Emma: Part 1

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I, Emma Jane Jenkins, knew the exact moment the precocious karma bug jumped up and bit me on the butt. 2:37 p.m. Third Monday in April. Because that was the minute Michael Quincy Evans pushed open the double glass doors of the DMV and stepped up to the ticket dispenser, looking just like he had five years ago when he broke my heart six ways to Sunday and hauled his cute, tight body back to Alaska.

I have to give props to the Queen Bug for her diplomatic dispersion of her karma soldiers. My roommate of the last three years, Eve, kept telling me that all my sleeping around would come back to bite me, and of course, I didn't believe her. I had a point to prove, and until I was satisfied with distilling my heart clean of Michael, I became a stock holder in the proverbial world of bed-buddies. However, in doing so, I learned a lot about falling in and out of love so many times that I'd mistaken my blonde, surfer-like ex-boyfriend, Marc, for Ben, my coke-bottle glasses wearing, tax auditor ex-boyfriend-not-even-from-the-same-decade-as-surfer-dude. Okay, technically, none of that was love, only lust-filled nights wrapped in the same dirty sheet and masquerading itself as love. But I've decided for the sake of your sanity and blissfully sweet nights free of nightmares and tossing and turning that I'd not go there.

Crap...where was I?

Oh, right. I was about to tell you the story of how I re-met Michael... Yes, I said re-met, because the first time I met him, not much happened...I think it was the first day of second grade and there was him and me, facing off in front of the swings on the playground and he told me to stuff a sock in it, and I shared one of my daddy's favorite words, and we both ended up in the principal's office an hour later with scraped knees, bloody noses, and torn sleeves, warily watching his mom and my dad, both of whom were fans of the occasional, nefariously colorful phrase. Then the next day, Michael and I were best friends, sharing everything from the chocolate pudding cups in our lunches to a cleverly disguised cheating system for our seventh-grade science final, which turned out to be not so unique and landed our butts back into the principal's office, and which circled our friendship back to the beginning, ironically ending the years together because his mom was sadly taken from him that summer by a drunk driver and he had to move to Alaska to live with his grandparents.  

I mean, who moves to Alaska? People are either FROM there or GO there to visit the whales, but no one MOVES there. "It's inconceivable," to quote my favorite movie.

Now fast forward fifteen years, and he shows up out of the blue for a cousin's wedding, drops in to say, "Hi, Emmie. Long time, no see," and jerks his jeans on so fast the next morning that I felt a need to time him and shout, "New World Record!"

I spent the next year scowling at every man that dared to look me in the eye and the other remaining four leaping from bed partner to bed partner, trying to erase Michael's memory by comparison.

Twenty years after our last real time together, not counting the one remarkably, incredible, dazzling night entangled in each other's arms, I slumped in a plastic chair, hiding behind a golfing magazine, at the DMV wearing an indecently low-cut shirt and painted on jeans and a teased-up immobile hairstyle (all because I lost a bet and Eve thought it would be HILARIOUS to cash in that bet by making me renew my driver's license dressed this way) I peered at him over the edge of the pages. He looked just as I pictured him to be - vaguely unconcerned with tousled black hair and piercing blue eyes, clothed in hip-hugging jeans and a t-shirt that pronounced his upper strength...Yum.

I'd imagined myself in love with him for so long that just seeing him again made my breath come short and those god-loving tight jeans of Eve's constricting my lungs even more from where they perched precariously around my bum. They were sneaky that way. Then, of course my name was called, and he looked directly in my eyes with bewilderment and shock that all I could do was stare at him, tipping my lips up in a semblance of a smile...right before I passed out cold.

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