A Rose by Any Other Name
"We have a white Charger out front ready to go. Would you like that?" asked the Enterprise man in the blue suit.
"You're kidding? Of course I would," I said, my eyes widening, excited now that my neighbor landed my mangled sedan into the body shop.
I hopped in my new sports car, settled myself in, and made adjustments to the seat. The scooped hood and lines of the vehicle made me feel ten years younger. It reminded me of my little Mustang I pranced around with as a teenager.
Before driving off, there on the side of the console I noticed the corner of a white sheet of paper. I pulled up on it, exposing the Enterprise header. "What's this?" I said examining it carefully, double checking the name. It was the previous driver's rental agreement. I eyed the name of the person who rented it before me.
"Tiffany," I said. "Huh."
Normally I like ethnic sounding names like Nima, Dasha and Zahra, but Tiffany. Who wouldn't like to be a Tiffany? I don't think I've ever met a Tiffany. Just the sound of it oozes in regal and posh. At that moment, I gave myself permission to give my birth name, Rose, a break from the bore. A Tiffany lifestyle would be grand, sexy, and exciting. I turned on the radio to find Tiffany's beloved stations set to today's top ten. I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel to her beat.
I folded the paper and threw the agreement on the seat. As it landed, a smaller pink sheet flew out of reach. I squeezed across the console to pick it up off the floorboard. A dry cleaning slip. The pick up was for today. I wondered what someone named Tiffany would wear on any given day. Maybe some pink little frilly blouse or a sexy piece of lingerie for her weekend one night stands. I was sure her clothes were something bold and strong, yet feminine. I contemplated about picking it up and bringing it back tomorrow to get it cleaned. No harm would be done.
As soon as I picked the garments up, I returned to my two story, empty nest of a home. I placed my new keys on the lonely hook near the door. His set of keys left six months ago. Tiffany would enjoy the extra room and pass the hook without ever looking back. I made my way toward the bedroom and took off the plastic wrapping and hung my daily selection. Black, black and more black.
"Really?" I pulled out a black t-shirt with a bejeweled cross on the front. I removed a pair of plaid gray and black slacks from the hanger. The pants, one size too small, could be a challenge for some other name. I sucked in my gut and hoped for the best. I realized that this Tiffany could lay off the third donut on the weekends. I pulled my hair back to a ponytail and added extra bling with some old silver dangly earrings. I wrapped a Chanel-patterned looking scarf around my neck. I went to the vanity and stuck my hand way back in the drawer, behind my collection of small tubes of toothpaste. I remembered that I had a store sample of "Fire and Lust" lipstick that I swore I'd never wear. But Tiffany, she'd model it on a regular basis. I circled the bright red onto my lips. I was a new woman.
My curiosity drew me in, and I wondered what type of house a Tiffany dwelled in. Definitely something contemporary. A detached condo painted in stark white with a deco planter out front. In the entrance would be a monogrammed door mat from Frontgate, adorned in a Renaissance scroll pattern.
I got back into my ride and opened the rental agreement for a second look. Happy Valley Road was where my new life lived. Yes, a condo for sure. I pulled away from the curb and in fifteen minutes landed up at my destination. A mini cape painted in flamingo pink. Like the ones you see in Florida or the Caribbean. No planter.
Maybe Tiffany would have had one too many vodka and cranberries at a house party given by some millionaire tycoon. The drunken Tiffany would've decided on that color for sure. The burnt lawn was guarded by a faded yard gnome. A full renovation was in order. I'd make sure my assumed husband Brad, in his tight fitted t-shirt, would get onto it after he repainted the kitchen.
I drove away disappointed and decided food would make everything feel better. I stopped at this organic place everyone raved about. The old Rose would never step foot in it, but today was a new day. Tiffany, in a patterned scarf, would definitely frequent here. I spent fifteen minutes waiting for a vacant parking spot. Then stood in line for ten more minutes. I ordered my plate of organic albacore tuna, home grown greens, and gluten free pasta. The meal looked as appetizing as a bowl of chick pea vomit. I pushed the items around blending them into one, thinking it would give it a better look. Hoping it would create another taste besides cardboard. No chance. That's thirty minutes of my life I can't get back. I decided that this Tiffany wasn't an organic girl anyway and needed a greasy burger and a small fry. It didn't matter anymore within these tight size six pants. My muffin top already flowing over them, like caramel over chocolate chip ice cream. Ah, ice cream. That sounded much better.
Tiffany would decide to start her diet tomorrow with some wheat grass smoothie and pita chips to balance it out. Or maybe just the wheat grass. Pita chips would be too much food for one day.
Back in my car, I opened the windows, and let my ponytail blow in the wind as I circled the city full. This Tiffany was full of determination.
"We don't serve chocolate chip ice cream," the voice over the speaker announced four times in four different locations. I continued on in my search.
