When I Grow Up

When Susan grows up, her one bedroom apartment will be in an old brick building. It will be creaky and spacious with an old fireplace that doesn’t work but looks real pretty anyway. The sun will pour into her little kitchen like the pulpy orange juice she buys from Walmart for a dollar but it will look better than it sounds.

There will be plants that Susan will have to learn how to keep alive. There will be homemade art from teenagers and children that line her walls. There will be knick-knacks that are silly but mean something to her and her alone. Maybe she’ll make a mosaic of buttons with items that she finds at the Dollar Store. There will be vases of different shapes and sizes and candles along the top of the ledge of the fireplace. There will be a huuuuuge mirror that’ll have crackled paint along the side and look kinda old. She’ll have cozy reading chair with a lamp and a footstool that she bought at some flea market in the country. Maybe she’ll have a coffee table or maybe she’ll just put the coaster on the floor and reach for it.

On a Saturday morning, Susan will wake up from her double bed with a white metal headboard. She will be careful to not wake the cat who curled up in the nook behind her knees. She will peak her feet out from under the blanket and watch her bright pink toenails that were painted yesterday land on the fuzzy, crooked mat she made a couple months ago. She’ll slip on a pair of old baby blue slippers that used to be cushy but now they are flat and worn and she’ll slip, slop, slip, slop to her tiny little kitchen to boil water on her tiny little stove. The kettle will whistle and she will dribble hot water on the red pour-over carafe to make her coffee in the morning. Maybe it’ll be a Starbucks blend or maybe she’ll just drink Folgers like she always does. Maybe Susan will make oatmeal with protein powder and maple syrup. Or if she’s on her period, she’ll probably just eat a non-dairy chocolate caramel Haagen Daaz bar for breakfast. Nobody will know except the cat.

Once Susan has her books and her coffee, her slippers and her Haagen Daaz bar, her blanket and her cat, she will cozy up in her favourite reading chair. She’ll read her book about leadership or Indigenous history and stop occasionally to assure her cat she is the sweetest things she ever laid eyes on. And then she’ll practice learning scripture in German because she thinks they all sound like Bork the Chef from The Muppets (even if he is Swedish).

“Gott ist Licht. In ihm gibt es keine Finsternis… hordy bordy! Hnnnn, bork, bork, bork!!” Only Susan will laugh at this but in her head, the cat will think it’s hilarious, too.

Maybe she’ll spend the whole day reading or maybe she’ll do some lesson planning. Or maybe she’ll journal and scribble all her thoughts down.  Nothing that will make sense to anyone but her. Or even still, maybe she’ll finish a big project like Kathleen Turner does in Romancing the Stone and make herself cry because it was just that good. Susan’s face will be drenched with tears and her hair will be messy, falling out of it’s bun, just like Kathleen. Susan will walk around her apartment looking for Kleenex or toilet paper to blow her nose and find post-it notes everywhere to remind her to buy more toilet paper. She’ll just have to use her sleeve for now. Just like Kathleen.

She’ll make a list of things To-Do and strike off the things she’s done:

  • Make bed.
  • Devotions 
  • Read.
  • Make coffee.
  • Lesson planning. 
  • Write.
  • Clean bathroom.
  • Host supper tonight 6:30pm
  • Find recipe.
  • Buy groceries.
  • Get toilet paper.
  • Have bath.

She will realize that she is behind schedule and she needs to get moving fast. She will be able to get most things done, except make her bed and she’ll probably just order sushi so people don’t have to cringe their way through her cooking. Maybe she’ll have a boyfriend by then and maybe they’ll try to get this party ready together.

Her friends will arrive and they will greet each other with hugs. Susan’s cat will try to leave but she’ll catch him before he sneaks out the door. They will all sit down and find random things to say that only they will appreciate. People will talk over each other and share opinions blatantly but respectfully. They will roast each other and laugh too hard at the other person’s expense.  At the end of the night when they’re all red-faced and sleepy, she’ll tell the ones who are too drunk to drive to give her their keys. She’ll open up the futon in the living room and pull out the foam mattresses she keeps hidden in her closet. She’ll find all the crooked blankets she knit for this very occasion and hand one to each of her sloppy friends so they stay warm at night. She’ll tuck them in and give them a puke bucket to share in case they can’t make it to the bathroom in time. She’ll tell them where the water jug is but maybe she’ll pour a couple glasses just in case they wake up drunk and can’t figure out how to do anything anymore. Maybe her boyfriend will be one of the people sleeping on the couch or maybe he’ll drive a couple of them home. Before he leaves, they’ll plan for church tomorrow. He will stop by for pancakes in the morning and they will drive together. They will whisper goodnight to each other and she will kiss him on the cheek. He will try to hide his smile but he won’t be very good at it. He’ll open the door and remind her to lock it after he leaves. Susan will smile now and remember to lock it.

Susan will get ready for bed, she’ll take her kitty cat and they will retire to her bedroom. Before she lays her head down, she will say a thank you to God from the bottom of her heart for her drunk little friends, for her boyfriend, for her cat, for her little one bedroom apartment, for her job and for her plants.

And the next morning, she’ll get up and make pancakes for her hungover friends. Her bf will be there and then they’ll go to church together. Maybe her friends will come, too, or maybe they’ll just try to sleep it off. Who knows. But there will be a lot of pancakes.