. Since I was a little kid I always wanted to escape, to find a place where I could comfortably call home and just be myself. In the small town where I grew up, life was a daily exercise in not fitting in.
The fact that I was considered weird was mostly my parents’ fault. They ran a health food store/new age shop where they tried to sell crystals to align charkas, tarot cards, incense, meditation music, that sort of thing. I’m fairly certain that no one ever bought a single sack of brown rice or bag of seaweed from their grocery store. They got by because of the side businesses they ran in the shop—Mom cut hair and Dad built and repaired furniture. Yes, I know, a health food/new age/hair salon/furniture shop is unusual, but when I was growing up, it was all I knew.
My mom was the kind to bake oatmeal cookies sweetened with apple juice and honey and would rather have me gnaw off my own arm than eat a Ding Dong or another processed-food evil. You can imagine how popular the treats I brought to school for bake sales and holiday parties were. About as popular as me. Which is to say not at all.
I sat through years of school lunches all on my own, eating carob bran muffins and organic apples while every other kid had Ho-Hos and Pop-Tarts and peanut butter fluff sandwiches washed down with Coke or chocolate milk. And as I would eat in solitude, I would dream of getting away. I longed to see the world. I ached to find some place where I could be whoever I wanted to be and wouldn’t be the weird kid in town.
I found that place in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is a place where pot-smoking, dreadlocked eighteen-year-olds claim poverty yet wear Raybans. Boulderites believe themselves to be one with nature, but own some of the most expensive homes in the country and drive CO2-spewing SUVs without irony. It’s a place that manages to be somehow new age and old school. A place where yuppies and hippies collide and where, inexplicably, people think running in marathons is actually fun.
My life is equally mixed up. It feels like a pinball machine—I’m the ball, getting flung around in directions I couldn’t foresee and never considered. Like how I ended up working for Pinnacle Media. I thought that after graduation I would become this world-renowned journalist covering coup attempts, international corruption and intrigue, the works. But after I got my degree, I couldn’t get a job writing so much as obituaries for some small-town newspaper. Frustratingly, papers like the New York Times and Washington Post seemed to be doing okay even without my help, and nobody from their respective papers were banging down my door begging me to write for them. They didn’t even glance at my resume, just like every other newspaper in America, no matter how small or inconsequential. So I took a job doing Web content at an Internet company during the height of Internet insanity, when every twenty-year-old-kid with a computer was declaring himself a CEO and launching an online business determined to get rich quick. The company was living large for a while, but then the economy started to turn. I could tell we were going down, and I felt lucky when I landed the job at Pinnacle.
That feeling lasted, oh, twenty-eight seconds.
I’ve been looking for a new job since about the day after I started with Pinnacle, but with the economy the way it is, there have been almost no jobs advertised that I’m qualified to fill. My mantra is someday the economy will get better and I’ll be able to find another job. Someday the economy will get better and I’ll be able to get another job. But until then, my situation feels a lot like trapped.
I travel to get away whenever possible, taking a handful of short trips each year to cities in the United States, Mexico, or Canada. I’ve been saving up money and vacation time to go on a real trip, something longer than a four-day weekend, but I keep waiting for some flash of insight that will tell me where the best place to go is, some location that will prove a treasure trove of sales to magazines.
Although maybe it doesn’t really matter where I go, whether Barbados is the happening spot this year or if Madagascar is the place to be, whether the Faroe Islands are going to be the next big thing or if Malta will be all the rave. After all, the articles I have sold haven’t come from the short trips I’ve taken but from living in the Denver/Boulder area—stuff about little known hotspots in Colorado and how to travel cheap in Denver. Mostly I write for small local newspapers and magazines. I’ve gotten a few pieces published in national magazines, but the biggies, the large circulation publications that pay livable wages like United Airlines’ Hemispheres or Condé Nast Traveler, remain elusively, tantalizingly out of reach.
In the past year, depressed about my career, I decided I would try to get another area of my life in shape—my love life. It hasn’t exactly gone to according to plan.
First, there was the bitter divorcé. I didn’t know he was bitter until we went out on our first date. I knew he was divorced; he’d told me. I just didn’t know how frightening the depths of his contempt for his ex went.
I met Jeff at the Greenhouse, the restaurant where I used to work when I was in college. My friend Tate still works there, and I was waiting for her to get finished with her shift when Jeff and I got to talking. I was sitting at the table next to him, and as another waitress, Sylvia, brought him his shot of wheat grass, he said something that made me laugh, and he kept on cracking me up with little quips and witty remarks. I don’t even remember what we talked about, just that he seemed like a nice guy, and when he asked if he could have my number, I told him he could. I started to write it down, and he said abruptly, "Before you give me your number, there is something you should know."
