by Bobby Finger
This is part of a week-long series celebrating the 45th birthdays of characters from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
Christy filed for divorce from Billy two weeks after the reunion. She had been considering it for some time, but his actions that night were so public, so damaging to their reputation that she felt the time had come to end it for good. She got the house and the kids. He walked away with one of the cars and drove it off to god knows where. No one’s seen him since he sped onto I-10. Most people think he’s long dead, but most of them wouldn’t say that outside their own homes.
Christy had to find work, but her life’s tragic turn led plenty of people in town to make her sympathy offers. She settled on a job in the courthouse that came with good pay, low stress, and the bucket o’ benefits typical of a government job. Even day care was affordable, so the kids had a place to be while she was making calls and ironing out schedules and listening to people complain to her about things she had no way of fixing. Christy Masters Christianson was suddenly Christy Masters again. But that old name now belonged to someone entirely different.
A lot of people in Tucson begin stories about The New Christy Masters with, “They say people don’t really change, but.”
“…but Christy Masters proved them wrong.”
“…but Christy Masters changed for her children.”
“…but Christy Masters became a saint after that sack of shit left town.”
And all of them are right.
She started volunteering. She made new friends. She hosted parties and invited people from all over town. She attended every parent-teacher conference. She spoke her mind at city council meetings. She donated blood every month – sometimes plasma, too! She even adopted old dogs from the shelter instead of buying a puppy. The woman was a saint.
Plenty of men were attracted to The New Christy Masters, but she turned down all their advances. “I want time to myself,” she’d tell them. “I want it to be me and the kids for a while.” How could they persist after a reason like that?
Yes, The New Christy Masters did seem perfect, but despite her front-facing brightness she still felt regret over some of her actions from long ago. The way she treated a very particular pair of girls. Two of her peers. Two girls named Romy and Michele. “What can I do?” she’d often think at night. “How can I apologize to them in a way that feels sincere? In a way that will make up for my terrible treatment?”
So one day she began writing a letter. Each night she spent half an hour on it. Deleting and adding things here and there. Explaining her childhood. Her relationship with her parents. Her relationship with her siblings. Her relationship with Billy. It was a form of therapy for her – a way of not just unloading, but discovering. Figuring out why she did what she did. Not to make excuses for it all, but to make sense of it all. It was long and it was heartfelt, and by the end it was 75 pages in 12-point font. Single spaced. She read it over one more time, hit 'PRINT,' and threw it in a big envelope. As she applied the postage, a deep unhappiness inside her was suddenly lifted. She felt better. She felt reborn.
When Romy received the package and noticed the return address, she immediately called Michele. The two met up at a cafe in Venice Beach to open it together.
“What do you think it is?” Romy asked as they shared a plate of fries.
“A bomb?” said Michele.
They laughed and ate a few more fries.
“Well, should we open it?”
“You know, I kind of don’t want to. Is that bad?”
Romy released a loud sigh. “Oh my god, Michele. I was hoping you’d say that. Like to be quite honest, I just want to throw this in the ocean and never think about it again.”
“Ooooh, fun! Let’s go throw it in the ocean! Like, a message in a bottle, but without a bottle, or even a message!”
"Exactly like that."
So Romy and Michele finished their fries, paid the bill, and threw The New Christy Masters’ letter into the Pacific Ocean. Later that day they saw Gravity. They loved Gravity so much.
Bobby Finger will just have two burgers, fries, and Diet Cokes because he's in a hurry.