He was dressed as a prince in his puffy sleeved blouse and velvet jacket. I was dressed as a 1930’s nurse from Samuel Merritt Nursing School in Oakland. Admittedly it was a weird Halloween costume, but the woman at the estate sale had practically given it to me after I bought $200 worth of antiques for my vintage shop.
My friend, Nancy, her niece, and I had decided to forego the bigger party at Blackhawk Plaza for the meet-up house party in San Ramon. We were newbies. The women were dressed in slutty costumes and weren’t friendly to their new competition.
I set down my potluck item in the kitchen and greeted Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz as she walked in with her pigtails and red hair bows. She scanned the room and then looked down at her wholesome costume that showed very little skin.
“I didn’t know,” she said.
“Me, either,” I said, pointing to my long navy cape over my short white uniform.
At that moment, Prince Charming came over and introduced himself.
“Nice cape,” he said.
“It’s wool,” I said.
“What are these initials for?” he asked, touching my collar.
“Samuel Merritt,” I said. “It’s vintage.”
Nancy barged over and demanded that I take her back to her car.
“But we just got here!” I said.
“That’s the guy who has a room to lease,” she said. “I’ve met him. He’s weird.”
I turned to the prince.
“I’ve got to run these ladies back to Safeway to get their car.”
“Are you coming back? At least give me your number!” he said.
I pulled a Band Aid out of my nurse uniform pocket and wrote down my cell number.
“Come back!” he said.
On the way to the car, Nancy told me what she thought of the whole idea of me hanging with that guy. I dropped the girls off and sat in my car, deciding what to do.
Go to the big Blackhawk party alone, at 10:30? It was halfway over.
Go back to the meet-up party?
I told myself I’d go back, and if I could find parking, I‘d go back inside.
I did, I did, and I did.
The temperature had dropped a lot, and the slutty kittens, slutty lady cops, and slutty princesses were now crowded into the kitchen. But I was toasty warm in my nurse’s cape.
He was outside on the dance floor (an upper deck on the hillside). He saw me and waved me up, so I climbed the stairs to my prince.
As Nancy had said, he’d turned out to be weird, but I had to find out for myself.
The first red flag – “You write children’s books? Convert my screenplay into a novel! We will split the profits.”
The second red flag — “Come over on Christmas, and we’ll make six pans of lasagna for me to freeze and eat for the next three months!”
The third red flag – “Sell my works of art in your shop!”
You get the idea. Prince Charming wasn’t so charming, after all. But just like a teen-aged girl, I could not be told what to do.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If I would’ve listened to Nancy, I would’ve gone home, made popcorn, and watched SNL. I would’ve spent my first post-divorce Christmas alone (the kids would be with their dad), and I would’ve felt even worse than I did over a hot stove in a dirty kitchen with a not-so-charming narcissist.