I immediately thought he was going to say that he was out on bail for murder charges or something.
"I’m divorced and have two kids."
I waited a beat. "And?"
"And what? That’s it."
"That’s your big secret? You’re divorced and have kids?"
"Yeah, that’s it."
"I think I can handle it."
(Of course that really wasn’t his big secret. His real secret was that he was a complete psychopath whose rage toward his ex festered in a frightening and unseemly way.)
The fact that he had kids appealed to me. He told me he saw them—a three-year-old girl and two-year-old boy—every other weekend. I imagined Jeff and I getting married, and I would be able to help raise these kids and watch them grow, but on a convenient part-time basis without any of that painful pregnancy and birthing business.
But then I went out on my one and only date with Jeff and that fantasy was blown to bits.
Things started well enough. Then in the middle of a nice meal after a couple of glasses of wine, I asked him something about his ex. Something like if they’d managed to stay friends or why they broke up, I can’t remember exactly. Jeff got this maniacal look in his eyes and said, "That lying, money-grubbing bitch. I hate her. Women—all they want is your money. Lying . . . cheating . . . manipulative bitches. But sometimes you get sick of porn and want the real thing." He laughed about that last thing, as if it were a joke, but it very clearly wasn’t. And when I looked at him wide-eyed and open-mouthed, he seemed to come out of his trance and our gazes met. I was blinking in shock, and I think he realized that, like an evil villain going around disguised as a good guy, he’d accidentally let the mask slip off and some serious damage control was in order. He smiled. "Just kidding. It was rough going there for a while, but we’re friends again." He saw my incredulity. "No really. I love women." Yeah, to have sex with. "Sometime you get sick of porn and want the real thing" . . . unbefuckinglievable.
So that was the end of Jeff.
So now you’ll want to know about the lesbians. Their names are Laura and Mai and they live in my apartment building.
We’d always been polite when we’d met in the hallway or at the mailboxes over the years. Then a few months ago, as I held the front door to the building open for them, they asked me what I had going on that night. It was a Friday, yet I had a whopping nothing to do and no place to be. They said they were going dancing at a lesbian bar that night, did I want to go with them? I said sure, it sounded like fun.
Laura and Mai are both big girls and very pretty. Laura looks like Mandy Moore would if Mandy were a size fourteen. And Mai has a build like Oprah—busty and curvy and strong. And they have the cutest style. Their outfits wouldn’t be featured in InStyle or anything, but I think they have a certain bohemian charm, and can we talk accessories? Clunky, colorful jewelry to die for.
We hit the club a few hours later, dancing our little hearts out. For some reason I didn’t think it was strange that they kept buying drinks for me and plying me with alcohol. After all, they knew I was straight, I knew they’d been dating each other forever, what was there to worry about?
It was late when we got back.
"Do you want to come to our place for a nightcap?" Mai asked.
"No. Can’t drink no more. Alcohol . . . too much."
"Why don’t you come inside and we’ll give you some water so you won’t have a hang over," Laura said.
I was too drunk to protest—or really even know what was happening. As I staggered into their apartment, I noticed that the hide-a-bed had been pulled out. I remember thinking, I didn’t know their couch had a hide-a-bed.
We sat on the edge of the hide-a-bed, the two of them flanking me on either side. In an instant, Laura was blowing in my ear and Mai was kissing my neck and stroking my breast. It took me a moment to process what was happening. My brain was working in slow motion. It was like I’d gotten stuck in a sand trap, and no matter how much I tried to accelerate, the wheels of my brain just went around and around and never got anywhere. But eventually I realized that my breast was being stroked by a woman. I found this information to be very confusing.
Once I finally noticed what was going on, I seemed to sober up instantly. I sprung up off the couch. "I’m . . . I’m . . . I’m straight!" I yelped.
"There’s no reason to be locked into these artificial constructions . . . these meaningless boundaries . . ." Mai began.
"Like boundaries! Boundaries good!" My English skills, despite my degree in journalism, had been reduced to the level of a two-year-old. That’s when I began backing up toward the door. In moments I was sprinting backwards at Mach-10 speed, a blur of a human at break-the-sound-barrier velocity.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t noticed that there was a coffee table between me and the door to freedom.
Another other person would have stubbed her leg on it, or perchance been knocked sideways. Me? I was going so fast I became airborne and did a back flip—my head hit the corner of the table on my way down. I knocked myself semi-unconscious.
They say there are two responses to fear: Fight or flight. No one ever said that knocking yourself unconscious was an appropriate reaction to an uncomfortable situation. But there you have it. I’d turned myself into the perfect victim. I had no way to defend myself. I was at their mercy.
Fortunately, Laura and Mai weren’t rapists. They’d put the moves on me, been rebuffed, and now they were a flurry of concern, hovering over me and wanting to know if I was okay.
