Bereft - Jennifer Foor

Chapter 1


The mirror doesn’t lie. What I’m seeing really are wrinkles. I have crow’s feet in the corner of my eyes, and when I’m not smiling I swear it appears as if I’m giving someone a resting-bitch face. What happened to my perfectly smooth complexion? Since when did I actually start looking my age? I hated being in my thirties – hated it. Since when did they stop carding me when I went to buy a bottle of wine?

This device my daughter had given me for Christmas made me want to reconsider walking outside at all. Who wants to see every single pore on their skin magnified to one-hundred? I wondered if she was secretly sitting at her dorm laughing, because she knew I was discovering things about myself that were terrifying.

At least I still had long, dark brown flowing hair, good health, and a handsome husband who continued to put up with me. It made it easier to appreciate my youth was now a thing of the past, even though I didn’t consider myself to be old, just halfway there.

Usually mornings were easy for me. I’d get up, brew some fresh coffee for my husband, Grayson and I, and then proceed to get ready for work. From there, I’d drive to the train station, take the ride to D.C., walk six blocks to the office, and finally change into my fashionable pumps. The hustle and bustle of my job had paid off for my family. With my husband and I both working, we were able to pay for our daughter, well his daughter and my step-child, to attend a reputable college. We’d been empty nesters for over a year, and though lonely at times, Grayson and I enjoyed having our weekends to do what we wanted, because during the week we were both too busy, like passing ships in the night.

For nearly thirty years my husband had worked for an international shipping company, the one with the big brown trucks. He’d gone from delivery to upper management. While his positions changed, so did the hours. Where he’d been a six a.m. to three p.m. employee, had now changed to four twelve hour shifts. Each day he’d go in at nine, and he wouldn’t get home until nine that evening, or a little after. I suppose he liked it, though it took me a while to get used to.

Lately, I hadn’t seen much of him. When he was coming in the door, I was already in bed. Conversations were non-existent. While I normally rushed to get ready in the mornings, he was preoccupied with the sport’s network. He would try to wake me up for sex, but I wasn’t interested. Women need beauty rest – me especially.

I should have been happy about being younger than him, like I’d always be the trophy wife to my handsome silver fox. I felt like that’s how he saw me, and us as a couple. We’d met years ago, back when he was going through a divorce. His ex-wife had been crazy – and I mean that in the nicest way possible. She was insane – clinically diagnosed with multiple personality disorder as well as being bi-polar. She’d been in an institution for years before committing suicide. It was a hard adjustment after it happened, testing not only my relationship with Stephanie, but also my commitment to her father.

They mourned, each in their own ways. I watched them fall apart, and did my best to bring them back from their lowest of times. I’d taken over as mother and caregiver for their daughter, without ever considering Grayson’s opinion. She needed a female in her life, and even though I never overstepped, I wanted her to know she had someone there for her.

For me it was different. I bonded with the child immediately, even before the death of her mother. As far as I was concerned, she was my flesh and blood. I’d lay down my life for that girl in a heartbeat if I had to. She’d brought me so much joy in my life when I didn’t even know I was looking for it.

Stephanie was a grown woman now. She was making her own adult decisions, as well as attending college and living on campus. Grayson and I were very proud of our girl.

Once we were married, things got easier. We had routines, and I suppose they worked for us. When you get to our age, mid-thirties for me, late forties for him, you’re