“Nice.” Gina appraised, trailing her slender fingers over the granite countertops. “Very nice. Did you have this put in?”
I shook my head, holding paint samples against the kitchen wall for Kelly’s approval. “No, the previous owners actually contracted out all of the work here and in the master bath. That’s probably why they’re the only two rooms that don’t look like they were painted by an amputee with macular degeneration.”
“But their taste in curtains was tasteful.” Gina added dryly, gesturing toward the billows of beribboned floral fabric cascading from my living room windows. “Are you planning to make matching outfits for the boys and have them sing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ through the streets of Portland?”
I shrugged noncommittally. “Meh. Either that or I’ll whip up a ballgown out of them and see if I can bust Rhett Butler out of jail.”
Kelly laughed, tossing the paint samples on the counter. “Oh, come on! The curtains aren’t that bad. I think they’re kind of cute!”
Gina and I turned slowly, staring at Kelly as one does a mentally challenged toddler. “Kell, Honey?” Gina cooed, “I love you, but I hardly think that someone who wears Crocs with such a glaring lack of irony is equipped to make any valid style judgments.”
“Thank you, Stacy London.” Kelly snorted, flipping Gina the bird and reaching for a can of coconut water. “When you and Clinton Kelly are done snickering over my wardrobe do you think we can get back to choosing paint samples before one of our children starts making unreasonable demands for things like food or maternal affection?”
As if on cue, my short people and Kelly’s nine-year-old came tearing through the kitchen faster than the INS at an El Pollo Loco, trailed by a very bored and angst-ridden 14-year-old Sophie.
“Mooooooooom,” Sophie whined, “can we go home soon? I’m bored.”
“Why don’t you play outside with the boys?” Kelly suggested with a patient smile.
Sophie rolled her eyes and heaved a world-weary sigh. “Mother, I’m fourteen. . .I don’t ‘play’.”
“OK,” Kelly chirped amiably. “why don’t you stand outside and ponder the meaningless of your existence?” With one more roll of the eyes and a withering glare, Sophie shoved her earbuds in and slunk outside to listen to the myriad ways that Justin Bieber wants to “be her booooooooyfriend”.
“Was I that big of an asshole when I was fourteen?” Kelly mused at Sophie’s retreating figure.
I shrugged noncommittally. “I didn’t know you then, but I’m guessing ‘yes’. Every fourteen year old is an asshole. She’ll grow out of it eventually; she’s just at that ‘difficult’ age.”
“Yeah?” Kelly furrowed her brow. “When does she grow out of it?”
“Dunno.” I replied. “I’ll let you know when I grow out of mine.” Kelly moaned and buried her face in her hands. “Buck up, my Brave Little Toaster,” I told her with a pat on the head “in a few years she’ll be off at college marinating her liver in a cocktail of Jungle Juice and righteous indignation and all will be right with the world.”
Just then the boys barreled back into the kitchen. “Mommy,” my son J. cried, “can Justin and M. and me play in the woods?”
“Sure,” I replied “just remember the rule.”
“I know, I know,” J. replied. “Don’t get in a stranger’s van unless he has good candy.”
“Well done, Soldier.” I stated with a stoic salute. “Now go forth and conquer.” In a flurry of laughter and chatter, the boys darted back outside.
“That’s quality parenting, right there.” Gina noted sagely. “Remind me again why I made you Milo’s godmother?”
I smirked. “Momentary lapse of reason? Anyhoo, it’s a fait accompli now, my friend.” Pulling open the refrigerator, I perused its meager offerings. “You guys hungry? Not a lot in here, but I can always make a New Seasons run.”
“Ooh!” Gina squealed, “Do you have any of those goat cheese tarts left that your friend brought over?”
I snorted derisively. “Bitch, please. Curtis’ culinary offerings last about as long as the career of a Disney Channel tween around here. That boy can COOK, yo.”
“I need a new gay friend.” Kelly mused. “I haven’t had one since Mason moved to L.A.”
Gina tilted her head, her shiny black curtain of hair falling over her shoulder. “Why is a gay man a requirement? Aren’t Jen and I good enough for you?”
“C’mon, Geen. You know the rule.” I said, handing her a Diet Coke.*
*For someone who weighs about as much as a sparrow’s fart, that girl drinks enough Diet Coke to caffeinate the Russian army. She’s cuckoo for Coco-pop.
“Apparently, I don’t.” she replied, popping open the can and beer-bonging it in two gulps.
“It’s simple,” Kelly replied. “After the age of thirty-five, every single woman needs at least three good girlfriends, one amazing gay friend, and one ridiculously inappropriate friend with benefits to help them through the dry spells. I’m pretty sure it’s in the Bible.”
“Where?” I snickered, “The book of Gay-latians?”
Kelly chuckled in reply. “Or maybe in First Whore-inthians.”*
*I know, I know. . .express train to Hell. ((shame spiral))
Gina shook her head in confusion. “Is it just because I’m married that I’m oblivious to this shit?”
“Yeah, pretty much.” Kelly and I said in unison.
“Ha! Jinx! You owe me a Coke!” Kelly cried triumphantly.
“Too late,” I countered. “Gina drank all the damned Coke.”
“Boo, you whore.” Kelly said to Gina, poking out her tongue. “So, are we going to start painting this door, or not?”
“I’m voting, ‘or not’.” Gina responded, plunking down at the counter and leafing through a magazine. “I mean, isn’t that why you guys have children? So you can Miyagi them into doing all of this ‘wax-on-wax-off’ shit?”
“I quoted ‘The Karate Kid’ to J. and M. the other day and they stared at me like I was speaking in tongues.” I bemoaned with a shake of my head. “And then when I told them what movie it was from, J. said ‘Oh! That’s the one with Will Smith’s kid, right?’”
“I know!” Kelly cried, banging her hand on the counter for emphasis. “When ‘Red Dawn’ came out last year I tried to tell her it was a remake of a Patrick Swayze and Thomas Howell movie and she said ‘Who?’ I wanted to go all ‘WOLVERINES!’ on her skinny little ass.”
I laughed, tossing a bag of chips on the counter. “Want to hear something that will totally make you flip your shit? Ralph Macchio is now officially the same age that Pat Morita was when he played Mr. Miyagi to Ralph’s Daniel-San. Put that in your dojo and smoke it.”
The three of us sat morosely for a moment, staring at the chips and pondering our mortality. Just then, Kelly's cell phone burst into song.
“Is that Elvis?” I asked.
“Yup.” she nodded. “I freaking HATE talking on the phone so my ringtone is ‘A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action’.”
“Huh,” I chuckled, looking at the caller I.D. “rather apropos considering who’s calling.”
Gina peered over Kelly’s shoulder at the ringing cellphone. “Ahhh, the ‘ridiculously inappropriate friend with benefits’, I presume.”
Kellt smirked at her two best friends friends, popping a chip into her mouth. “Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.”
I shook my head in awe. “Teach me your ways, Whore Whisperer. . .teach me your ways.”
And this? Right here? Is why your girlfriends are your greatest asset in life. Children grow up, men come and go, but your girlfriends are the ones that will be with you at the end, holding your hand, making you laugh, and filling in the memories that you’ve forgotten. . .
Or, in our case. . .calling each other a whore.