We’d planned the date for weeks. Our son’s preschool had a Parents’ Night Out, where the teachers babysit the kids and the parents get a date night. My four-year-old son gets to hang out with his friends, and our six-year-old daughter loves seeing her friends from camp there, watching movies and getting her nails painted. She’s always asking us when the next night will be.
Everyone was excited. My husband and I had reservations at a favorite restaurant – we hadn’t been there since we’d moved back. It was a Friday and my husband left work early to give us more alone time. I’d gone shopping and had a choice of new outfits to feel pretty and wow my husband.
It was 6:00. My husband was on his way home. We had reservations for 7:45. I went to the bedroom to change. I had these new black-faux-leather-front-pants that I couldn’t pass up because they brought me right back to the 80s. Always interested in Resurrecting the Heavy-Metal Goddess, I chose a new black shirt with tiny silver chains draped across its front. I tried them on, thinking if they looked too midlife-crisis I could always change. Lamenting the fact that Motley Crue was no longer touring, I looked in the mirror. Oh my God, there was no way I was ever taking them off. I was that girl again. Long dark curly hair, looking all tough with the chains on my shirt, leather pants that I was actually pulling off – those were the days.
I went downstairs and poured myself a glass of sparkling wine. I was watching the news when my husband called. “Hey, there’s a big backup and I don’t know how long it’ll take to get through it.”
“That’s ok, Honey. Our reservation isn’t until 7:45. We should still make it.” It was only 6:30. The restaurant was thirty minutes away. Even if he got home at 7:15 we’d get there in time.
I watched some more news. He called again. “It’s an accident. Some guy rolled his jacked-up truck across all four lanes – both directions. Nobody’s getting through. I don’t know when I’ll get there at this rate.” It was 6:50.
“Okay, Honey, if we don’t make our reservation, we can just go out around here.” I began to form Plan B. I searched on my phone for bands playing locally. I might as well rock the metal-chick look, I thought. I found a band that played some Ozzy. Perfect. We’d eat dinner in town and then go see live music, like before we had kids. I was psyched. I poured myself another glass.
My husband called again, “I’m almost past the accident, but I can take a shortcut to the restaurant. Should I just meet you up there?”
Not the way I’d been drinking. “No, it’s okay. I’ll cancel the reservation and we’ll go out around here.” I was thinking that we even had time to fool around before dinner this way. I knew I’d be impossible to resist in my outfit.
I called the restaurant and cancelled our reservation. My husband called again. “I got past the accident, I’m 10 minutes out.”
“Okay.” I put on my boots so he’d get the full effect of my goddessness when he walked in. I turned on the light in the foyer and sat down to wait.
Five minutes later the phone rang. Surprised that it wasn’t my husband, I recognized the number of my son’s preschool. Shit.
I answered. “Hi. This is Sara from school. I wanted to tell you that your son’s got a fever of a hundred and two. I took his temperature because he was acting tired. We’re gonna eat now and he said he’d eat, but can you pick him up?”
SHIT! “Yes. My husband should be home any minute and then we’ll come get him.” Well, that date was too good to be true. Of course it was.
When my husband walked through the door, he was still mad about being stuck in traffic for two-and-a-half hours. He hardly noticed my outfit.
“Hi,” he said, kissing me.
“Hi. The school called.”
I told him we had to go get our son. My husband called Urgent care and I got ready to go. When we got to the school, my son was lying down on his sleeping bag while the other kids played. I picked him up while my husband and daughter collected everyone’s things.
“Can I come back after we go to the doctor?” my daughter said.
“No, Sweetie, we’ve got to take your brother home after the doctor.”
“No fair, we didn’t even get to paint our nails yet,” she moped.
I sighed. “I know, Honey. I know just how you feel.”