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Post Number: 1
|Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 07:26 pm: |
An Aspirin for a Heartache
Copyright © 2004 by Latasha Goodwyn
All Rights Reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author
Love, depression, sadness, guilt, betrayal and sheer happiness, build the emotional roller coaster in An Aspirin for a Heartache. This sassy tale follows four women- best friends and one man, down their separate paths as they attempt to hold on to their hearts, minds and friendships while learning life's lessons.
Essence Carr married her high school sweetheart Michael ten years ago. Her only aspiration in life is to have children and fulfill her image of the perfect marriage, until she receives a phone call from Michael's (white) mistress. Now she has to play a game of tug-of-war between her mind and her heart, and decide which side of the fence she wants to be on.
After a lifetime of hit-and-miss relationships Page Lancaster a snobby ex-pageant girl, ideals on relationships and life are still wrong. She has a meddlesome mother whose shallow views have dominated her entire life. And if that isn't enough she still lives at home, sleeping in the same room she has slept in since middle school. For Page, life has some hard lessons, especially since sheís learning them for the first time while in her thirties. Sheís fed up with attracting Mr. Wrongs, but deep rooted scars stemming from being a dark skinned sister have clouded her judgment and vanity becomes a cover up for insecurity leaving her afraid to just be herself.
Jakie Hall, is a no-nonsense, trash talking, hard working, single mother of a teenage son named Tay. After a hope-to-die failed relationship with her babyís daddy and a few other losers, sheís given up on love and sees men as only as playthings.
ďWhen I finally broke loose from that relationship, there was barely enough of me left to give to Tay, and lord knows he needed me.Ē
After Tay starts getting into trouble and Jakie looses her good paying job, the walls start to close in on her. With her back against the wall she grabs a bottle of bourbon, some fishnet pantyhose and tries to carve her own way out.
Kyra Tennison, is actively involved in a church that she canít get her husband to step one foot in. Sheís a soccer mom, active in PTA, and dinner is always on the table. But according to her husband the house isnít all that clean, she still hasnít dropped the weight she gained from their last child and she could stand to spend a little less money. She's at the end of her rope. Her husband and children are taking her for granted and getting on her last nerve forcing her to question her existence.
ďI'm having a hard time trying to differentiate between God not wanting someone for me and the devil trying to destroy what God intends for me.Ē
With her patience on its last thread, Kyra reaches out for some solitude and it isnít in the pages of her bible!
Iíve got a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit, and no matter how hard I try, I canít get it to go down. It takes me a while, but finally I can at least get to the point where I can swallow. Suddenly, this sharp pain shoots from the base of the lump, through my heart and into my very soul, but the lumpÖit doesnít move. With my eyes widened to the size of saucers, I sit here fighting these tears. Tears that will expose my vulnerable interior, if I let them fall. Water settles in my lower eyelids. My eyes itch and burn, the only thing that will give me some relief is to close my eyes.
I clench my fist, tuck in my lips, close my eyes, swallow the lump and all of my hidden emotions erupt like a volcano. I cover the mouth piece of the phone, because Iím now sniffling, frantically trying to catch my breath and control the tears that are flowing like lava and burning just the same.
It's the sort of thing I feared my entire life. I sometimes found myself looking for this, searching pockets, wallets, and sniffing shirt collars for unfamiliar perfume and traces of lipstick. But when the phone began to ring, it was none other than my gut feeling that let me know the time had finally come. What Iíd spent so much time trying to find, has finally found me, and now I wish I could hide.
"Hello," I said.
"Hi, my name is Candace...and you don't know me," said a faint but high pitched voice on the other end of the phone. My hand shook. I could barely hold the phone. I knew what this was about.
"But me and Michael, weíve been having an... You see weíve been seeing each other. Iím in love with him."
She continued to talk but I couldn't get past the first sentence. Did she just say what I think she said?
Now Iím trying to sit still, while her words cut me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. My body is shaking. Iím crying silently. My insides are jerking like Iím having a seizure. If I open my mouth, she'll know that Iím horrified, so I hang up.
