It started out like any other Sunday, as Annabel imagined most

Elisa Nieto | Download | HTML Embed
  • Jan 7, 2016
  • Views: 27
  • Page(s): 10
  • Size: 692.31 kB
  • Report



1 01 02 03 04 05 06 One 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 I t started out like any other Sunday, as Annabel imagined most Sundays d ideven the ones that ultimately bore the burden of cataclysmic news. She peeled one eyelid open, then the next, and 15 16 17 sat upright. Already she was disappointed that any lazy tendencies, 18 any desire to roll over and go back to sleep, had been supplanted 19 by a breathless urgency to commence the household chores that 20 confronted her. 21 Then there was Henry, lying next to her on his back, with his 22 arms folded across his chest, one hand on top of the other, as his 23 lungs filled with air and exhaled with the crackle of a sputtering 24 carburetor. Deviated septum, he insisted. Extra thirty pounds was 25 more like it. She watched silently as his nose twitched and his lips 26 quivered. He barked a phlegmy cough and rolled onto his side to 27 face her, his heavy arm landing on the pillow where her head had S28 been just moments earlier. N29 1 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 1 1/7/16 7:29 AM

2 Emily Liebert 01 Sleeping in the same bed with Henry had become a competitive 02 sportevery man for himself. It was all about who could strategi- 03 cally gather the most sizable chunk of mutual real estate while, at 04 the same time, guarding his or her own. All the while making 05 certain not to relinquish an extra inch or two of sheet or comforter. 06 How many times had Annabel awakened in the middle of the night, 07 shivering beneath the frigid squalls of air-conditioningbecause 08 Henry insisted on air-conditioning 365 days a y earand been 09 forced to wrestle her way back into the cocooning warmth that 10 her husband had been monopolizing during their precious hours 11 of REM? Too many times to count. 12 She wondered absently how long he would lie there if she let 13 him. If she didnt launch herself out of bed with the determination 14 of an Olympic pole vaulter to vie for a gold medal in domestic 15 efficiency. There was always so much to get done. Seemingly end- 16 less check boxes to tick in her eternal pursuit to finally reach a 17 point where she could relax. 18 That morning, in a rare state of affairs, her resolve was dulled, if 19 only slightly, by the absence of their twin five-year-old boys, Harper 20 and Hudsonnames for which Annabel had endured interminable 21 eye rolls and disapproving shakes of the head. Henry had wanted to 22 know why they couldnt call them Ben and Scott or Matt and Jason. 23 Hed even agreed, albeit begrudgingly, to Dylan and Taylor, until two 24 other babies in the hospital n urserytwo g irlshad assumed the 25 newly minted unisex monikers. In the end shed convinced him that 26 having sons with the same first initial as their father was an honor 27 that he should embrace rather than rebuff. And then shed prayed he 28S didnt suggest Harry and Harvey or Hank and Howard. 29N Annabel plodded doggedly toward the bathroom, intimidated 2 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 2 1/7/16 7:29 AM

3 Some Women by the aberrant silence. Typically by this point, Harper would have 01 been up for at least an hour. Hed have come stumbling into their 02 room, barely alert, crawled into his spot between the two of them, 03 and curled his body into hers. Snuggle, hed have uttered, almost 04 imperceptibly, and shed have cuddled him close, dotting his plump, 05 rosy cheek with the softest kisses. Faultless indulgence at its finest. 06 No less than thirty minutes later, Hudson would have made his 07 grand entrance, bursting onto the scene by catapulting all t hirty- 08 eight pounds of himself on top of everyone, thereby instigating 09 indignant shrieks from his brother, grumbles of protest from his 10 father, and roguish laughter from himself. 11 Harper and Hudson. Angel and devil. As different as any two 12 children could be, especially identical twins, although they barely 13 looked alike to her. Harper was Annabels lover-not-fighter. Her 14 sensitive thinker. The one who, at four years old, had reminded 15 Henry to buy her flowers on Mothers Day. Not because he ex 16 pecteda reward or even a pat on the back for it, but because hed 17 wanted to make sure she was happy. Hed wanted to make sure 18 that all of the efforts she put forth on any given day, the many 19 strands of silk she wove to construct the intricate web that was 20 their life, didnt go unnoticed. Hudson, on the other hand, was a 21 silent manipulator. A child who had your number before you knew 22 there was a number to be had. A child who could use any weakness 23 to his advantage while making you believe he was doing you a 24 favor. To know Hudson was to work for Hudson, whether youd 25 voluntarily initiated your employment or not. 26 Still, now, with the boys at her parents house, where theyd 27 slept the previous night so she and Henry could attend his assistant, S28 Libertys, weddingand he thinks Harper and Hudson are odd N29 3 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 3 1/7/16 7:29 AM