I stopped at the light. My car's twin pulled up beside me in red. This Tiffany exuded flirtation. I felt sexy. A bit thinner. My wrinkles invisible. I looked over at the handsome guy with his highlighted tips, gave him a Tiffany engrossed smile and slightly roared the engine. The guy gave me a grimace, shook his head, and rolled up the window. No Tiffany would be interested in a guy who highlights his hair anyways.
With no luck in my search to find my flavor of ice cream. I found myself starving by the end of the day and stopped at the local coffee house for my usual Venti Caramel Macchiato with whipped cream, keeping all the sugar intact. As the young girl was finishing my drink, I heard the barista call out, "I have a Cinnamon Dulce, for Emma."
I always liked the name Emma. It sounded homey, comfortable and warm. Why didn't my mother name me Emma? Why did it have to be after my dead grandmother? I never even met my grandmother. Who names their kid Rose anyways? That name is so old it went down with the ship.
I made a split decision to see what life would be like with a mellower name, other than the one I temporarily chose for myself for the day. Tiffany didn't have what it takes and didn't lead such an exciting life after all. So I stepped up to the counter, gave the barista a very Emma-like cutesy smile with a slight wink of the eye and finished my afternoon journey as Emma. Em for short. I left Starbucks with a hop in my step, a new persona, even if for another temporary moment. I hoped I wasn't going to be chased in the parking lot by the real owner of this hot treat. I opened the door of my sporty little white attention grabber. Sitting in my car, excited to be living this lie as a new woman, I took a sip of my favorite new drink. It could be described as a mixture of hot spicy cinnamon and burnt dog poop. Yes, I've accidentally tasted poop a time ago. In that instant I realized...Emma's...have awful taste buds. I immediately drove back into the Enterprise parking lot.
"Good afternoon, can I help you?" asked the slim blonde.
"Yes, I need to exchange this car for something different," I said placing the keys on the counter. "I don't like this one as much as I thought I would."
She asked, "Can I have your name?" The phone rang. "Give me one second please," the clerk said as she picked up the phone.
I took a quick glance at her name tag, Lauren. That name had a very collegiate sound to it. If I were born with the name Lauren, I definitely would've gone to Harvard and worked on earning two degrees. There I would've met my husband, Chad, at a sorority social. After we finished school, he'd ask to marry me and present me with a three carat diamond. My daddy would pay for our lavish, six figure wedding set in Hawaii on the Napali Coast where three hundred of our guests would dine on lobster and filet mignon. I'd become pregnant in the first year we were married.
Instead of using my degree, I'd spend my days shopping for shoes or having margaritas at lunch with my girlfriends. On the weekends, our family would spend time at the Country Club. I'd be sporting a little white tennis mini against my sun-kissed skin. Chad would be smoking stogies with his buddies on the golf course. My nanny would take our twins in matching vests and plaid shorts to junior golf lessons then to the pool for a swim. I'd be in my third match of the afternoon. My Jewish mother-in-law, who we had taken in last year, would be watching me from the veranda having tea with three of her friends.
"That's game," I'd call to my opponent. In light of my victory, I'd pick the ball off the court and kiss it as if it was some sort of trophy.
My brunette opponent would say, "What are you talking about? You know that was in."
"I call them as I see it," I'd tell her as I throw the ball in the air.
"Rematch?" she'd ask me.
"I don't think so. Maybe tomorrow."
She'd get all frustrated and bothered. "We both know good and well the ball was in. You might want to think about getting your eyes checked." Her face tight from an overdose of botox and plastic surgery.
I'd tell her, "My eyes might not be 20/20 but they're good enough to see your husband was getting it on with your best friend at Chuy's the other night."
We'd both charge the net with our rackets waving them in the air making obscene gestures at one another. She'd finally get me to a point where I'd push her with the tip of my racket.
I'd tell her. "You better back off or I'll take this racket and use your head for my next ball."
The chaos escalates. The golfers on the ninth hole stop swinging. The waiters stop serving. The club members frozen. Our audience watched on as we took verbal jabs at each other like two screaming chimps.
My mother-in-law would stand up and scream from the veranda, "I told my son he should've married a nice Jewish girl!"
And I'd tell her, "Maybe your new, Jewish, daughter-in-law could buy your Depends from now on." That would shut her up.
The manager would walk over and say, "Your family is no longer welcome at this country club."
I, Lauren, would then let him know that his country club wasn't worth my precious existence. I'd pass him a few hand gestures I learned from my family. I'd then walk off the court, finishing my exit by knocking over his thousand dollar ball machine.
The Enterprise blonde repeated, "Miss? Your name?"
"Rose. My name is definitely Rose."
The blonde handed me the keys to last year's Honda Civic. I drove away as Rose, just like the previous 17,520 days prior, where life was good and predictable.