I haven’t seen my sister Shelly for over a week now. I think I may have overreacted. She’s probably not an alien. I’m just having bad PMS and freaked out. I suppose it’s only normal for someone to think about their past when they’re going through a crisis. Still it seemed out of place. One day, she’s talking about her numerous love interests. There’s the guy who frequents her place of work daily for coffee and sometimes baked goods, her new online interest, and a co-worker at the coffee house. This causes considerable tension at work, especially when all three of them are there together. For a week straight we have non-stop man talk, and then like a switch, it’s all about our childhood and she’s wearing the red hibiscus in her hair. Fine, fine, but remember I don’t recall these memories well and I could be wrong, but I think she’s creating people who don’t exist.
“Bobby Adriano. C’mon, you remember him?” says Shelly.
“Give me a hint. Was he in band? The choir? Football team?”
Exasperated, far more that she had any reason to be, she sighed, “He lived on our block!”
“Oh, stop! I would remember if the Adriano’s lived on our block!”
She managed to do this a couple more times to me, like it was a game and she was keeping score. Was I really losing my mind at age 40? Do I need to crack open the puzzle books and crosswords? Did I go to one too many rock concerts? If I listened to my gut, I bet she was hiding something. Still as fuzzy as my mind was, she could rewrite our childhood, our history if she wanted to. I may need to start connecting with my old high school friends, do a little research, some checking on Facebook.
I talked to my friend Eddie about it and he reassured me she was probably going through some kind of thirty-something crisis. What do they call the crisis that isn’t at the mid-life year mark? So many people seem to have this crisis, you think they would have come up with a term by now. Maybe they have and I haven’t been paying attention. Usually people just say they’re having their mid-life crisis early.
Anyway, Eddie has a point. I’m moving ahead in my life as the Assistant Director of Human Resources at a prominent biotechnology firm with high security and air-tight background checks. I have a certain level of prestige and status. This, of course, comes with knowing everyone’s salaries and skeletons. It’s made it difficult for me connect with anyone at work. No, actually impossible and highly discouraged by my boss. People usually assume I’m busy, and most of the time this is true. But then this is where Eddie comes in, my only confidant. He might be the only one who wouldn’t think I was crazy. I caught him on a rare break.
“What’s your proof? Where’s your evidence?” he blurted out between sips of coffee. “Aliens. That’s a little far-fetched, don’t you think? Maybe you need a date.” He gave me a wink.
I stood there numbly, suddenly feeling ridiculous. Eddie had a way of making me feel two feet smaller, in a kind and gentle way.
“What about that guy?” he said, pointing to one of his colleagues.
“Who?” I played along.
“What? Him, too?” He makes a sweeping look-out gesture. “Wait. He doesn’t have a flower in his hair. I think he’s in the clear.” He got a sock in the arm for that one and a few sideways glances from his colleagues, most of whom were balding, middle-aged, and thick in the midsection.
“They’re just jealous,” Eddie whispered to me.
I realized I haven’t made my situation clear enough to Eddie. He’s been preoccupied with this job, working around the clock in the lab. He’s usually pretty tight-lipped about any project conducted in the cave and he’s been there for the last three nights straight. His hair is starting to look greasy. But that’s Eddie, pushing himself until he’s about to keel over.
“Maybe you should take a day off. Have a little alone time.” Another sip of coffee, his eyes pink and wild-eyed. “I know, why don’t you and Shelly go have dinner. Maybe that’s just what she needs. Some girl time.”
As I made my way through the gray maze of cubicles, I settled into the idea of having dinner. While Eddie has a point that I haven’t spent much time with Shelly lately, I also don’t feel like I can be alone with her.