4 Emily Liebert 01 n amesit was hard not to miss them, devious behavior and all. 02 That was the funny thing about children. When they were around, 03 you wanted peace and quiet. A mere moment to yourself. You felt 04 absolutely desperate to go more than three minutes without hear- 05 ing the word Moooooooom echoing throughout the house. To go 06 to the bathroom orif luck was really on your sideto take an 07 uninterrupted shower. Yet, when they were absent, no matter how 08 infrequently that happened, it felt as though someone had ampu- 09 tated your limb and left a stinging open wound in its place. And 10 you craved them like a cold beer on a blistering summer day. 11 Annabel brushed her teeth and splashed tepid water on her face 12 before patting it dry and massaging a thick white cream around 13 her eyes. Deflates the puffiness, read the bottle, a promise she 14 trusted it would live up to. After all, no one wants to look like 15 shessquinting until midafternoon. She pulled her robe off the 16 hookby the shower, slid her arms into the sleeves, wrapped it 17 around her body, and cinched it at her waist. Her waist, which was 18 no longer as cinchable as it used to be. Unfortunately, when shed 19 attempted to zip up her favorite black dress for Libertys big day, 20 shed had the unwelcome realization that any efforts to regain her 21 prebaby figure had been infuriatingly futile. Shed danced. Shed 22 jiggled. Shed even tried Vaselinea tip shed read in one of the 23 womens magazines in her dentists office. Until, finally, yesterday 24 shed resigned herself to donning a remotely flattering navy blue 25 maternity dress, which shed hoped no one would actually notice 26 was a maternity dress. Unfortunately, Gary Blanks wifewho 27 was, in fact, p regnanthad been wearing a strikingly similar one 28S in a lighter shade of blue. Even more depressing was the fact that 29N shed carried it off far better than Annabel had. 4 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 4 1/7/16 7:29 AM

5 Some Women Minutes later, she found herself downstairs in the kitchen, prep- 01 ping the kids backpacks for school the following day, making their 02 lunches, loading and running the dishwasher, finishing a basket of 03 laundry, ordering the weeks groceries online, and emptying the 04 garbage c answhich shed reminded Henry to take care of before 05 going to bed. Again, no such luck. As the clock struck nine, her 06 groggy husband finally made his way downstairs, rubbing his eyes 07 with his fists, then stretching his arms above his head before eman- 08 cipating an onerous moan. Apparently, all that rest could really 09 take it out of a guy. 10 Look who it is. Hed barely come to life and already she was 11 anxious for him to pitch in. Did you make the bed? Seriously, 12 lets get to the point. 13 Nope, he called from the family room, where she found him 14 reclining on the couch with the television remote already in hand. 15 Do you really need a rest after eight hours of sleep? Hands 16 on hips. Hello? Do you see that? Hands. On. Hips. Men could be 17 exasperatingly oblivious. 18 The race is on. 19 What race? 20 NASCAR. Its just another f orty-five minutes. Relax. 21 There it was. The state of being that purportedly held the key 22 to her infinite happiness: relaxation. Except how exactly was she 23 supposed to kick up her feet and chill out when there were still 24 three more loads of laundry to be done? Not to mention dinner to 25 queue up for that e veningfor them and the boys. Because God 26 forbid everyone in the house should eat the same thing. Actually, 27 it would be remarkable if even two people ate the same thing. S28 Harper subsisted solely on a diet of peanut butter and jelly, fruit, N29 5 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 5 1/7/16 7:29 AM

