Her Quest: Shopping Under the Mistletoe
This is the year.
This is the year I’ll bring him home for Christmas.
This is the year I’ll walk through cobblestone streets shopping with him, a light snow falling (but not flattening my hair) while I warm my hand in his coat pocket and we feed each other roasted chestnuts, stopping afterward to share a hot chocolate.
This is the year I’ll look up to see a sprig of mistletoe and someone I want to kiss will be standing beneath it. This is the year I’ll have a date for holiday parties and a man to snuggle with next to the fire and a fellow to shop for in the men’s department at Macy’s.
I know I say this every year, but this is the year. Now I just need to find him.
November 28. Macy’s.
Mmmmm. The men’s department at Macy’s smells all spicy, not like that Old Spice I always bought my dad, but like expensive cologne a boyfriend would wear. Maybe I should buy some in case it sells out. Or one of these thick blue sweaters — the blue would bring out the blue eyes he’s sure to have.
Funny, he doesn’t seem to be among the crowds at Macy’s today. Instead the place is packed with a random assortment of the fairer sex agonizing over golf socks and fighting over the last electric razor set (women enjoy a close shave, too). And fabulous single gals like me who deserve a handsome Christmas date but are relegated to hugging the sweater he should be wearing.
Maybe Macy’s isn’t the place to search for Mr. Right, at least not during holiday-shopping season. Next stop, Lowe’s. (But only after I buy some of that cologne, just in case.)
December 12. Franklin’s Dickens of a Christmas.
I wander through the cobblestone — well, paved — streets of the quaint village of Franklin, lugging gifts I’ve found for my mom (an off-white sweater), my uncle (Old Spice and a green sweater), my sister (a burgundy sweater), um, and myself (a violet cashmere sweater, couldn’t resist). Sure would be nice to have someone with a meaty bicep or two by my side to help me lug my goods. A light — well, heavy and wet — snow falls, and with it my hair.
Everyone else seems to have decided roasted chestnuts would hit the spot, because the line for the roasted-chestnut stand is 50 jolly shoppers long, and my hands are too freezing to stand in it. Instead I head inside a café to order a hot chocolate for one and work on my Christmas list. After all, I’ve been more nice than naughty this year (except that entire Saturday I spent watching a “Top Chef” marathon instead of volunteering, and this violet sweater I bought for myself and … well, never mind). As I was saying. “Dearest Santa. Please bring me a good man. A strong man. Someone to lug all these bags to the car. Oh, and throw in some world peace while you’re at it.”
I’m having a hard time finishing my list because I keep getting distracted by the couple next to me wiping whipped-cream mustaches off each other’s lips. He has blue eyes and sports a blue sweater that looks suspiciously like the one I hugged at Macy’s. Meanwhile, Bing Crosby serenades us about letting it snow because we’ve no place to go. The guy sticks his finger into the whipped cream and dabs it onto the girl’s perky nose. I quickly find a place to go — back out into the hair-flattening snow.
December 18. The holiday party.
Coming to these things alone is better anyway because I can devote quality time to the food table. These bleu cheese things are fabulous. And this purple punch — whew! I wonder what’s in it?
Two cups of the powerful punch later and, urp, I really need to find the ladies’ room. I stumble up the stairs (why must these parties always involve stairs?) and stand at the end of a line longer than the one leading to Space Mountain at Disney World.
Which is when I see the mistletoe. The guy in front of me follows my upward gaze and grins. To reveal a mouth full of purple teeth — I guess he enjoyed the punch, too. He’s wearing a Kid Rock T-shirt that pokes out in the belly area, and I can smell his bleu cheese breath from here. “Hey, baby, mistletoe.” Awwwwk! I turn around to see if the guy behind me is any more desirable. He is, only he’s wearing a deal-breaker accessory — the girl behind him, who’s discovered the mistletoe, too.
Maybe I can hold it for a while.
December 22. Home in front of the fire.
Homemade cookies, check. Snow falling outside frosty window, check. Christmas lights twinkling, check. Fire roaring, check. Fuzzy blanket for snuggling under, check.
Man by my side …
I knew I forgot something!
December 24. Christmas Eve with the family.
“Amy, you’re in your mid-30s now, so if there’s something you need to tell us, we’ll love you no matter what.”
It’s my mother, yelling over to where I’m sitting at the kid’s table throwing roast beef at my 6-year-old nephew.
“Mom, I like men,” I yell back.
“Alright, dear,” my mom sighs. My sister whispers, “Maybe she hasn’t admitted it to herself yet.”
“I can hear you,” I yell back, showing my nephew a mouthful of mashed potato.
As I lie in my childhood bed that night, I wonder if Santa is as cute as his pictures. Maybe I’ll … just … pop downstairs … and … wait … by … the … chimneyyyy … zzzzzzz.
I fall asleep dreaming of confetti and champagne, dancing and the clock striking midnight, and you know what happens at midnight. This is the year. This is the year I’ll have a New Year’s date.
The specter of heredity has lurked in the darker corners of Cheryl Perkins’ mind for as long as she can remember.
Her mother died of colon cancer four years ago, and nearly all of the women on her mother’s side of the family had hysterectomies between age 45 and 50 because of cancer diagnoses.
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