Santa Barbara is kind of a large small town. Last I heard we were some 90,000 souls (arrr! I loves me some old sea cap'n diction). This may help explain why several of Jack's old girlfriends never became people we'd cross the street to avoid, nor mere receivers of brief hugs in the frozen food aisle, but a freakin' integral part of our lives.
Names are changed to protect my ass.
Mantissa Back when we were newly married and dirt broke, Mantissa got Jack a job at the construction company she worked for, and suddenly he was making more money than he'd ever made in his life. This despite what sounds like a really awful break-up, about which I can't share much detail except for the fact that one party recommended that the other party find a good psychotherapist.
Voluntaria I don't know much about Voluntaria's relationship with Jack, apart from the fact that it didn't take them long to realize they were better off being pals. Now she cuts Jack's hair, and whenever I feel the need to pay someone else to approach my head with scissors instead of doing it myself, I, too, feel that my arteries and eyeballs are safe with Voluntaria.
Vociferata Vociferata has a lovely daughter three months older than Jackson who is also his friend at preschool. Therefore, I see Vociferata at school at least one morning a week; lately we've been comparing notes on quelling separation anxiety. Again, I don't know all that much about their relationship, though Jack does credit Vociferata for leading him through an almost entirely parasite-free food odyssey of Oaxaca.
Dahlia I think that, given the option, Jackson would just up and move in with Dahlia. They are totally, uninhibitedly enamored of one another. Last week we were at a small dinner party, and Jackson hovered near the door for thirty minutes waiting for Dahlia to arrive. They played almost nonstop, and then Jackson ate dinner sitting in Dahlia's lap. Jack acknowledges that if anything ever happened to me, he would have to buy the house next door to Dahlia so that she and Jackson would never again have to be more than twenty feet apart. Though Jack threatens to have him digging ditches the summer he turns sixteen, Dahlia, who owns several successful bars, will probably have Jackson doing something far more prestigious first, like loading coolers with ice and being told to quit smoking pot in the alley.
Jinxy The breakup with Jinxy was the toughest on Jack, so naturally I had to become, like, best friends with her. She no longer lives in Santa Barbara, but she still comes back for business, and for a long time I was so curious about her that whenever she was in town I'd invite her to lunch and quiz her about her life with Jack. It probably wasn't an entirely healthy thing for me to do, but it stamped out any traces of jealousy I might've harbored, and we found we had a lot in common. Not two weeks ago I literally bumped into her at yoga: our mats were about twelve inches apart and we almost beaned each other rolling down out of supta konasana simultaneously.
Morticia Well, maybe just the occasional hug in the frozen food section, okay?