I exhale deeply and replay the scene in my head, as salt-ridden tears claim a pattern on my grief-stricken face. My new problem is so heavy my legs turn to jelly. I drop to the floor and I cry like a baby. I cry because my husband of ten years now looks like a stranger. I cry because I can't handle the vision of him on top of another woman, I cry because I felt it in my bones the minute the phone rang. I cry because my mother always told me this day would come. ďItís a man thang,Ē she would say. I cry because it hurt like hell, and I do it with all of my heart and soul.
The thought of him smugly prancing in here asking me how my day has gone, while heís been on extended lunches, and late meetings fucking some bitch no doubt, makes me furious. I feel like a fuckinífool for believing all of his excuses. The more I think of him stringing me along like a puppet, the angrier I get.
ďEssence, what's for dinner?Ē
ďEssence, did you get the clothes to the cleaners?Ē
ďEssence, by the way, I'm fucking cheating!"
That's what he should have said. The son of a bitch has ruined my life!
Rage brews in me from somewhere deep and begins to boil over. I run to our closet, which is the size of a bedroom and has the order of a library, and start throwing socks, ties, slacks, shirts, dresses and shoes from their shelf space. I load them at the loft area and fling them over the banister onto the hardwood, which I polished so good I can see my reflection in it, and I keep it so clean I could serve a meal on it.
I fling clothes off the hangers every which way. I fling mine as well as his. Clothes, shoes and socks are landing all over the living room floor, and the more pissed off I get the further they go. Some of the shoes are crashing through the bay windows and landing on the lawn.
What the hell, I'll trash the entire house. What does it mean? What does it mean anyway? It was once a home, now it's just a frame.On an impulse, I whirl down the winding staircase with my burgundy silk robe whipping behind me like the tails of a kite on a windy day. The steps quickly disappear underneath my feet.
My mind races. I pace, running my hand through my hair. As I try to pull my hand out, I realize itís hung in my hair, because of this four carat fuckiní wedding ring that he bought me. I snatch my hand out, along with several strands of curly brown hair, and never stop pacing. I twist my mouth to one side and bite the dry skin on the corner of my lip until I taste blood.
Whatís my next move? I need a plan. I stop pacing and prop my leg up on the cherry-wood coffee table, caress my chin and try to quit moving long enough to focus.
I got it! I snap my fingers. I should just kill him! I should just wait until he gets home and kill him.
I ought to call my best friends, Jakie, Page, and Kyra, on three way and say, ďLetís go get this mutherfucker, then letís go kill his bitch!Ē Do some OJ Simpson kind of shit!
But, Kyra should probably be the one to call all of us to help her do away with her crazy, nit-picking husband. Her goody goody behind wouldnít even entertain the notion let alone the actual act. If I call her sheís only gonna try to settle me down.
And Page? Never mind. Sheís been in the nest too long. Iíd be so irritated with her high-strung and shallow disposition, Iíd have to kill her right after I finished with Michael and Candy or Candice or Candy, yeah, I think Candy, sounds like a stripper name. Probably heís been fucking a stripper.
Anyway, out of all of them, Jakie would be most likely to help me do it. Sheíd definitely roll with me, but the problem with her is, she needs some balance in her life. Sheís a loose cannon. With her, itís all or nothing. Sheíll be wanting to dump their bodies in acid, or something crazy and off the wall like that. And, Iím too pissed for someone not to try and stop me, Ďcause Iíll go all the way and think about prison later. Then sheíll be in prison with me, and her son will be left to fend for himself, which isnít far from his current situation.
Who am I kidding? I donít wanna kill anybody. Iím not gonnaí call them. Iíll deal with this shit on my own. Besides, if I kill Ďem, Iíll be the only one left to suffer, Ďcause I know Iíll probably get caught. I donít give a shit about covering any tracks--not right now anyway.
Okay, Essence, you need some wine, and a cigarette. Just sit for a minute and calm down.