In my half-conscious state, I was dimly aware that the two of them were dragging me over to the hide-a-bed and hoisting me onto it—managing to knock my head on the metal frame as they did. I quickly fell into a merciful sleep.
In the morning, I didn’t remember where I was or what had happened, I just knew my head was in excruciating pain. In addition to a bruise the size of a plum on the back of my head from the coffee table, I had a searing pain just above my ear from where they’d knocked me against the bed frame. On top of all that, I had a blinding hangover.
I groaned in pain. Moments later I heard the patter of bare feet against the wood floor, and I opened my eyes in an attempt to figure out where I was and what was going on.
It was Mai and Laura, who’d run out to check on whether I was all right. They were naked, hovering over me like oversized Florence Nightengales so that when I opened my eyes, all I saw was tit. Four large, ponderous tits, encircling me in a mammary orbit.
I promptly shut my eyes and wondered, how did my life start to read like a Penthouse letter? Sure, some people—guys, no doubt—might like a life that read like a Penthouse letter. I was not one of those people.
Laura and Mai still smile at me when we pass each other in the hall. Once they even asked if I wanted to go dancing with them again. (I replied that if I got one more head injury, I’d need to go to the hospital for sure, so it probably was safer if I didn’t go out with them anymore.)
A few weeks later I had yet another tangle with a lesbian—that night also involved alcohol and confusing and misguided tit-groping, though thankfully no head trauma—but if you don’t mind, it’s still too painful and embarrassing to think about, so I’d rather not tell the story in all its gory detail.
Add on the sexual predator from last night, and you have the sum total of my love life in the last six months. And it was no romance novel before that, I can assure you.
I wonder if there is a place where this whole dating and romance thing is easier. Some country where the men aren’t as psychotic as the men in America all seem to be. If so, I’m moving there post haste. I just need to find this magical la-la land. I’ll search the globe until I find it . . .
I smile at the idea, then I wonder how dating is different in different parts of the world. I know some places have arranged marriages, but where? How are African wedding ceremonies different from Swedish ones or Chinese ones? Do other countries do blind dates? Double dates? Internet dating? Do Russians sweat how many days to wait to call after a first date like Americans do?
I vow to research the cultural differences of mating and love, and that’s when it hits me: if I’m interested in how romance is different in different parts of the world, maybe other people would be too. Maybe that could be my angle when I pitch stories; maybe it would be unique enough to get me in the door of the major magazines.
The ideas zip through my head, and I have internal arguments with myself about where and when I should go. One part of me really wants to just take off. For months I’ve been fantasizing about how different my life will be if I can just get away for a while so I can rejuvenate my brain by filling it with art and culture and recharge my body by having lavish amounts of salacious sex with a handsome stranger with a sexy accent. But the other part of me knows for a fact that I’ll lose my job if I leave. There have already been numerous rounds of layoffs at my company. I’m the lucky one for still having a job. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway. I’m lucky to have my job, I’m lucky to have my job. I know a lot of people who have been out of work for months. As a single woman with no more than a couple of months’ worth of survival savings in the bank, I’d be in the poorhouse in no time if I got laid off, so I am lucky to have a job. But since the layoffs began, everyone at work is worried they’ll be next and they are resentful, tense, and hostile. Looking for other jobs while at the office is a generally accepted practice. The bitterness factor went through the roof when we survivors were doing our own jobs plus the jobs of the people who’d been let go. These days the opposite problem has hit—there’s almost no work to go around, and somehow that’s even worse, at least for me. The strain of trying to pretend to look busy is much worse than the strain of actually being busy. For one thing, I’m constantly bored, and for another thing, I live in constant terror that someone is going to figure out I don’t have anything to do and that they could easily get along without me and they’re going to fire my ass.
But the thing of it is, I hate my job, and there is a part of me that would love to get fired despite the economic strain. I’d finally have the time I need to pursue my real dreams and goals. Anyway, I’ve been wracking up vacation time for months—I should take it before the company goes under and I lose it all.
But taking a trip would be so impractical . . .
But is "practical" the kind of person I want to be? No! I want to be adventurous. I want to take risks and follow my dreams.
I jump up and run home. There, I strip out of my sweaty clothes, take a quick shower, throw some fresh clothes on, and sprint the four blocks from my apartment to the Greenhouse where Tate is working tonight.
Tate has just finished taking an order from a table and is heading to the kitchen to give the cooks the order.
The Greenhouse specializes in food for diners who have wheat allergies, are lactose intolerant, and so on. Vegetarian, vegan, whatever your dietary oddity, the Greenhouse is here to serve. The Greenhouse does pretty well, what with it being located in Boulder, one of the most health-conscious cities in the universe. Boulder attracts skiers, hikers, mountain climbers, and marathon runners up the yin yang. A Boulderite is as likely to eat red meat as to stir-fry a hubcap for dinner.