6 Emily Liebert 01 and spaghetti with no sauce, while Hudsonwho was allergic to 02 peanut butterpreferred chicken, apples, and carrots at every 03 meal. Every meal, including breakfast. Henry was on a diet, which 04 hed been on since Nixon was in the White House, so he was off 05 carbs completely, save for the f amily-sized bags of Peanut M&Ms 06 he would devour after shed gone to sleep at night. And although 07 Annabel would have loved to shun bread, pasta, and rice for all 08 eternityperhaps then shed be able to zip up that black dress 09 shed found they were integral to both her sanity and her w ell- 10 being. 11 Right. Sure, Ill just do that. When does our slave arrive? Oh, 12 wait a m inuteshes here! And its me! Annabel laughed. Henry 13 did not. 14 Come on, stop it. No one thinks youre a slave, Henry 15 groused, focusing his attention on a pack of shiny, sleek cars whip- 16 ping around a track. It didnt make any sense to her. They were 17 driving. That was all. Fine, so it was really, really fast driving. But 18 where was the ball? The puck? The goal? There wasnt even a gritty 19 fistfight to flinch through. 20 Do you have any idea how much Ive already done today and 21 how much there still is to do before my parents bring the kids back 22 in a few hours? Because once that happened, the house would 23 turn into a circus. Quite literally. Okay, minus the live animals. 24 Though Hudson had been begging for three dogs. Annabel wasnt 25 sure why one wouldnt suffice, but he was pretty damn set on three. 26 And, in thinking about it, hey, maybe they could charge for spec- 27 tators. Come one! Come all! Front row seats to see the crazy show 28S at the Ford house! She could even be convinced to throw in some 29N microwave popcorn. 6 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 6 1/7/16 7:29 AM

7 Some Women I know, Annabel. You remind me every day. She didnt see 01 him roll his eyes, but was fairly certain he had. 02 I do not. Arms crossed. Affronted scowl. 03 Whatever you say. 04 Dont do that. 05 What? He sat up now, visibly riled. 06 Placate me. 07 How about this? Why dont you tell me what it will take for 08 you to be quiet and let me watch my race? 09 Dont tell me to be quiet! All Im trying to do is make sure 10 everything gets done. 11 I understand that, but does everything really have to be done 12 before ten in the morning? We have the whole day. 13 We do not have the whole day. Why didnt he see that? Didnt 14 he know that it was impossible to even complete a thought when 15 the kids were around? Maybe, just maybe, you could set aside 16 your race. And, waitheres a revolutionary idea: help out! 17 Help with what? Henry got up and tossed the remote onto the 18 couch, as if to indicate Now Im up. Im actually standing on my 19 own two feet. Im just that irritated. Ive also paused the all- 20 important race and thrown the remote. So, clearly, I mean business. 21 Everything. 22 Annabel, he exhaled dramatically. Unless you have some- 23 thing specific that needs to be done right now, please get off my 24 back for once. 25 For once. Well, you could start by making our bed. 26 Ill make it when I go up to take a shower. 27 Yes, of course. Why do now what you could do later? When S28 we both know Ill have done it already. N29 7 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 7 1/7/16 7:29 AM

