I have to sign a paper to take my name off the mortgage, “we got divorced a year ago…” I say. “Yes, we just missed this niggling detail…” says John the banker. “Ah.” He hands me the pen and I lay down my signature next to Michael’s.

“Woah!” says John. He reels back a little in his chair.IMG_1092

I see what he means. Michael’s signature is lean, jagged, direct, masculine. Mine…well…it’s twice the size, a roundy loopy piece of spaghetti splattered onto the page, shaped like three naked ladies dancing. The difference is remarkable.

“Explains everything, doesn’t it?” I say. John laughs, then checks himself. Is he supposed to laugh? I smile and shake his hand assuringly, “I’m so glad he got a great rate.”

Later, in the car, I thought of my marriage registration. Those signatures were startlingly different back then. I didn’t notice.

It continues to be a silly day. Some fun in the park for Nora. Kids with snits and then stompy apologies and then gales of laughter and hugs. If only adults could resolve things so clearly. I got to spend time with my friend’s rather quiet spouse. We were the ones on duty for the playdate. It  was lovely to get the chance to visit and to sit comfortably in his customary silence. I watch this gentle methodical man parent his son tenderly. Pragmatically. I peek at him out of the corner of my eye. I smile. He’s so completely different from her. Did they not notice the signatures on the marriage registration either?

He praised her three times in two hours in her absence. Not because he was trying to impress or convince. It was just natural to him. Natural to appreciate her genius for loving kindness.

Opposites can work.

After dinner we hurry home so I can get to the theatre for my call. I don’t have time to change out of my “suburban Mom jeans”. This embarrasses me. I keep them around for housework and gardening but they’re dreadful, just dreadful. Sort of flood, camel toe and muffin all at once. I see myself in the mirror in the green room and I can’t stand it. I take off my pants right there and stuff them into the trash can! “I hate these jeans! I shouldn’t wear them ever again!” I dash into the change room so Rob doesn’t catch me in my undies. He does catch a bit of my bum and Lois says calmly, “Um…Lucia…what are you going to wear home?”

Crap! I never thought of that. And it’s too late. There’s all sorts of nasty clinging to my jeans in the garbage can. After the show I wait until all the audience members are gone. Then I sneak out the back door with my sweater and my underpants and run to my car as fast as I can. Rob catches me again and chuckles in the parking lot as he roars off in his super cool silver motorcycle like a perfect James Dean. I don’t even want to see his signature. But I’m telling you this: it’s the kind of signature that doesn’t throw his pants away before he’s done needing them. It’s also the kind of signature that would never wear those pants in the first place.

As I drive home, a perfectly dignified woman wearing a sweater, black socks, shoes and panties…I sigh.

Maybe I should try to make my signature a little less…loopy.


Then I wouldn’t have a story.


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