The Single Gal’s Receipt

I went to the store yesterday evening and bought 32 items. Upon getting home, I thought I’d be productive and, before unbagging them, do some watering in the front yard.

I walked outside and pulled the door shut, also locking it after me as habit. I had no keys.

Immediately I realized what I’d done, and didn’t miss a beat as I walked two doors over to see if my neighbors had ever been given a key at any point during all the years my fam and I had lived here. Nope, out of luck.

My brother lives four miles away, so I borrowed their phone, dialed his number and hoped that he was out of work for the day. Success! He said he’d be on his way over in 30 minutes, so I chatted with the neighbors till he showed.

He let me in, we visited for a few, he glanced at my mid-sized grocery store receipt and asked if I got anything good.

I picked up the receipt and looked it over.

“Not really,” I said. “Out of the 32 items on this receipt, 28 of them were for the cat. Four of them are for me: super glue, two different bathtub drain stoppers — one in case the other one doesn’t fit — and a bouquet of roses. The 28 items are all of his favorite canned cat food flavors,” I said, motioning to the cat.

“Hm. Wow,” he said.

I’ve never had an issue being single, but now I felt…single-single. Like, crazy-lady-with-a-cat single. Receipt-being-scrutinized single (not that he was, but it just sounded so comical when spoken out loud). The only thing seemingly missing was a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.

There’s a checker at Ralph’s who looks exactly like Cheri Oteri, but with maybe 10 more years on her. Whenever my mission is primarily to stock up on cat food, she’s the one whose line I always end up in, and over the years, she’s chatted me up about my cats (I only have one, but she never remembers). I reciprocate and ask how hers are doing, and suddenly it’s as though we’re two women sharing stories about our kids. She tells me how cute they are, how photogenic they are, how sneaky they are and how her cats always know when a picture is being taken (they pose and show off their better side, you see).

I smile, nod, take my roses and the stash of Mariner’s Catch, Tuna with Egg, Salmon Pate and Ocean Whitefish and head to the car.

As I’m thinking about my receipt and chatting with my brother, I’m also in the middle of making a cosmo. Vodka, triple sec, sweet and sour, lime juice and a splash of cranberry make their way into my shaker, then into my chilled martini glass. (I refuse to consider it a cosmo unless it’s in its proper vehicle.)

I then decide that dinner isn’t necessary, but that homemade cookies are — so that I can take them to my neighbors who kept me company and let me use their phone in the wake of my stupidity, as well as a batch for my other neighbor who always takes my trash barrels in for me.

I really, really heart my neighbors.

Brother left, I busted out my cookie ingredients, lit a fire in the fireplace, tuned into the 80’s channel on DirecTV and settled into my Friday night, looking forward to stealing some cookie dough here and there throughout the baking process.

I grabbed the receipt and tore it up before tossing it into the trash, and with it I also discarded any potentially lingering single-girl issues. After rewinding and reviewing last night — including the beginning part of the week (see Monday’s “The Joy of Growing a Pair”) — I’m thankful for being content, for being able to call a cosmo dinner whenever I want and for the peace that comes with knowing that if and when my life changes, it’ll be when it’s supposed to change.

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