The One Who Got Away

I’m starving and exhausted.

I’m with my two-year-old at a hamburger joint on the Upper West Side.  We sit in a corner booth as I contemplate the purchase I made at a posh cosmetics shop next door. The saleswoman up sold me and I let it happen. I don’t NEED this NARS blusher in ‘Orgasm.’ Why didn’t I just say NO when she said the word orgasm? This is why I don’t run errands when I’m hungry. I went in the store for one bottle of moisturizer and came out with a NARS blusher called ‘Orgasm.’ I know- I’ll stop saying it.

I replay this chain of events in my head when I hear my son squeal with delight. I look up in time to see him practically hurl himself over the top of the booth to get to the table next to us.

“Whoa, mister!” I laugh as I grab his thick little waist, “Where are you going?”

Then I see her-she’s about 6, maybe 7. She wears a darling marinière dress with a tousled mess of dark curls.  Her devilish grin is missing a few teeth. My son tries to get to her table again, so again-I pull him down.

“Sorry,” I smile to the girl’s father.

I look down at my menu and hear the squeal again.  This time it’s in response to a ticklish squeeze from this little lady.  She’s reached her hand over the booth and into my son’s armpit. Her tongue sticks out the side of her mouth due to her concentrated effort. My son flops down on the bench to catch his breath, then jumps up again to surprise her. She shoves her hand under his arm again while peals of great and pure toddler giggles pour out of him.


Hm.  How can I put an end to this? I’m not sure the iPad even stands a chance against this little mouse, but then I see her father sign his credit card slip. He looks up and says, “Bye, we have to go,” to which our little hero responds with what we like to call-‘stink face.’ Stink face is a classic nose scrunch/mouth frown combo  It makes him look like an old man who accidentally passed gas and tried to blame it on someone else. The father laughs and says, “I’m sorry! We have to go.”


The little girl’s eyes grow large as she shoots her hand over the booth for one last armpit squeeze. With a wicked grin, she waves a playful goodbye.

As she leaves my son chucks himself face first onto the bench: crestfallen.  He’s catatonic, his face frozen in disappointment. The surrounding patrons suppress their giggles.

“Don’t worry,” I offer, “There are plenty of other girls in the sea.”

The waitress comes over and says, “Your son was just flirting with Tina Fey’s daughter. They come in here all the time,” she laughs, “I just thought you’d like to know.”

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