The Greenhouse is brightly painted. One wall is purple, one red, one deep blue. The ceiling is pale green, and the work of local artists decorates the walls.
When I worked here in college, I was the only member of the waitstaff without multiple body piercings or a single tattoo. Tate has several of both. Her belly button and nose are pierced and her ears are studded with earrings. She has a tattoo of a thin blue and white ring encircling her upper right arm that looks like a wave, a rose on her ankle, and the Chinese symbol for harmony on her breast. (Only a special few have seen this one, and one drunken night she flashed me and I became one of them. It was a shining moment in an otherwise disappointing life.) Today she is wearing her long black hair in a loose bun that is held together by what looks like decorative chopsticks. She’s petite, but so thin her limbs seem long and she looks taller than she is, with the graceful, lithe muscles of a ballerina. It would be fair to call Tate’s look exotic. My looks, with my honey-blond hair and dimples, would be best described as wholesome-Iowa-farm-girl.
I follow her into the kitchen.
"Tate, you’re a genius."
"What are you talking about? Lance, leave the onions out of this burrito."
"Just write it down," Lance booms.
"I did. I just don’t want a repeat of last time. I lost that tip because of you."
Lance, the cook, just grunts.
"Your idea for the book," I continue. I follow her over to the refrigerator, where she pulls out a couple of cans of organic sodas. "What I’ll do is write a book about romance and dating around the globe. I’ll interview women all over the world and find out their most hilarious dates ever. I’ll find out about differences in dating and marriage in different cultures—the works. I’ll be able to sell tons of articles based on my research to bridal magazines and women’s rags. You know stuff like, ‘Looking to make your wedding original? Borrow from traditional Chinese or Turkish or Moroccan customs to make your wedding an international success.’ Or for Cosmo, I can write about different sexual rituals around the world or for Glamour I can write something like, ‘You think the dating scene in America is grim? At least you don’t have to do like the Muka-Muka do—they have to eat worms and beat each other up to see if they’re compatible.’"
"Who the hell are the Muka-Muka?"
"Well, that’s just to illustrate. I don’t know the worst mating rituals in the world yet—that’s why I need to write a book about it. I’ll be like the John Gray of international relations between men and women. I’ll be like an anthropologist studiously researching the most important issue known to humankind: Love."
"And along the way, as you’re doing all this important academic research, you might just happen to stumble on Mr. Right."
Damn. Sometimes it’s a problem that this girl knows me so well. "Well, you know, if it just so happens that way . . . But you have to come with me. You have money saved."
She pushes the kitchen door open with her butt and delivers the sodas to her table. She drops off a bill at another, then clears off the plates at yet another. I hover at the doorway of the kitchen, waiting for her.
"How much do you have saved?" I ask her as soon as she gets back.
"Order up!" Lance says.
Tate checks the order and starts balancing the plates on her arms. "I’m not sure exactly. Maybe five thousand."
Five grand! And she makes a lot less money than I do. Granted, she doesn’t need a car, she lives with four roommates, and she doesn’t need to spend a dime on her wardrobe for work, but still, I’m impressed.
"What are you going to do with it? What could be better than traveling the world with your friend? Come on Tate, we need some adventure. We need to shake things up a bit."
"Where were you thinking about going?"
"I don’t know. I’d like to see the whole world, but I don’t have nearly enough vacation time saved up for that. How about Europe—the countries are small so we knock out a bunch at once. Paris . . . Italy . . . Germany . . ."
"But we don’t speak those languages."
"So? It’ll be an adventure. You’re not scared are you?" Okay, I admit, I’m being manipulative. I know Tate well enough to know that the best way to get her to do something is to accuse her of being scared to do it.
"Of course I’m not scared!" She stamps out of the kitchen and delivers the order When she returns, she pulls me aside conspiratorially. "What about our jobs?"
"I’ll work it out with my boss, ask if they can hire a temp for a while or something. And Jack will understand. His waiters are always taking off on road trips for weeks at a time."
"So you’re thinking about it?"
"When are you thinking of going?"
"As soon as possible."
"You’ll plan everything?"
"Of course. Come on, it’ll be the adventure of a lifetime. And maybe you’ll find your soul mate. Another free spirit just like you."
She bites her lip. "It might be fun."
"It’ll be a blast."
"Do you really think we could do this?"
"Of course we can."
She nods. "This is crazy."
"You love crazy."
She’s still nodding. "Tell me when I should show up at the airport."
"Yes!" I give her an enormous hug. "It’s going to be the experience of a lifetime," I assure her.
It’s a big promise, but there is no doubt in mind that it’s a promise I can keep.