I waited until my house cooled down to a balmy 80 degrees before I left my ice cave (only room in the house with an ac unit) in order to clean my kitchen this evening. As I rinsed soggy fruit loops off of cereal bowls, scrubbed oatmeal detritus from spoons and emptied out a plastic container of tomato soup that had reached the stage of a science experiment, I pondered the past twenty years. How many mushy fruit loops have I scraped into the garbage over the years? What amount of desiccated oatmeal have I tried to sandblast off of utensils used by my children?
When I lived away from home for the first time at college, I had five roommates. One of them would get physically ill every time someone had filled a sink with dirty dishes and hot soapy water and then left it to congeal. Sometimes for days. Hey, we were there to get an education, not to be Martha's –in-training, ok? So what little tidbit from my past does my aging brain regurgitate up for me each and every time I come across my sink of congealed, cold, greasy dishwater? Wendy. Yes, Wendy was the roommate who had hissy fits over the slimy sink. As I plumb the depths of orange goo in an attempt to reach the sink stopper and remove it so the nasty liquid can glurp down the drain, I am reminded of Wendy. Wendy also comes to mind when I do laundry. You see Wendy would do her laundry and then sleep under it on her bed. I don't think I saw her fold and put away a single item of clothing in four years, it was all on top of her bed and used to keep her warm at night. Most times we couldn't tell if Wendy was in the room at all, because the mounds of clean clothes disguised her shape and hid her from view.
Wendy didn't like going to the university, so she decided to attend beauty school there in the college town center. We became instant guinea pigs for her and our follicles were soon held hostage to every hair style imaginable. This was during the 80's so you can imagine the horrors. Our hair was permed, blown out with a brush, and then curled into rollers the size of sewer drainage pipes. Our hair spray use in that house is singlehandedly responsible for the reason Al Gore now lectures on Global Warming. When my hair wasn't adding three feet to my height and five to my width, it was French braided so tightly in a circle around my head that my eyes wound up on either side of my head, enabling me to have the vision capabilities of a lizard. This was useful when I wanted to read two books at once. There was this one hair style that she called fish scales. When she finished it, your hair was woven so tightly to your skull that they looked like fish scales. This hair style was one of the most painful experiences I'd ever had up until childbirth.
Wendy was the most popular girl in our house. Every male that came within sight of Wendy, was smitten. She used to have three dates with three different guys in the space of one day. The rest of us would sit around eating fudge, drinking Tab and wondering how she did it. It's true, Wendy was gorgeous. She was thin and dark and beautiful. Oh sure, the rest of us dated, but Wendy was a serial dater. We envied her. She had big hair and all the guys. Who didn't want to be her? I did, in that I'm-not-sure-who-I-am-yet kind of way that some eighteen year olds have. Her life seemed so much better than my own. Beautiful, talented with hair and fighting off the gorgeous guys.
Her only issue was with greasy cold kitchen sink water, which brings me back to my evening. As long as there is cold greasy sink water around, Wendy will always be a part of my life. We haven't seen each other in years, but I'm tied to her whether I want to be or not.