I fumble through the wine rack until I pull out the most expensive bottle of red wine we have, since this is a special occasion and everything. I pour up a glass of wine and guzzle it. I donít even let the glass touch the counter before I fill it up again. It spills over just a little bit, and when I pick up the glass there is a purple ring left on the counter top. I donít wipe it. And let the drops of wine that are dripping from the bottom of my glass land wherever they may. Iím not going to clean them up either. Now, where are my emergency cigarettes? Forget the cigarettes I need some WEED!
I find a half of a blunt in my gold lipstick case from what seems like ages ago. Come to think about it, it was ages ago. I was smoking weed and cigarettes heavily when my mother passed away. This half of a blunt is the only thing from the funeral I kept.
Where is my lighter? I canít find it anywhere.
I run to the stove and turn on the burner. The heat from the open flame is burning my upper lip, but I donít care, I hold my head down, carefully moving my hair behind my neck, getting the blunt close to the fire and I inhale. The smoke burns my lungs, my eyes began to water, but I won't let go. I exhale slowly. In a few seconds Iím feeling somewhat relaxed, in a quiet place.
My mind wanders.
Marriage is like mountain climbing. If you can make it to the top, then you did it--youíre on top of the world. Sometimes, you fall before you make it to the top. But if youíre determined, youíll climb when it's cold--over the bullshit. Youíll climb when the wind is blowing--over the lies. Sometimes youíre bare handed, battered, and bruised, your fingertips are numb from the pressure of holding on, and you just keep on climbing--past the bitterness. And sometimes you wannaí say fuck it, and let go. But, unlike mountain climbing thereís no safety cord, you gotta hit rock bottom, and hope like hell the shit doesnít kill you.
That's what it feels like.
This thing called marriage.
I take another deep drag. An intense relaxing sensation flows through my body. But I still canít stop thinking about it. I feel so betrayed. I feel like someone has died. Maybe that someone is me. A part of me died this morning.
Iím mellowed out. Cool. Tingly. I lean back and prop my leg up against the wall. I exhale a cloud of smoke, and look up at the ceiling. The slit in my robe exposes an almond-colored thigh thatís on the verge of having visible cottage cheese. I squeeze some of my skin to see just how much cellulite I have and wonder if Candy has any.
I take another hit.
Michael came into my life at a time when I was most vulnerable. I thought he was an angel sent from heaven. My feelings were so strong from the very beginning, I was ashamed. I knew no one would understand what I was feeling. I wasnít feeling the normal love that my girlfriends were experiencing. Jakie, and Kyra, were in serious relationships. And Page? Never mind.
They didnít seem as hung up as I was. I loved Michael then, the same way I love him today, immensely. I could see our children when I first looked into his eyes way back then. We both had so many grown up feelings inside. We spent many nights crying and holding each other, praying, asking God to allow us to withstand the pain we experienced when we weren't together. We tried hard to keep our love a secret, not letting anyone know about the intensity of our feelings.
Our relationship went full speed until we were married. He was my everything.
As the years went on, the feelings never changed, or at least I thought they didn't, but thinking back, I know our actions definitely did. It was like one day I looked at him and his eyes didnít have the sparkle they used to have. Now, they were pitch black and his heart seemed to match. He wouldnít let me come near him. Itís funny how fast you can forget, once the situation has passed. This is the first time since then, that Iíve thought about all this stuff. I remember Iíd catch him rolling his eyes at me for no apparent reason, or if I touched him, heíd tell me to move. Our bed was so full of emptiness. The only time we were ever close was during sex, the love making fell in that big empty hole in the bed. I sort of got used to it. I knew sometimes he acted like this. I viewed it as a pattern. And slowly he'd come out of it and things would eventually go back to normal. I donít know what brought it on.
And then, one day it would return just as gradually as it left. I just overlooked it. Thatís my answer. I never left him. There was something inside of me that could never really fathom him with someone else, nor could I stomach myself being with another man.
