Also- four more classes until I'm officially a WSU graduate :D *dances*
By Stephani Duff
Lydia looked at her reflection in the small mirror on her vanity. She couldn’t quite believe he’d done it again. She brushed her finger lightly over the tender, purple skin under her eye; he’d never hit her in the face before.
It had started shortly after their honeymoon – a firm grasp of her wrist, a harsh look of warning, and then it quickly escalated. Stinging slaps and hard shoves left her skin feeling the cold heat of his rage and muscles feeling the fatigue of a nonexistent work out. The triggers were not easily pinned and his mood changed swiftly; from a calm breeze to a tornado-like force. Today it had been due to dinner not being on the table when he arrived; it was almost finished, but he never gave her the opportunity to say so. Now she was here, reviewing his handiwork and he was gone – leaving as quickly as his fury came and went.
She slid her large, Jackie O sunglasses delicately over her nose as she heard his cell phone ding with the familiar sound of an incoming text. She was surprised he had left without his precious lifeline. She walked gently down the stairs and picked up his Blackberry.
Hey, you. Tonight – 6 o’clock?
She glanced up at the name on the incoming text. Lola. She didn’t know of any associates of his with the name of Lola. Another text came in while she stared down at the screen.
Let’s meet for dinner at La Piazza first . . .
She took a deep breath and typed quickly before she lost her nerve.
Yeah – 6 sounds great. See you then.
She was done being a punching bag.
Lola was pretty; she was young, she was put together, she wasn’t bruised. Lydia took a deep breath as she walked towards the table the hostess had pointed out. She took her glasses off and cleared her throat as she approached the table; Lola looked up at her with a confused, but polite, smile on her face. She pulled out a chair and sat down; she was going to need to be comfortable when she informed her husband’s mistress that he was a liar, a cheat, and an abuser. She needed to be comfortable when she informed her husband’s mistress what a monster he actually was.
It was a beautiful, clear day. The sun was shining warmly and the wind was blowing lightly enough to keep her from sweating but not so windy to mess up her hair once it was perfectly curled. She stood in front of the mirror of her bathroom, wiping the steam left over from her shower off with her hand. She stepped back and examined her damp, naked body in front of the full length mirror; the bruise under her eye had faded to a light green that was easily covered with concealer and her arms and legs were free of the marks of his hands. It occurred to her how long it had been since her skin looked this flawless, this untouched.
She stood in front of her closet and ran her hand along the sleeves and various fabrics of all her clothing. She flipped the light on within the closet and glanced over at the side that once belonged to him. All his finely pressed white dress shirts were gone, his leather loafers were no longer lined up on the floor, and his expensive, black suit was no longer hanging in the far right corner in its zip up bag.
She selected a black, V-neck dress that was snug, with three quarter length sleeves; she had purchased it years ago - the tags were still attached. He would have never allowed her to wear this out for anyone to see her in it. Good thing she didn’t have to worry about that anymore. She clipped the tags off quickly and hung the dress from the molding above her bathroom door. She carefully put on black panties and a matching black bra; she couldn’t remember the last time she had taken such care in getting ready for a day. After slipping the slimming dress over her head she stepped in front of the mirror and got out her best make-up products.
After applying thick coats of mascara and brushing blush over her cheekbones she thought back to how he was before he revealed who he really was. He had loved her cheekbones; made continual comments about how impossibly high and lovely they were. On their honeymoon he had been insistent about applying sunscreen to her face and freckled shoulders – preventative measures, he had called them.
She snorted as she pulled out her favorite red lipstick and applied it to her puckered lips. She finished curling her hair and ran her fingers through it to loosen the curls before pinning the delicate black veil in front of her green eyes. He had loved her eyes too; always talking about those exotic green eyes.
As she stood in front of the full length mirror one last time she heard a honk from outside. She grabbed her small, black clutch and walked out, locking the door behind her. The black Cadillac shone sparkling in the sun as the driver held open the back door for her. Once they were both inside, the driver turned the car around and headed toward the outside of town.
She saw the small green tent before she could see the line of cars parked around the headstones. A line of shiny, black, expensive cars were parked in the gravel lane as men in well pressed suits and women in well made dresses formed around the small tent. As she got out of the car the quiet whispers ceased and an associate of Michael’s escorted her to the front row seat set up for the new widower.
As she carefully crossed her legs the horse drawn carriage came up the gravel path with the deceased man within it. She clasped her hands together and adjusted the sunglasses on her face as the pastor made his way to the front of the crowd. She spotted the woman to the right of her and quickly looked away.
The pastor spoke of all the hard work Michael had done in his short amount of years. He mentioned the numerous foundations he and his brother had set up and helped to become successful. She was mentioned, briefly, in the pastor’s speech – how she was a loving and devoted wife and that the Lord would be the one to see her through this tough time. Shortly after, his brother stood up to speak; he spoke of their friendship, their childhood memories, their business plans and dreams that would now be unfinished. He talked about Michael in a way that led to enshrinement; he got choked up and gave Lydia a quick hug before taking his seat again.
As the pastor led the group in a prayer she stood up slowly and tossed a rose down on the dark wood of the casket and stood there for a quiet moment. As the line of mourners wormed their way around the casket, lightly touching her shoulder, her back, whispering condolences - she lowered her head and took a deep breath. Everyone around her quickly wiped stray tears from their eyes; quietly blew their noses into soft, white tissues.
The crowd thinned until it was just Lydia, the pastor, Michael’s family, and another woman in a tight, black dress. His brother came over to her, whispering his apologies, telling her to call if she needed anything, questioning whether she should stay alone that night or not. She didn’t speak, only shook her head and smiled politely. The man driving the shiny, black Cadillac came to her and escorted her to the car; as she went to lower herself into it she looked up and saw the woman one last time.
Lola was standing just across the gravel path from where she stood; her thick auburn hair fell around her shoulders and her dark sunglasses hid her eyes from Lydia. Her pale skin looked creamy against the form fitting black dress and her thin, red lips stayed in a straight line. To any onlooker they were merely two different women who knew the same man. Lola began to walk away when Lydia lowered her sunglasses slightly on the bridge of her nose. Lola mirrored her action and the two women each shared a silent moment, eyebrows raised.
Each woman got in her respective black Cadillac. The sun was setting over the quiet cemetery as each car pulled out – one turned right, the other left.