I rolled over, reached for my pillow and pulled it closer. Even with my eyes closed I knew the sun wasn’t up yet. I eased open an eyelid to check the time. But there was no clock. I wasn’t in my bed.
—two months earlier—
I was in a mood. Not a bad one or a good one. Just a mood. My keys and bag clanked to the floor. I quickly stripped out of my working clothes, flinging the lady-like gray pencil skirt and blue blouse across the bed.
Barefoot and in panties and bra I padded into the kitchen. The refrigerator contents were depressing. Leftover tuna casserole, leftover chicken alfredo, something that used to be strawberries but were now candidates for penicillin production. I shut the fridge and opened the freezer. No vodka. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I sure as hell wasn’t staying home.
I hadn’t yet put a name on my mood, but the tight jeans, black shirt and heels I tossed on before walking out the door should’ve been a clue. I didn’t brush my hair. There was no point when I was planning on putting the top down anyway. I glanced in the mirror. A stressful day had turned my eyeliner and mascara into a smoky mess. My eyes looked greener than usual. In fact, everything about me seemed more intense, more on edge. I grabbed my keys and bag off the floor and walked out of the house.
I’d been to this local bar a several times before, but not alone. I always met up with a girlfriend or two. Going into a bar alone seemed to cross a line. Parts of crossing the line I liked. Walking in alone, and planning to stay that way, takes a certain amount of confidence and taste for adventure. I liked that. On the other hand, what kind of girl walks into a bar alone? Did I want to be that kind of girl? I sat in the parking lot, hands on the steering wheel and laughed. I wasn’t a girl anymore. I had turned 30 the month prior. That thought was my undoing.