THE END...OR THE BEGINNING...
JUST A SHORT STORY ON LIFE...BY b. Malin
She had to look good today she thought to herself, as she gazed at her reflection in the free standing mirror by her bedroom window. She took her eyes off her reflection to let them wonder about her new surroundings. She had moved into her new apartment. Her first apartment, three weeks ago, and was already pleased with the results of her efforts, for it was starting to feel like home...her home.
"I love this place", she said out loud as she studied her features in the mirror. She stood back and straightened the two piece outfit that she had chosen, which was a pair of black slacks, and white long sleeved blouse. She evaluated herself. The figure looked good, no great...that she admitted proudly. But her face looked tired and a bit strained. More blush, that will do the trick, she thought to herself, as she reached for her make up bag. Now having done that, she decided on a bit more mascara to her beautiful hazel eyes. Once again she stared at her reflection. Passable now, she signed to herself. Well how was one supposed to look on the day of her "legal separation"?
She still couldn't believe all that had happened to her since she had moved to Baltimore, as a much married woman just seven short months ago. The whole situation had seemed like a nightmare that was finally coming to an end. So many unanswered questions in her mind...like when did Derek stop loving her? She'd thought that they would be together forever. And forever had been for twenty years...and now, days before their wedding anniversary, they were separating.
She thought back to last May, when they had passionately kissed good by, for he was leaving for Baltimore to head the new Sporting Goods Chain that his company owned. She was left to close on the house in Connecticut, and then join him in July, for the closing of their new "dream house" in Baltimore. She wondered when she knew...when things just didn't seem right. Was it when she picked him up at the airport to take him to the "going away party" that their close friends were throwing for them at Momma Mia's Restaurant? Friends had thought that he had acted strange, not himself that night. But she'd brushed it off, made excuses, he was tired. But that night they had made love, after he turned away and fell into a deep slumber. She remembered that she couldn't sleep. Her mind drifted...he'd called her every night, and told her how much he missed and loved her. And that he was keeping busy, going out with the guys etc. It had all sounded so normal and so innocent...So when dear God, when did our lives become so altered? When was my fate decided? When did I become the loser, and she the winner? And now was she enjoying her victory? She remembered how she had cried softly to herself until she had fallen asleep.
Now she was off to see the lawyers to draw up the papers, all the legal aspects, how monies would be divided. How their marriage would be divided.. The house, the dream house had been sold. They just had to sign the papers and legally they would be separated for a year and then the divorce would be granted. Her mind took her back to the summer, that horrible time of living in that house, that had turned into a nightmare for her. After the first week, she had begun to ask Derek what was wrong...He had been so cold and distant...But he had no answers, there were no answers.
It was tense in the lawyers office. The four of them sat at a square table. Derek and his lawyer on one side, and she with her lawyer, opposite them. She found herself staring at Derek as the lawyers spoke their legal jargon, occasionally laughing with one another, having their own private lawyer moments. Suddenly Derek looked like he wanted to cry, his eyes held tears. She hadn't seen him in a few months. For a Happy Man, he looked so solemn...and yes those were tears in his eyes...no, she thought it must be the lights playing tricks. Damn him, why is he doing this? You don't want me, she thought to herself, as she remembered him telling her, oh so cruelly, he wanted to be married...just not to her. So who was the sympathy show for, the lawyers?
Finally to her relief it was drawing to an end. She and Derek each received a copy of the Settlement Agreement, which they both quickly signed, neither looking at the other. And then it was all over...and they went their separate ways. As she left the building, the snow was coming down, it was the day before Christmas. She smiled as she threw a few coins in the Salvation Army Pot. "Where can I buy a tree"? She asked. "Just down the block, Miss," he said pointing in that direction. She smiled and said "Thanks" as she headed down the block alone, to buy her first Christmas tree to put in her new home...The many of "firsts" she would do alone. But she had hope, and she knew her future would be bright, and there would be lots of new beginnings as well.