So when he came to me with his excuses, I gladly believed them. Hell, at least he still cared enough to tell a lie. And a lie, I guess, was all I needed to move on.
Now I wish there was a believable lie he could tell to get me through this one. But I donít think there is one. There couldn't be one. Thatís why I know I have to leave him! I donít have a choice. I don't think I can live without him.
I bite my knuckle, and more tears flow.
I take another puff, this time pulling so hard the fire burns my lips. I flare my nostrils and look up to the ceiling, clenching my fist.
ďJesus can you hear me?Ē I say, tears streaming down my face.
ď I want to stay, I really, really, want to stay, but if I stay, Iíll feel guilty for denying myself a vision of the other side, the single side, the lonely side, the divorced side, and the grass on that side of the fence always looked yellow to me. Who wantís to be divorced?Ē
I feel like I've been dying, trying to make our relationship work, and Iíve been the only one.
I walk into the kitchen to put out the blunt roach in the stainless steel sink, drop it in the garbage disposal and hit the switch.
ď For ten years Iíve been the glue. Ten years!Ē
ď If I had let go when things got tough, the marriage would have been over a long time ago. Iím exhausted, Iím hurt and for the first time I donít see the vision. I canít picture myself with him after this. I donít wanna fight anymore. How can I stop fighting for a part of my soul, Lord?Ē
I grab a handful of off-white china trimmed in gold and throw it on the terracotta floor. The crash sends hundreds of little pieces across the kitchen floor. My vision is blurry from tears that are like blood filling my eyes. When I blink, they dramatically hit a broken plate on the floor and the now clear vision I see is a reflection of me, broken, shattered and crushed. I smash plates until the mellow effect of the wine begins to take me low, real low, to a place thatís dark and miserable. My feelings of rage are replaced with deep sadness. I sink to the kitchen floor that now glistens from the lightís shine upon the broken glass and find myself crying silent tears amidst this scene of destruction. A scene that looks much like my life, cluttered, broken, and meaningless. I refill my glass with wine. I donít know how many aspirin you can take for a heartache, but I take two.
It takes another small handful, emptying the bottle with another glass of merlot before my heartache slowly fades and I feel sort of dreamy.
Now Iím tapping my feet, each tap crushing small pieces of china into even smaller pieces, waiting for Michael to come home.
My butt has gotten numb, sitting here on the cold kitchen floor, and Iíve been crying so much I canít breathe through my nose.
I reach for the the yellow striped dish towel, my favorite one, and blow my nose until my ears clog up. Iím too lazy to switch positions or get up and get a tissue, so I just sit here. The garbage disposal is still grinding, but Iím not getting up for that either. With each breath I get sleepier and sleepier. With each nod I feel my heart beating slower and slower.
I think Iím gonna die!
Except, I donít think I wanna die!
I try to crawl to the phone but Iím so weak and the room is spinning. I muster every bit of strength I have to move one inch and fall. I scoot to the phone like an infant child, each thrust draining me, and my eyes are heavy, like theyíve got the whole world sitting on them. My fingertips graze the phone, knocking it off of the receiver, and I stretch my arm until the muscles connecting my ribs feel like theyíll tear in half. I slowly roll the phone toward me with the tips of my fingers. Once I get a firm handle on it, I slowly dial 911. I shift my weight to one side, lying in a fetal position, trying to get my lips as close to the mouth piece as possible.
Itís taking them too long to answer. Iím not going to make it. Oh Lord, what have I done? Lord please donít let me dieÖplease!
ď911 whatís your emergency?Ē
ďYes maíam are you okay?Ē
I can no longer speak. But in my head Iím screaming, ďHelp! Help! Help!Ē She canít hear me.
I just want to thank you for reading the excerpt from my new novel, An Aspirin for a Heartache. I would love to hear from you, and will check back for your comments here, or you can email me at email@example.com, where I, in a fundraising attempt, will sell chapters of the book for $5.00 each, and In a few months, when the actual book hits the shelves I will personally autograph your copy.
Thanks for your support.