02/15/2011 04:38 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Hot Flashes: Dirty Jasmine

Name: Esmé.
Weight: Ditto.
Status: Divorcee pending (so much sexier with the extra "E.")
How It Happened: Iphone in the sock drawer. (Bad place to store.)
The Story In Brief: Once upon a time there was a girl named Esmé. (Me.) She had a husband. (Jeffrey.) He wasn't a bad guy. He had nose hair, but in the grand scheme of things, that wasn't such a problem. She had a best friend (Annabelle.) They had sex. (Not Esmé and Annabelle, the other two.) He had a special phone so she could call him. (Again, that would be Annabelle.) But Esmé found the phone. What can we say? She is a cleaner. She puts things away. She tidies. Note to cheaters: Don't leave cell phones in your sock drawer. Very un-tidy. And the rest, is history.

I'm Esmé, by the way. I'm in the middle. Of my career, of my kids. Of my divorce. I'm not fit as a fiddle. I'm not a hot mess. I'm somewhere in between. My boobs are lower than they used to be. My cholesterol is higher. My hair is greyer (but you'd never know.) I'm on top of the world.

Okay, maybe not on top. I'm in the middle. My kids. I call them Mr. Handsome and Roo. Last week Roo looked at me and said, "Is it hard being a parent?" He is six. Wise beyond his years. He still carries a "Blankie" but that is neither here nor there. The night Jeffrey left for good I took one of his old t-shirts out of the sock drawer (I had stopped being quite so tidy, hence the mixing of tops and bottoms) and stuck it under my pillow. Who the #?!# knows why. Roo took one look, stuck it on his nose, took a good, long sniff and said, "Mom, now you also have a Blankie."

My stomach soared to my throat. I refrained from puking. There's a fine line between love and vomit, in my experience.

It is very hard to lose your best friend and your husband more or less at the same time. But I realize, even in this moment of absolute crisis, there is nowhere to go, but up. (Or down, but that's another story.)

And so I go to Barney's. I am not yet a queen of retail therapy, but I decide I deserve a cream. I'm not sure what kind of cream. Neck? Eye? Boob? (Why does each body part require a different type of cream, I wonder? What have I been missing? Now that I will soon be single, is this what I have to learn?) I am overwhelmed by the concept of cream, and so I wander over to the shoe department. Oh, heaven. But I get intercepted. By perfume.

Perfume? Do people still wear perfume? My mother always wore perfume. Am I my mother?

The sales boy comes over to me. He is maybe twelve. He wears a name tag that says, "Barney." How peculiar. "Try this," he says. I shake my head. "I have allergies," I tell him. "To what?" "To a lot of things. To most things, in fact." "Huh." He looks at me appraisingly, then reaches for a bottle. "Try this one. It's Musk. It's really sexy. Your husband will love it." He nods towards my hand and I frown. There is a ring on my finger. Damn. Not my wedding ring, but a ring just the same. This is not fun. I should have stayed with cream. "Look," I tell him. "I shouldn't have to explain this. No need for musk. I'm single."

The sales boy looks quizzically at my ring. "Jesus, it's not a wedding ring. It's a ring, ring. You know, just...lonesome jewelry."

The sales boy reaches for another bottle and holds it out. "Try this one, then." "Dude, I told you. My husband cheated on me with my best friend. Crap. I need boob cream." He takes my wrist and dabs some perfume on it before I can stop him. "You're invading my space. Why are you doing this to me?" I take a sniff. And then another. I look at him, suspiciously. "Isn't it strange that your name is Barney and you work at Barney's?"

He shrugs. "Life can be surprising."

I sniff my wrist again, despite myself. "What is this called?" He nods, knowingly. "Dirty Jasmine. Sweet, with filthy undertones. I think it's perfect for you."

So there you go. I'm Esmé. In the middle. Suddenly undetermined. Sweet, with filthy undertones. Potential buyer of boob cream.

From now on, this is my story. It's part of a bigger story. So stay tuned.

Oh, and thanks, Barney.

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