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Excerpt III

Ever since I was old enough to envy the girls making out with dreamy-looking men in the moonlight on Love Boat and Happy Days, I’ve lulled myself to sleep with fairy tale love stories I make up in my head. They go something like this: On a perfectly glorious sunny day, I am strolling alone down an East Village street (in Central park, through Soho), dressed in something flattering in red (pink, yellow), maybe with polka dots. This guy—say, Cute Café Boy—is walking his Golden Retriever (mutt, beagle), sort of running, laughing, playing tug-of-war, not looking where he’s going, and he crashes right into me. He looks up, stunned, apologetic—“I’m sorry, are you okay?” His voice is raspy, masculine, full of emotion. When I look into his electric blue (brown, green) eyes, the attraction is instant and mutual. I assure him that I’m fine, I forgive him; the bump and bruises won’t be so bad I can’t cover them with makeup. He laughs and invites me for coffee (brunch, dinner) to make up for it. We get lattés-to-go and sit on a bench in the park. Conversation gushes like a waterfall onto slippery, wet rocks below. Coffee becomes drinks become dinner, and then we’re back at my place. The sex is a revelation. His dog mopes in the corner, neglected, and then licks my feet, making us laugh till our sides hurt. We stay in bed for days. He calls his boss (agent, partner) to say he’s coming down with the flu, and by the end of the week, we announce our engagement. I’m pregnant. We’re thrilled and planning the wedding at his family’s sprawling villa on the Amalfi Coast.

I am an Aries woman, and we most relentlessly wide-eyed, trusting and optimistic sign of the zodiac are not known for great patience. I for one want it all and I want it now. (My ex-therapist confirmed the diagnosis, although she failed to recognize the astrological correlation.) I don’t want to wait for the whole getting-to-know-you thing. I want Harlequin Romance Man to emerge from the mists on his towering black steed and carry me off into a fiery sunset. I want Romeo and Juliet (without the death part). I want insta-bliss: love, babies, lifelong commitment—at first friggin’ sight. Unfortunately I have yet to meet the guy who is willing to comply.

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