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Sunday
Mar202011

When Straining for a Metaphor, You Could Do Worse Than Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate, an Entire Box of Sugar, and a Palm Bounce

One of the vaunted members of Regina 2 North--that darling freshman hallway of high lofts, low math grades, and occasional March of the Domer Dance Dates-- grew up just outside Columbus.  We have ever loved her as KC, and she has done everything right.  She was Homecoming Queen. She married her high school sweetheart.  She became an accountant and a mommy.  She is currently raising her family in the house she herself grew up in.  She is in one place, people-friendly, hilarious...a fine citizen.  She is, in other words, everything that I am not.  And because KC is so goldang lovable I can't even hate her for it.  That is, perhaps, her single flaw.  Which of course makes her even more lovable, damn her.

Last month, extremely pregnant with her fourth child, she invited me to dinner after my day at Ohio State was through.  I showed up in pantyhose and frosted eyeshadow, having spent the day throwing down a single glass of wine during an interview on a stomach so empty and a nervous system so fried that I draped myself over the back seat of the rental car, high heels and all, to shake it off.  KC was pulling pizza boxes out of the oven and turning on the 90's music channel so that her three saplings could show off their dance moves for Auntie MB, dance moves which belied a coordination far beyond that Auntie MB is still waiting to achieve.

KC had made four different kinds of desserts, and stacked them all on one of those little shelf towers you only see in magazine pictures and functional homes.  I sat at my friend's kitchen table and watched her babies jump up and down to "Step By Step" and if only we were speaking tortured Spanish, keeping one ear cocked for an off-campus telephone ring, and lying stomachs-down on a hallway carpet from the Nixon administration, you'd think we were fresh from Waffle Bar Night at the Saint Mary's Dining Hall.

She set the little tower on the table as her two boys ran past, brandishing foam swords.  "I have a Columbus welcome for you, MB," she said, pointing to the top tier.

For those of you sad souls who do not recognize the pile of sugar and magnificence before you, these are buckeyes, an Ohio delicacy which even we Cincinnatians will tolerate on a Christmas cookie platter.  They are made of peanut butter, dark chocolate, and heroin.

"Are you doing all right?" she asked.  I tilted my head at her; the woman had just presented me with fudge and confectioners sugar.  I was doing great.  "And how are the Drum Majors treating you?"

"Exquisite human beings and gentlemen all," I told her.  "Very talented, very nice, very inspiring." 

"Oh," she said, as we watched an online video of Script Ohio, "those nasty Ohio State people?"

I threw up my hands, at her and her Domer husband, Doug, who both grew up surrounded by Ohio State, went to college in South Bend, and hold steady to childhood memories of marching around the house to Le Regiment on the first day of football season.  "I hereby denounce myself."

"My dad would have liked a book like this."  KC nodded at her husband, Doug, who opened the door to their basement.  The steps were grey, tracing down between two scarlet walls.  "See what he did here?  But you know what, going to Ohio State just never occurred to me.  Too big."

I stood on tiptoe to see the vibrant colors fade off into blackness.  "Is the rest of the basement like that?"

"Nope," she said.  "Just the steps."  Just the connection between the two stories.  That was enough.

"You never mentioned Ohio State much back in school."

"I knew better.  Besides, there was always room for both in my life.  I never felt like I had to choose between my home and my life at Saint Mary's."

KC placed both hands on either side of her stomach, cradling her fourth (FOURTH) child.  "You'd be surprised, MB, at what there's room for in your life."

Room for more dark chocolate, that's what I'm thinking.

Oh, and Jason The Young would like to tell you something:  HE'S STILL AWESOME.  Behold the almighty palm bounce:

 

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