Amy returned to bedlam. Carmen and Ferguson were engaged in hand-to-hand combat over Ibey the rubber ibex. Ferguson wanted to behead him, and Carmen wanted to save him from that fate so he could be her two-horned unicorn in a special parade of dolls. Bartlette was teething on the television remote control while poop dribbled out of her filled diaper.
Christmas wrapping paper covered the floor. (It had been the ocean.) CDs had been taken out of their cases and piled high in a tower. (It had been the lighthouse.) The kid-size plastic table had been turned upside-down in the middle of the room. (It had been the boat - with teak salad servers as paddles.) But that game had been forgotten now for the battle over Ibey.
In the kitchen, oblivious to the child chaos, sat Grace. She drank from a hip flask and talked on the telephone.
The cost of freedom, thought Amy. However.
Once order was restored and presents distributed, domestic tranquility returned. Everybody loved their gifts. Grace mistakenly thought her book was called How to Make People Listen While You Talk. She thought it was the best thing ever and said she'd read it as soon as she got home.
When the taxi arrived, Amy said goodbye and closed the door on her smiling, sloshed mother.
Then she picked up her Dalai lama book and stared at the title page,
She noticed that "I" was smack in the middle of 'happiness."
She decided that life was a fortune cookie disguised as a meaningless series of random events.
The next morning Amy went into action.
She brushed her hair a hundred times upside-down until it shined soft and mellow and voluptuous. She put on her new bra and her silky kimono robe, did her makeup, and then arranged her decolletage in the mirror so just enough was showing.
She smiled at herself. From the breasts up, she could no longer be classed as dowdy and unattractive. In fact, she was on the verge of looking good.
The purpose of life is to seek happiness. The Dalai Lama said it. Maybe that's all you had to do, she thought. Just getting the bra and having a plan made her feel light and positive. She almost didn't know herself. Maybe all you had to do to be happy was to seek happiness. Mental training. Inner discipline. Women, mothers, did that stuff all the time. The key was the audacity not just to want it, but to seek it out. She felt confident for the first time in years. She strode to the telephone and dialed. She wished this feeling would last forever, or at least the rest of the morning.
Instead, it lasted about as long as it takes for someone to answer a phone.
Adonis didn't work for the e-dairy company any more, the operator voice said. They didn't have anyone named Charlie on their roster either. No, they didn't have a contact number, and if they did, they couldn't give it out anyway. Privacy issues.
Danielle? No, Danielle had left their company the same day as Adonis. Sorry. They did have a special on sour cream, though.
Amy hung up and wandered into the living room where she sat down on the couch. Charlie was just a wannabe exotic choreographer, after all. An ex-X-ray technician. No great catch. Just a nice guy.
A nice guy who was trying to follow his dream. Brave possibly - impractical certainly. A guy with a gorgeous body, to be sure, who was lovely with her kids and treated her with understanding and kindness, but who couldn't even hold down a job as a milkman. Why should she even bother?
Of course, it wasn't really about how sexy or good or reliable Charlie was. In a way, it wasn't about Charlie at all. Exactly. However.
Ferguson noticed her staring into space and came over to stand on her feet. He asked why she was in her fancy bathrobe. When she didn't answer he ran to get his jack-in-the-box and opened it right into her kneecap. Still no reply. Carmen arrived and asked why Mommy's boobies were squished together. And Bartlette, not to be left out, crawled up on her and began to grizzle for a nurse, pulling at the new black bra, puzzled that it had no milk flap.
Amy took her sexy bra off, whipped out milk supply unit #1, and plugged in Bartlette.
Mr. Dalai Lama said: Eliminate factors that lead to suffering and cultivate those that lead to happiness.
What about when you cultivate happiness, but end up suffering? What about when your best efforts to live life well leave you dejected, deflated and depressed?
It was a paradox. It was also a fact of life. Amy's life.
What did the Dalai Lama know about being a single mother anyway? The only thing they had in common was that they each had the sex life of a monk.
(more to come)
For those who are new here, A is for Amy & Adonis is a comic story of romantic redemption. The aim is to provide a fun and fast read with characters you can connect to emotionally.
There are 26 short chapters. But it's easy to catch up. The chapters just take a few minutes to read. And here they are:
READ FIRST SEVEN POSTS (just click on the one you want)--
Nota Bene -- All the chapters will be archived on Huffpost so people will be able to catch up with the story no matter how late they come to the novella.
I have decided to post two chapters a week. So, if you like what you read here, stay tuned with Huffpost email alerts or follow me on Twitter. --Steven
Follow Steven Crandell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/stevencrandell