“Is this Karen Peterson?” asked the chirpy voice on the other end of the phone.
“Speaking,” I said, shifting my phone to my other hand and hooking my wallet out of my purse. “Sorry,” I mouthed to the barista as I dropped four dollars in his hand. He made change but I shook my head, gesturing for him to put it in the tip jar.
“This is Janelle calling from Jeunes de Coeurs?” she said, “I’m calling to confirm your reservation?”
“Oh shit,” I said. A woman waiting for her coffee next to me gave me a disapproving look, and pushed her stroller a little further away from me.
“Sorry?” said Janelle. Everything she said ended in a question. I found it incredibly irritating.
“I don’t need the reservation anymore,” I said firmly, “I forgot I’d made it, to be honest.”
“You’ve been on the books for 8 months?” Janelle said, “We have a policy? The deposit is non-refundable?”
I vaguely remembered reading something about that when I’d made the reservations last June, when I had still foolishly believed that David and I would last.
“The thing is,” I said, “My boyfriend dumped me two weeks ago.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Janelle said, sounding sincere. “We do get a lot of cancellations around this time of year.”
“Really?” I asked. “That’s so sad.” Janelle was growing on me.
The barista set my latte down on the counter. I carried it over to a corner table, settling down in a comfy leather chair.
“It’s pretty common?” Janelle said. “Valentine’s Day is sort of the quite or commit day on a relationship. How long were you guys together?”
I ripped open a packet of Splenda and dumped it into my latte, stirring it in. “A year and a half,” I said. “It just felt… I don’t know, I thought he was really serious about me.” And suddenly I found myself yearning to tell this stranger all about David. About his lop-sided grin and the one tooth that was slightly chipped from a baseball game; about the way he sang off key to U2 songs when he drove; about how good he was with his hands.
“So what do you want to do?” Janelle asked. For a second I wasn’t sure what she was asking. Do about love? Life?
“About the deposit?” she prompted.
“Oh,” I stalled. “I’d hate to lose the money. Kind of like I paid to get dumped,” I attempted a feeble laugh and the guy two tables down from me looked up from his laptop, startled.
Janelle seemed to be mulling this over. “You should come anyway!” She suddenly exclaimed. “It’s a spa! You can just use the pool and get a massage and relax.”
“You don’t think that’s sad?” I asked. The idea suddenly appealed to me.
“Of course not!” she said. “You can get room service, so you won’t even have to be around any couples? Come on. Do it!” I hesitated.
“Look, I’ll even do this. You booked the Lovebird Bungalow? I’ll change you to another room so you won’t get the rose petals or anything, and then it will be cheaper, but you still won’t lose your deposit?” Janelle was either an excellent saleswoman, or incredibly invested in the personal lives of her guests.
“Yes,” I found myself saying, to my surprise. “But, I still want the champagne and chocolate in my room…”
“Of course,” she said. “Then we’ll see you Friday evening?”
“Yes,” I said, “Consider me confirmed.”
We hung up and I tucked my phone back into my purse and leaned back in my seat, stretching. I noticed that laptop guy was still staring at me so I gave him a little grin. Looking nonplussed, he immediately turned back to his work.
“Oh well,” I thought to myself. “Maybe next time.”