“Somebody has been seriously holding out on me.” I roll my eyes at Carrie. The woman can drive me absolutely bonkers sometimes, but man I love her.
“I have not been holding out on you.”
“Oh, come on. That guy is perfectly droolable.” I blink long. Okay, maybe not blink but rather close my eyes remembering how droolable he really is. “Awww is somebody swooning?”
My eyes flash open, “I’m not swooning,” I bark and then smile. “Maybe, just drooling.”
“No shit—he’s yummy!”
I punch Carrie in the arm playfully, as she pulls out of the parking lot. “He’s also just a young pup.”
“So … what’s your point?”
“My point? My point is … he wouldn’t want some used-up, half-broken, old woman like me. He wants some tight, fit, bouncy girl.” My mind instantly thinks of Sean exchanging me for just that—young, tight and perky …. If my husband of twenty years didn’t like me the way I am, then why would anyone else? My moment of high just plummeted.
“We need to get your self-esteem built back up, and I have the perfect start—spa day.” I roll my eyes at her, but maybe she has a point.
“Do they wax legs?”
“Honey, they will wax anything.”
The thought of that makes me cringe for a second. “Bring it on.”
Carrie’s plot to bring my self-loathing pitiful state of mind back to reality indeed helped. I went for the full package; head to toe—polished, and shined up. I feel a bit spunky with my bright hot pink toes and fingers to match.
“I love those highlights with your auburn hair. Good choice for spring.”
I smile at her for the compliment, “thanks, you were right I needed that.”
“I know,” she says, and then bounces her head from shoulder to shoulder like a teenage girl. She is absolutely crazy, and I am so glad she is my best friend. She turns her head to me and winks. “Oh yeah, do you mind if we drop by the Whole Food Market before I drop you off at home?”
“Fine with me, actually it sounds more than fine. I have been dying for a piece of spanikopita for the last two days. They make the best in town!”
Carrie and I aren’t the best at maneuvering me in and out of the car yet, but it makes for a good laugh. Once, we finally get to the store, I agree to hold the basket while she pushes me around. I wouldn’t want to picture her trying to handle me and a cart. “I bet that PT boy could give you a good pushin’. I’m talking a. Nice. Long. Spin.” She emphasizes on the long.
“Carrie,” I laugh. “Although, I bet he does have some …” I stop mid-sentence. My jaw dropping.
“… Stamina,” Carrie continues, not noticing why I stopped speaking.
Joking gone—Sean and Sarah stand hand in hand when we round the corner. I haven’t seen him, my husband, since that horrible night of the car accident.
“Nikki,” he gasps. I don’t know why he drops her hand. It’s not like the cats not out of the bag. “How are you … umm, doing?”
The bitter taste of betrayal coats my tongue. I don’t think I could tame my words even if I wanted, “I’m great! Can’t you tell by the wheelchair?”
“Yeah, about that …”
“About what Sean? About the fact that I may never walk again, or wait maybe … how about the fact that Lance is dead!”
“I didn’t make you leave.” His voice edgy, growing louder.
That’s the push right over my line. “You didn’t make me leave? Was I supposed to just jump in and have a little ménage trios?”
“For Christ sake Nikki, do you have to yell so loud?”
I look around and notice we’ve caught the attention of a few passerby’s. “Now you’re embarrassed?”
Sarah is slinking back, but I don’t even care. This little twit was just holding hands with my husband. She just moved into my home. What right does she think she has? “One word, Sean—Alimony.” I look up at Carrie, “Can we get out of here?”
“Dang skippy.” Carrie turns us around, but, of course, she has to get the last word in, “Asshole.”
I’m not feeling quite as cheery when we pull up to my sisters. “You have therapy again tomorrow?”
Carrie wiggles her eyebrows mischievously, “can I come?”
“You’re insatiable,” I shake my head at my dear friend.
“Hmm … maybe, but I’m married and off limits—but soon you won’t be. I think it would be rather fun watching that young stud muffin giving you a workout.”
“He probably won’t even be there. Usually, I have a nasty bag named Laura. That was probably the first and last time I’ll ever see him.” Secretly, I am hoping my words aren’t true. Ethan is a whole lot better to look at than my prior therapist.
“Fine, but if he’s back tomorrow, you better call me.”
“Not a chance in hell. I don’t think I’m ready to be humiliated again.”
“Someone has to help nudge you along.”
I’m thankful that Joe’s outside only seconds after we pull up. I don’t feel up to my friend, the matchmaker, egging me on at the moment. I’m still upset about seeing Sean, even though I know that Carrie is just trying to help me forget.
Heather has decided to make spaghetti for dinner tonight, and when I hear that her family recipe comes from a can … there is no way I can stay in my room and hide. There is a limit to my self-pity-party. I can not eat spaghetti sauce from a can. I have my limitations. Giving directions and lending a hand—literally one hand—with dinner, I rescued Joe and myself.
“Mmm, this is delicious … is this how spaghetti is supposed to taste?” I smile, but Joe’s comment gets him a smack on the arm.
They like to heckle each other, but they really are one of the cutest couples ever. Heather is forty-three, and Joe is only a year older. He in no way looks forty-four. He keeps his hair short, almost military style, and his work as a fireman drives him to stay fit. Heather is on the average side. We are about the same height at five feet, five inches tall. We always joke that I can wear her clothes, but she can’t borrow mine. It’s not like she’s a lot bigger than me she might weigh one-hundred-fifty pounds to my one-hundred-thirty, but a lot of hers is in her chest. Somehow she ended up with the hooters and never shared any with me. The real difference between us; is my auburn red hair and she has a soft brunette coloring. It’s funny how similar all the females in the family actually look.
A knock on the front door pulls Joe away. “Look who came to visit.”
“Hi Aunt Heather, hi Momma.”
“It smells good in here.” she lifts her nose in the air.
“Are you hungry? Your mom made spaghetti for dinner.”
“Mom cooked?” she raises her brows at me. “Of course I’m hungry. I love her spaghetti.”
Everything almost seems normal tonight—almost.
Lexie stays through dinner, ice cream, and a movie. I’m surprised I’m even able to stay awake after the day I’ve had.
“I filled out a couple of last-minute college scholarship applications today.”
I look at her quizzically, “I thought you already were awarded pretty much a full ride?”
“Well, I was,” Lexie pulls the blanket up—covering me. “For the most part my classes and books will be covered, but if I need anything extra; living costs, phone bill, and such. I just think it would be nice if I could get the extra help.”
“Honey, you know that your dad and I said that we will cover that.”
She swallows hard and twirls her hair nervously around her finger, “That was before.”
I know that she is referring to—before the accident and her dad and I splitting. And who am I fooling, I haven’t even called Bryar’s, the restaurant I have been working in the last seventeen years. I don’t even know what to say ‘hey, sorry I left you hanging for the last couple of months. I sure do need to work, oh but about that … I can’t stand yet, or use my right arm’.
My financial situation is probably not at its best right now. Heather had mentioned to me something about a lawyer and an Insurance company, but my main focus has been getting out of bed. Damn Sean—I’m so angry at him. He literally has destroyed my whole life.
“Momma, don’t worry about it right now. Let’s just get you up and dancing again.”
I look at my daughter and see her hurt-filled eyes … it breaks my heart, “Let’s start with walking,” I say.