When I wake up a couple of days later, I feel great. Not just good– great. My energy is fantastic and I realized I’ve slept straight through the night without waking up once. I even do a few sun salutations before heading to the bathroom. I take a selfie as I’m in warrior pose. I feel like a warrior– fired up, ready for anything. Dang, girl, you look good, I think, checking out the picture. My body looks slimmer and firmer, my face a little tighter, younger. I had read that estrogen affects collagen production, that it not only makes you feel younger, it can make you look younger, too. Once I get my makeup on, I look even better. I smile at myself in the mirror. Could it be that I have my self-confidence back from having the pellets just recently? I am really feeling stoked that I feel so alive now in such a short time.
At work I am on my game. My head is clear, and I am fast, efficient, and productive, even on only one cup of coffee. I am thinking these pellets are really doing the trick for me. As the day goes along, my mind is as sharp as it was first thing in the am. I notice I am remembering more and more. That glazed look at the end of the day is non-existent. My co-workers are asking me what is so different for me? I feel alive and coherent. Not the sad, droopy gal I was just a short time ago.
Paul texts me to see if I want to meet up at the bookstore after work today. I say yes and let Alex know he’s on his own for dinner. You can imagine my surprise when the chimes on the glass door of the coffee shop entrance tinkle, and in walks my son with his backpack and hoodie.
“Is everything okay?” I ask him as he makes his way over to our table, eyeing Paul.
He nods. “Have a seat,” I offer. He does, still giving Paul the stink-eye.
“Hi there. Dr. Paul Goodman,” Paul says, offering his hand genially. “You must be Alex.”
Slowly, Alex accepts the handshake, but he looks slightly confused. “Did you say Dr. Paul Goodman?” he finally asks.
Suddenly my son’s face lights up. “Are you the Dr. Paul Goodman who wrote the ‘Galactic Paleo Wars’ series?”
I laugh and interject. “Oh, no, Alex, Paul is a historian. He writes historical fiction.”
Then Paul speaks for himself. “Actually, I am.” He turns to me, looking a little sheepish, but also proud of himself. “I dabble in a little sci fi, too.”
Meanwhile, Alex looks like gravity has stopped working in the vicinity of his chair, and he’s trying desperately to stay in it. “Aw, man, that’s so awesome! I love those books! Can I, like, get an autograph?”
I sit back in wonder as my new beau and my son exchange a conversation about ancient aliens and spaceships and whatnot, and Paul signs his name on a napkin. “Maybe next time you can sign the actual book for me,” Alex says hopefully.
“You bet,” Paul grins.
Then Alex seems to remember why he’s here– basically to spy on me and deliver an unconvincing cover-up story. “Oh, um, I forgot my key, Mom. Can I have yours so I can get into the house?”
“Sure thing, honey.” I wring my house key off my key ring and hand it to him.
“Oh, and this came in the mail for you. Bye!” Alex tosses a beige envelope on the table in front of me before giving Paul a fist bump and flying out the door. I flip the letter over to the front, and dread fills my chest.
“What’s that?” Paul asks, seeing my face.
There’s no reason to hide the truth. “It’s the invitation to my ex’s wedding,” I say flatly.
“Oh,” Paul looks sympathetic and takes a sip of his coffee. When I continue to just sit there, looking at it, he asks, “Aren’t you going to open it?”
Still, I do nothing. I feel flat, apathetic, my good feelings totally gone. Paul reaches over and takes the envelope from my hands. With no compunction whatsoever, he tears it open and looks at the card. “Well, this is a lovely invitation,” he says, admiring the cover, which I can’t see. Then he flips it open and I do the see the cover– a picture of the two of them by the water, looking very happy and very much in love. My stomach sinks even further.
“At the Seashell Resort, wow that’s swanky,” he goes on, putting on his glasses to read the fine print. “I love that place.”
He rummages around in his bag and pulls out a pen. I see him looking over the top of the invitation at me. “I’ll just mark you and Alex down with a plus one then, why don’t I?”
I don’t say anything, but a little smile finds its way to my face.
“I mean, the least you can do is cost them as much money as possible, right? Shall we find a date for Alex, too?” As I sit and ponder as to what just happened, I realize I am feeling top of my game again! I am feeling more my old self than I have in a long time. Let the fun begin!
Now I’m really smiling. “No, that’s okay. A plus one is fine.”
Paul fills out the reply card, mumbling about how he hopes they serve the shrimp scampi, and stuffs it into the self-addressed stamped envelope. “I’ll mail this on my way home,” he says, dropping it into his bag.
Then he holds out his hand, and the feeling of putting mine in his is starting to seem comfortingly familiar.
**You can follow the entire series on our blog.