We Could All Be Better People

March 16, 2008
By Katya Ungerman, Boca Raton, FL

Kyle Casey’s trip to the local Super Wal*Mart, April 1st, 2002, sparked equal parts curiosity and suspicion from his colleagues and Wal*Mart employees alike. Albeit April Fool’s Day, it’s not often you find a sweater-clad twenty-eight year old man purchasing a colorful array of: twice his weight in cherry cobbler and Ben&Jerry’s strawberry cheese cake flavored ice cream, the box-set of season three of Dawson’s Creek, and three DYI needle point throw pillows from the “shabby chic” section of dorm accessories. (Henceforth the visit to Super Wal*Mart, what doesn’t it have? You know, other than Harry Potter.) When he trudged his way to check-out, it was evident that this was not a whimsical April Fool’s Day prank. No, Kyle Casey was being visited by misery. And if misery loved company, that company was binge eating. His four foot nine, China doll of a wife had left him. She had left him for someone bigger, someone better, she had left him from some guy who did protein drink commercials.
He’d never really been able to understand her much, through her broken English and occasional spattering of Chinese obscenities, but his name was Tyrone and he was going to help her “make one million dollah.” Casey hadn’t supported her enough? This was an outrage. Had he not funded Gorgeous Pretty Beauty Nail Salon, out of his POCKET? He wasn’t made of money and nail salons required some big bucks. Granted, he was certainly confident enough in his paycheck to spend an upwards of ninety dollars on cherry cobbler, but nail salons took in less than they needed. And moreover, had he not been there for her, at her every beck and whim? Did he ever lead her astray? Who was this ‘Tyrone’? Was he going to be man enough to put those sorely mistaken mac daddies in their place when they came around accusing him of god knows what? Was Tyrone going to be there to scrub nail polish out of Gorgeous Pretty Beauty Nail Salon’s white shag carpet? Was he going to be there to wipe the tears from Lin’s eyes when Ashanique and Crystasha stole her stick-on acrylics (the purple and aqua ones, with magenta and yellow rhinestones)?
He left that Wal*Mart even more dejected and alone than he had walked in, even with his cobbler, ice cream and needlepoint. Crestfallen bike rides never made for a good time, even with the promise of sweets safely tucked away and a comforting mix-tape of Asia and Brett Michaels on your walk man. Vengeful thoughts were something that fell short, there might have been nothing like waking up and finding yourself in a loveless marriage, but what was worse than waking up and finding yourself without a marriage? (Assuming you had been in one previously.) What went wrong? Their loosely labeled “studio apartment” might not have been paradise, but it was something. It was better than whatever Tyrone had to offer. His sleeves were filled with pyramid schemes and steroids, but Kyle, he was an honest guy making an honest living. A block or two away from home Kyle made a decision. He was going to confront Tyrone. He wasn’t even going to go home to put his ice cream in the freezer.
Still despondent but with a new found spur, he rode that Schwinn as fast as his little legs could take him to Tyrone’s place of residence. If that guy thought he could take his wife without a fight, well, he was wrong. Upon reaching his humble abode though (far more ‘humble’ than Kyle’s and formerly Lin’s), he found that it was empty. He was almost paralyzed with images of them rendez-vousing at clubs and scheming the elderly, or whatever Tyrone’s testosterone-filled self had planned for Lin. He rode back home, making another decision then and there: as heroic as he wanted to be, he didn’t live on the set of a romantic comedy. He was going to sit in his beige Lazy Boy, he was going to watch Dawson’s Creek, and he was going to eat his ice cream with his cat Yasmine in his lap. He didn’t need to go beating up on someone who was apparently a fine member of the African American community. Home at last, he opened the door to find Tyrone and Lin. He was greeted with a pile of his clothing flung in his face. Needless to say, he dropped the ice cream and cobbler beside him, flabbergasted. He had no home. He had no wife. His ice cream was melted. God knew where his cat was. He flung something at Lin – and that was a hard-hitting question: “Where am I supposed go?” With gusto, she suggested his mother. He took the suggestion (and his cat eventually showed up).

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