For a glimpse into how life spiraled so quickly out of control, read Part 1 and Part 2.
And so it was that my first full day as a college graduate, I was on my way to steal back a greeting card I had given to my neighbor (out of guilt) and inadvertently labeled with the wrong name then lied about it.
Which I guess when I put it that way, sounds a teensy bit strange but you really just had to be there.
The problem was, of course, no one was there to walk me through it.
--Well, that and the whole "I am a people pleaser and cannot handle the thought of anyone hating me" thing.
And I'm not sure there are any textbook cases on this kind of a situation, but I'm pretty sure it would not end in the Card Theft Victim feeling warm fuzzies for the Card Thief That Can't Remember Names Who Is Incidentally Also A Liar In This Case But Not Usually.
The point is, this entire situation was pretty much my worst nightmare. On crack. During a high fever. After eating spicy Mexican food and drinking way too many margaritas.
But back to the story--
I grabbed an armful of bags for cover and sauntered by Michelle-who-wasn't's door.
It was open!
I saw the card just lying in the empty front room, taunting me.
But what's this?! Oh happy day! It was flipped over so I could see the seal was unbroken. She hasn't read it! I rejoiced.
I scurried to the car to unload and argued with myself.
You have to do it! This is your chance! The door is open. No one is around. This will solve all your problems and you can drive home in peace! She'll just think her roommate took it...or something! Either way, at least she won't think it was YOU! TAKE THE CARD!!! TAKE IT! TAKE IT! TAKE IT!
I bit my lip.
Who am I?! What am I doing?! This is so not okay!!! I should just own up to it. Or just let it go and not worry about it. I mean, who cares if she thinks I am a total nutcase and tells everyone she meets about my and my wacko behavior and I end up alone forever eating string cheese and Hostess cakes while surrounded by cats?! AT LEAST I'LL HAVE MY DIGNITY!!!
I shuddered. I squared my shoulders. I paused in the threshhold of Michelle-who-wasn't's door.
The time was now.
Two steps in, two steps out, I told myself.
I lifted my left foot.
...I couldn't do it.
Sorrowfully, I entered my apartment and gathered the rest of my things. I walked through the rooms one last time and prepared for my final descent.
As I crossed the balcony, I met Michelle-who-wasn't's roommate standing outside talking with my friend Joanna, who lived next door.
"Hey girls," I said smiling, flooded with relief at the sign of a familiar face.
Maybe this isn't so bad, I thought. It's not a big deal. Life goes on. Who ca-
"ASK HER IF SHE KNOWS A MICHELLE!" came a yell from the parking lot.
It was Michelle-who-wasn't hollering from her car, gesturing towards Joanna.
"THE CARD!" she screamed at her roommate. "ASK HER IF SHE KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT IT!"
You have got to be kidding me. It never ends!
Joanna glanced at us quizzically.
Michelle-who-wasn't's roommate ran inside to get the card and in a last-ditch effort I looked Joanna straight in the eyes and said quietly, "Just. Play. Along."
The roommate returned with card in hand and it was so close--so, so close--and in utter desperation I opened my mouth.
"Ohhey,IwasthinkingIthinkthatcardbelongstome," the words tumbled out of my mouth and all over each other, forming a cloudy balloon of LIAR all around my head.
"It's just that I have been writing a lot of cards lately--new graduate and all (heh, heh) so ya know, wrote a card and totally spaced where I put it and I guess I taped it to the wrong door. Or maybe it doesn't even belong here at all! Or something." I stammered quickly and nervously and oh-so-nonsensically.
I plowed through, shooting Joanna furtive glances.
"So, if I could just get it back, and I'm so terribly sorry for all of this and oh my! I guess it's time for me to go so it was great seeing you and sorry again and okay well enjoy the sunshine and summer and you know...life and all that so, I'll just be out of your way now if I could just--"
I paused for a brief moment and reached for the card. The roommate handed it hesitantly, her head titled and her brow furrowed in confusion.
My fingers closed around the envelope as I saw Michelle-who-wasn't watching us curiously from the parking lot. Joanna gave me a puzzled smile.
I beelined it to my car.
I passed Michelle-who-wasn't with a hurried, "See ya later!", flew into my seat and drove away, shaking my head and eventually burst into uncontrollable laughter.
What a way to close a chapter, I thought, dialing my roommate's number.
"You won't believe this!" I squealed in the phone, the unopened card peeking out from behind my purse.
And I never could bring myself to throw it away.