Marital Bitch (Men with Badges) - By Jc Emery

I BLINK BACK the exhaustion that has been creeping up on me for hours now, ever since the gang arrived at my condo this morning. I can’t bring myself to look in the mirror behind me above the sinks. The airport bathrooms here at Logan International are a little too new and a little too well lit. Nobody, with the exception of my sister-in-law, Darla, looks good in that lighting. I resolve to nap on the plane, and do my best to keep my spirits high despite our flight delay.

I can’t even think of that now. All I can think about is the fact that I’m missing work for this. I rub my eyes thinking over how it’s not a great time to be out of the office. I can almost feel the markings of age on my face: wrinkles and crow’s feet. I remember when the lines around my eyes first showed up a few years back. They were a charming feature that added a little wisdom to my face. Now I can barely see me behind all of the lines.

Sometimes, I think I’m too young to feel so old, so tired. And sometimes, I think the loneliness is making it all that much worse. My job doesn’t help, I know that. Life as an insurance defense attorney comes with long hours, and it shows. My blonde hair is lifeless with only the tiniest glimmer to it. Unfortunately, that glimmer is coming in gray. My green eyes have lost their luster. I’m rundown and worn out. For a moment I think that something has to change. I can’t continue to keep these hours. But then I reason with myself—the hours and the job are just perfect. I don’t need a break; I need more hours in the day and more coffee in my cup.

A yawn escapes me. I’m reminded that I’m still at Logan, and we haven’t even left Boston yet. I’m annoying myself with my whiny internal monologue. I’m being a crabby bitch who ought to be paid no mind. I don’t like my birthday, especially this birthday.

Thirty-five, I’m thirty-five.

“Colleen,” I glance at Darla, my sister-in-law. She stands to my right, powdering her nose. This is the first time I’ve seen her powder anything aside from a kid’s butt in God-only-knows how long. Darla stands at five-foot-nine and has some amazing curves, despite being the mother to three rowdy children. My curves are not-so-amazing and I don’t even have the excuse of childbirth. In short, I’m jealous of the bitch.

Her voice is soft and strained. “This is for your birthday,” she continues, “Try to act like you’re enjoying yourself, will ya?” She doesn’t sound like my Darla, and that makes me nervous.

I smile through a stifled yawn. “I’m sorry. I really am.” I’m partially sincere at least, though not enough to convince Lindsay, our other traveling companion. Lindsay stands just under five-foot-four and is slightly rounded on the bottom. Peeking her head around Darla’s busty form, Lindsay makes a face at me in silent agreement with Darla: I’m being crabby and I shouldn’t be.

I do my best to ignore her and focus on Darla, who is pleading with me with her eyes. This trip may be for my birthday, but this will be the first time she has gotten away from her kids in over a year. My nephews and niece are the coolest kids I know, not that I know any other kids, but after a couple hours babysitting, I’m worn out. Auntie Colleen can only keep up for so long. I know how valuable this kid-free time is for her, and I don’t want to be a jackass and ruin it. I quickly blot my face with a dampened paper towel and grin at my girls. Lindsay and Darla planned this trip for our entire group for my birthday, I remind myself.

“Okay, ladies,” I say, still grinning like a maniac, “If we’re going to be stuck in this airport, we should at least be drinking!” Lindsay and Darla both wear happy smiles at my change of mood. Lindsay, the petite little thing with unmistakable Black Irish features, zooms past me and shimmies towards the exit. Darla, now all perky, follows suit, shaking her voluptuous curves along the way. I do my best shimmy and bring up the rear of our impromptu conga line, exiting the ladies room, now determined to enjoy my birthday.

We saunter ourselves to the seating area of Gate 15, seeking out the male half