Traci Bansdorf had been in love with Michael Sterncron for over 23 years now, and she was getting ready to finally make her move.   The two of them had been on a date once…once when they were both in high school, the summer they were both about to head off to college.  At least she thought they were dates.  She couldn’t be sure because they had met accidentally in the office organization section at the Container Store, where he was buying pushpins and she was looking for magnets.  “We’re both looking to make things stick,” she had joked, and he had said “hang on a second” because his cell phone was ringing and he answered it.  It was his girlfriend at the time (Trisha)  although Traci was pretty sure they were on the outs and so when they went next door to get coffee after the Container Store excursion, she made it clear that she was available (“I’m not dating anyone seriously right now”), to which Michael said “that’s good” and she wasn’t sure if she should take that as as a good sign or an insult.

Two weeks later she went to Oberlin, and he went to NYU and became a lawyer,  and over the years Traci loosely followed his life as he got married (oh.), had two kids (oh.  still….) moved to Oklahoma for a job (interesting), remarried (oh.) and redivorced (okay!) and now he was coming back home to just “think things through.”  At least that’s what his Facebook update said.

By “make her move” Traci meant that she would simply casually be “available” in certain situations and let him “decide” if he was ready to “move on in a positive direction in his life.”  She also got her hair cut and colored and joined the Silverado gym and lost 8 pounds in a spinning class and went and had a tai chi master press on her meridians, which was supposed to make you immediately appear 15 years younger, and she started reading a lot of classic novels, not to mention the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (not the Economist, though–she had limits) and she decided to have her teeth restraightened, which involved wearing some sort of a headgear thing for 2 hours a day–and she was safe because she knew he was not arriving for another two weeks, and so that Sunday she wore her headgear to the grocery store, and as she was squeezing the cantoloupes and sniffing their bottoms, she heard someone say

“Traci?”

And she turned around and there was Michael Sterncron, standing right there next to the watermelons, and right next to him gripping on to his muscled bicep like it was a tow rope keeping her from plunging over the lip of Niagra Falls, was Trisha.  THE Trisha.  Old Trisha.  Who was now the NEW Trisha.  Trisha had a face that looked newly microdermabraided and perhaps she might have gotten a glute lift and she was dressed in pretty fancy clothes and she was holding a small stack of classic novels:  Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, Invisible Man, My Antonia.

“I’m sorry, you have the wrong person,” said Traci, and she dropped the melon, which splattered on the floor, and as she bustled out of the produce section and out the door, she slipped a little bit on the melon, but she did not fall.

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