My Braces Come Off
It’s been almost three hours and I figured my Worst Email Ever has done me in with Melissa. I saw a co-worker walk by my office doorway, and I asked him if he’s ever been to Lollapalooza. He stopped to answer my question when the recognizable ping went off and I finally saw the bright yellow envelope in the corner of my monitor. I rudely turned away from my co-worker as he thoughtfully answered the question I asked him.
I could hear my heartbeat and opened the inbox, fully expecting Jeanine’s reply to my Worst Email Ever. It wasn’t from Jeanine, it was from Melissa_xxxxx@gmail.com. For whatever reason, Melissa replied directly to me, fully passing over the middle-man…er, middle-sister. I could not believe the break in protocol here. It was unprecedented to say the least. This chick is ballsy.
I gathered myself and double-clicked:
Hi, I’m not much of a cook, but want to come to my house this Friday for dinner? We can watch that football show that’s filmed in your hometown.
Call me. Mel.
“That football show” she’s talking about is Friday Night Lights, shot in Austin. And I was f’ing ecstatic. Amanda never invited me over for dinner because she had roommates. Melissa owns her own house. And so my Worst Email Ever was instantly elevated to a literary classic in my own mind. Prozac Nation, Fargo Rock City, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail and Worst Email Ever.
I tried to re-focus on my work for the remaining four hours, but I realized I’m in the grips of a relationship beginning. We’ve acknowledged the chemistry, and we’re trying to make it manifest into something tangible and solid. I want to fast-forward to the stage where we’re lying on the couch on a Saturday night in comfortable clothes and thick socks. And when I’m invited to a party, instead of the host asking, “Is Kilby coming?” the host instead asks, “Are Kilby and Melissa coming?”
I leaned back in my chair and realized the once ever-present thought of Amanda is no longer with me. I wore braces for two years from 8th to 10th grade. The metal became part of me because I saw it every day when I looked in the mirror and felt it on the inside of my lips. It was unpleasant, but I learned to live with it. It was just always there. The day the dentist twisted them from my mouth for good, my head instantly felt lighter. I rushed to a mirror and I looked better. I began smiling more and my young life got easier.
The braces are gone from my life and now Amanda is too. I don’t miss either.