One drink led to another and pretty soon it was ten o’clock in the morning and he was lying in my bed naked beside me….
An hour later I got up and poured a shot of espresso into my morning cup of Bailey’s. I was careful not to wake him up, and tip-toed to the washroom to wipe off the smile that was now plastered across my face. As it turned out that was not hard, because as soon as I flicked on the light switch, I screamed in terror at the sight of my own reflection.
Overnight a boil had erupted at the epicenter of my right cheek. I could not believe it. This cannot be happening I repeated to myself, spinning in to a complete panic attack. I pressed my nose up to the mirror for closer inspection and screamed once again. This is happening. Unsure what to do I turned off the light and took a seat on the edge of the bath tub.
I wanted to crawl back in to bed and start the day all over again but I couldn’t. Minus the marriage, mid-life crisis and New York brownstone, I felt like Elizabeth Gilbert in chapter four of her best-selling novel Eat, Pray, Love. Like her, I too had locked myself in the washroom with a man in my bed and a problem that was much too big to solve in one day. Except whereas her struggle was real, mine was unquestionably superficial. I knew I had to ask for help and there was only one Academy Award winning actress who could give it to me.
In the dark, I laid out the bath mat on the floor in front of me and prayed to Meryl Streep for guidance. She had put me in this pickle and was the only higher power that could get me out.
“What do I do Meryl?” I asked.
“Go back to bed, Fox,” she answered.
Miss Gilbert and I may have shared a page from the same novel, except this is where my story breaks off.
“No way Jose!” I replied getting back on my two feet. Making the decision to end your marriage is one thing, but succumbing to a facial blemish is unforgivable. If Meryl was not going to help me, I was going to have to help myself.
I flicked back on the light switch and screamed once again. Unfortunately this time, my gentleman caller heard me.
“Are you ok?” he asked, knocking gently on the bathroom door.
I cannot tell you how many times I have locked myself in a washroom to get a man’s attention to no avail. And now for the first time I don’t want it, I bring the Good Samaritan home.
“Perfectly fine!” I gasped. I sounded like a fourteen year old girl with a pregnancy test and something to hide.
“But I thought I heard you scream.”
“Oh yes - that! My bad! No troubles is all, just discovered that I am out of mouth wash and got a touch too dramatic. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than morning breath, can you?”
“I have a piece of gum in my bag if that helps.”
For God sakes just let me die on the side of the road already.
“No worries mate, just going to brush my teeth and I’ll be out in a second.”
With my left hand covering my mouth in the likely event I would scream again, I took a closer look at the scarlet mark on my face. For a moment I entertained the possibility that it might be a pimple, but ruled out that prognosis due to the fact that Monday nights are always green tea facial nights, and I never forget to apply a mask. This was clearly something Proactiv did not have a solution for. It was burning ring of fire sent from Meryl Steep herself, and my complexion was on the brink of collapse.
I had no time to waste so I dumped out the full bottle of mouth wash sitting on the counter in front of me and pulled out my first aid kit from under the sink. I removed my emergency tube of Loreal Concealer and applied 40 CC’s to my finger-tips before blending it in to my face. The cover-up I was using was the palest shade available and pretty soon I looked like I was auditioning for the gay vampire role in the upcoming Twilight. I took a deep breath before opening the door and crossed my fingers that he wouldn’t notice.
“Oh my God what happened to your face?” he screeched as soon as he saw me. He was still very much naked and I was still very much a hot mess.
I was left with no choice but to fake illness, and so I did. I theatrically placed my hand over my stomach and told him that I thought I drank too many Bombay Sapphires even though I knew that was not possible.
“You look terrible,” he reiterated. He had that maternal chicken-soup look in his eye and I feared that he was going to go Good Samaritan on me again if I didn't get him out of my apartment and fast.
"Although it pains me to say this," and it really did, "I am going to have to ask you kind sir to find your pants and leave."
The next day the situation escalated from manageable to “I am never going to leave my house again.” In forty-eight hours the boils had spread down my neck to my chest and I made the official transformation from a gorgeous redhead to a walking plague. I scrambled to find a bible in my night-stand to find out what was wrong with me; but it quickly occurred to me that (a) I did not live in a hotel and (b) I did not have a bible. Left with no choice but to seek an immediate turtle-neck followed by medical attention, I checked in to the walk-in clinic down the street and prepared myself for the worst.