Thursday, April 10, 2008

Suburbia by Bridget Midway

Helen crinkled with each step she took around the living room. Her legs tightly bound together, especially at the knees, she skipped, then hopped, over to the entertainment center in the corner.

If the other PTA moms could see her now, they would take away her crossing guard sash and bar her from all bus stops.

Her sweaty hands nearly dropped the jazz CD, Jason's favorite, but she managed to get the silver disc into the player. In moments the room filled with a heavy bass followed by light piano in concert with a consistent drumbeat.

Deep breath, Hel. This is only your husband, the man you've loved since your first year of college. Yeah, and the same man who shares an office with the company hottie, has an administrative assistant young enough to be his daughter--okay my daughter too--and an intern who follows him around like she's his lap dog and he's got kibble in his pocket.

She wiped her brow as she checked the clock over the fireplace mantle, and hoped her stylized coif would hold out for a few more minutes. With shaking hands, she tightened the belt of her overcoat around her waist.

Hot. Too hot. Sweat dribbled down her armpits. Damn, that's not sexy.

She ran on her tiptoes to the thermostat and kicked it down a couple of degrees, triggering the air conditioner to send out a steady stream of frigid air. Maybe it wasn't so hot. It was just her. She wasn't exactly dressed the way she normally would be.

Peering down at her feet, Helen wondered if she should have put on her sexy stilettos. She had a pair that Jason loved to call her 'Barbie shoes.' A thick, clear plastic band strapped across her toes when she wore them. And the heels were made of clear Lucite.

Comparing them to her youngest daughter's outfits for her Barbie dolls, she saw what Jason had meant. But then again, when did Barbie's clothes become so risqué?

What the hell was she doing? Was she actually thinking about the social ramifications of a doll's outfit right now?

Nerves. She would chalk up her attitude, her outfit and her rattled state to her jangled nerves.

When she heard the tumblers in the front door locks clatter, her heart pounded. Scanning the room, her gaze fell on a magazine splayed open on the center couch cushion.

She ran to it as best she could, but before she could reach it--and just as the front door opened--she banged her leg against the corner of the coffee table, which sent her careening down to the floor in a thud.

Again, not sexy.