8 Emily Liebert 01 For fucks sake. He stomped back up the stairs, and for the 02 next twenty minutes all she could hear was a lot of thumping about. 03 Honestly, it wasnt that hard to make the bed. 04 05 06 07 08 B y the time Henry made a reappearance, Annabel had shoveled down half a bagel with butter and was surprised to find him showered, dressed, and toting a large suitcase. Surprise vacation! 09 Maybe her parents were keeping the kids for another week while 10 they jetted off to Cabo San Lucas for fish tacos and margaritas. 11 She could already feel the warm breeze against her pallid skin and 12 imagine her auburn highlights brightening beneath the blazing sun. 13 Are you going somewhere? She arched an eyebrow, which 14 reminded her that she desperately needed to get them waxed. Hell, 15 if they were heading to the beach, shed throw in a bikini wax for 16 good measure. 17 Im leaving. He looked down at their m ahogany-stained hard- 18 wood floor. 19 Leaving for what? 20 Nothing, Annabel. Im just leaving, he said soberly, lifting 21 his gaze to meet hers. 22 You cant just run off for the night because youre annoyed 23 that I want you to help out more around here rather than loiter 24 about all day. 25 Its not just that. He shook his head. And its not just for the 26 night. 27 Excuse me? Instantly, she felt like her lungs had been pierced, 28S stifling her ability to take in air. 29N Youre a miserable person, and Ive had enough. 8 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 8 1/7/16 7:29 AM

9 Some Women Miserable? So, what? You want a divorce? The word hung 01 in the stagnant air like a marionette waiting for someone to coax 02 it to life. 03 He nodded somberly. 04 And youve packed all your things in the past half hour? Youve 05 just decided to destroy our life because you didnt want to make 06 the bed? Thats rich, Henry. Really rich. 07 Ive had the bag ready for some time. Knife. Heart. All man- 08 ner of blood and guts. 09 Some time? Was her throat closing up? Was this what it felt 10 like to be asphyxiated? Exactly how long is some time? 11 I dont know, Annabel. Five, maybe six months? 12 Six months! Youve been thinking about leaving me for half a 13 year? She shook her head frenetically. We had sex last night! 14 Fine, so their last romp had probably been around the time hed 15 packed his divorce bag, but still. She suddenly felt icky. Had he 16 been thinking about alternate accommodations as hed nibbled on 17 her nipples? 18 On some level. 19 This is ridiculous. Im sorry but this is...Its just ridiculous. 20 He inched toward the door, and panic set in. What about the 21 kids? 22 Ill call you later. Well figure everything out. He was calm. 23 Cool. Collected. Hed thought this through. Henry always thought 24 things through. Important things. 25 Wait. She lunged toward him. She wanted to pin him to the 26 ground with her bare hands. To tell him he had to stay. To tell 27 himthat they were a family. And that no family was happy all the S28 time. Marriages are work. Kids are tougher work. But they could N29 9 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 9 1/7/16 7:29 AM

10 Emily Liebert 01 work harder. She could work harder for all of them. Perhaps she 02 had been complaining too much lately. It was just that shed felt so 03 exhausted and alone in her attempt to keep everyones lives running 04 smoothly. Shed force herself to relax more. Yes, that was it. Forced 05 relaxation. Only none of those thoughts came out. Instead she said, 06 Are your brown slacks in that bag? 07 What? He furrowed his brow. 08 Theyve been missing for months. I thought maybe... 09 Jesus, Annabel. He shook his head disbelievingly. 10 Im just saying! Shed searched high and low for those brown 11 slacks. Why didnt he appreciate that? 12 Ill be in touch. Henry walked toward the door without so 13 much as a perfunctory kiss good-bye. Before leaving, he turned 14 toward her. He was changing his mind. She knew it. He was going 15 to sink his exhausted body back down into that sofa, put up his 16 feet, and settle into his comfortable life once more. And, Annabel, 17 please dont try to manage this the way you do everything else. My 18 mind is made up. 19 His mind was made up? What about her mind? Ten years of 20 marriage and, just like that, he was prepared to toss her in the trash 21 like a used tissue? 22 That was when it hit her. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Henry 23 was cheating. Because, honestly, why else would anyone leave 24 someone whod devoted her entire life to her family? Someone who 25 worked hard every day with the interests of her husband and chil- 26 dren at the forefront of her mind. 27 Suddenly Annabel had never been surer of anything in her life. 28S The only question was, who was he cheating with? 29N 10 9780451471888_SomeWomen_TX_p1-306.indd 10 1/7/16 7:29 AM

Load More