Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Story-Time Tuesday - Living Fiction

Jenny Matlock
If you missed where this story started just click here to read it or simply click on the Story-Time Tuesday link at the top of my blog to take you to previous chapters.

Living Fiction - Chapter 45

Here's where Chapter 44 left you.

“Exactly! You’ve so, so, so got the idea, Pearl! And start today.”

I hesitated. Sure this all sounded like it could work, but I was pretty tired out. And I really felt like I needed to plan this out a little more thoroughly, and…

“Pearl! Stop it! You can make excuses. You just have to do it. Don’t think so much about it. I’m not telling you to get a boob job or something…”

I spit the coffee I was just about to swallow out all over the table.

Boob job? I had to ask, “Millie, did you ummm…”

Millie easily deflected my question. “Boob job or not, now is the time, Pearl. Carpet diem!”

I started to say, “Millie, you mean carpe…not carpet diem,” but it was too late. Millie had rushed out the door.

Chuckling to myself, I turned to Jessie. Jessie didn’t look like she was finding any humor in the situation at all.

“Mom,” she said, “Do you think Millie might be right? Maybe we’ve both just been making excuses for our lives right now. I think I’m going to take Edgar and Princess for a walk. Do you have an extra leash?”

And now, Chapter 45 Continues.

So there I sat. Abandoned in my own kitchen. Jessie had taken both excited dogs for a walk. Who knows where Millie had disappeared to.

While I nibbled on the pecans I had scavenged off the top of the coffeecake, I thought about what Millie had said. Maybe she was right, but part of me felt pretty disloyal to my husband. The odd thing is, though, that the person I’d turned into after he died had never felt like me. Sure, I had my babbling, blundering, vague moments in the years of our marriage, but it wasn’t every waking moment of every blessed day. I don’t think so, anyway. And even though I’d never been a bra burning kind of woman, I hadn’t let my husband control every single aspect of my life. I don’t think I had, anyway. And my husband had never been one of those ‘cave men’ other women complained about. I don’t think he had been, anyway.

Honestly. I didn’t even know what I thought any more. Millie was right. It was time to just do something, anything to get out of this hell I’d been inhabiting for too long. It would be nice if someone would show me what the right ‘something’ was.

As I wondered who that ‘someone’ might be, Millie breezed back into the kitchen, arms laden with an overflowing laundry basket. In her absence, she’d repaired her mascara and reapplied her nuclear pink lipstick. She’d also taken a “Millie pill” because she was only in the door two seconds before she started, “Oh Pearl! I was just MORTIFIED when I saw myself in the mirror at home! I was so, so, so ashamed to see how horrible I looked. Even poor Myron looked surprised when I walked into the kitchen. So before I came back to help YOU, I had to take a moment to repair myself! And here I am! Voila! Now! Let’s get to work. Do you need to pee first?” She plunked the basket onto the kitchen table and looked at me impatiently.

Then Millie tapped me under my chin and said, “Close your mouth, Pearl! A fly is gonna get in there! If you don’t have to pee, let’s just get right to work!”

As she tapped her hands together in glee, I felt the first frisson of fear run down my spine.

Millie pushed me back into one of the kitchen chairs. She tipped her head to the right and then to the left. Then she made me stand up and move to another chair. “Better lighting here,” she said. “Better lighting for what?” I replied.

“Oh never you mind now. Just close your eyes and relax,” said Millie in a reassuring, peppy voice. I sensed resistance would be futile, so I just leaned back into the chair, closed my eyes, and sighed my consent.

Disregarding her instructions, I opened one eye at the sound of many objects being placed on the table. I tried hard to hide my reaction. “Pearl, Millie is trying to help,” I told myself. I think closing my eyes tightly again helped more than my inane little pep talk, though.

I felt Millie rubbing things onto my skin. I felt her wiping things off. I felt her doing something to my hair that involved funny scritch scratch noises and the aeresol ‘sssssssss’ sound and fragrance laden smell of two or three cans of hair spray. She tugged at the corners of my eyes. She told me to purse my lips for a kiss. She tapped her fingers on the bags under my eyes.

After some time went by, I heard Jessie come into the kitchen. The dogs lapped water…loudly. Jessie gave a short intake of breath, and then pulled out a chair.

I started to open my eyes.

“Ahhh…ahhhh…now Pearl, no, no, no…just keep your eyes closed. There’s nothing to be worried about, right Jessie?”

Jessie didn’t reply.

Millie tapped and patted some more. She fiddled with my shirt color. She pulled here and there on my hair and muttered something about ‘roots big enough to hold up an oak tree’.

After a few more minutes, she told me to open my eyes. My kitchen table looked like a clearance sale at a make-up warehouse.

“Not quite done here, Pearl. But now I so, so, so need you to just keep your eyes open for me while I finish up.”

I tried to catch Jessie in my pheripheral vision, but it was impossible.

Millie poked around my eyes a little bit and it felt like she was writing on my eyelids in number two pencil. I saw the mascara wand approach each eye not once, not twice, but three times each.

“Now make sure when you put your mascara on, Pearl, that you do the top of the lashes, too. That’s really important when eyelashes are as pathetic…ummm… I mean…as thin and delicate as yours are.”

Millie stepped back and looked me over.

Her mouth opened into a perfect little “o”. Jessie slid her chair back and joined her. She looked really surprised, too.

“Now,” said Millie decisively, “You are going to stay right there and I am going up to your closet to get you something to change into. I don’t want you to see the ‘after’ wearing that horrible, tacky … ummm… I mean comfortably worn bathrobe. Promise me you’ll stay right in the chair until I get back.”

“Yes, of course, Millie, I promise.”

She squinted her eyes and looked at me carefully and then she held out her pink taloned little finger.

“You know what, Pearl? I just don’t believe you. I want you to pinkie swear with me that you’ll sit in that chair until I find something for you to change into.”

Pinkie swear? Did she think we were in first grade? Seriously.

My pinkie hooked into hers and I agreed. “Pinkie swear, Millie. But hurry up! I can’t wait to wash all this goop off my face.”

Jessie gave me the evil eye. Something she’d been doing quite a bit of all morning.

“Okay, okay. I’m just going to sit here until you find something for me to wear.”

Millie must have given Jessie some kind of signal, because she grabbed a chair and sat down to guard me.

“Jess? Do I look ridiculous?”

Jessie didn’t answer.

“Jessie? C’mon. Just tell me how bad it is?”

“Mom, just be patient. Trust me. You are going to be…ummm… surprised.”

I heard some distant slamming coming from upstairs. I think I heard a few swear words, but I couldn’t be certain.

After what felt like an eternity had passed, Millie clomped back down the stairs with an armload of clothes.

“Pearl, your clothes are pathetic. Absolutely totally so, so, so pathetic. I would just go home and get an outfit for you to wear but you are so much fatte…I mean…more voluptuous than I am.”

She held up a hot pink sweater that I hadn’t worn in forever. “How about this?”

“Well, it’s awfully bright Millie and I think it kind of shows off my muffin tops a little too much and…”

“Muffin tops? What do you mean muffin tops?” Millie demanded.

“You know…muffin tops? Ummm… well… ummm… that bulge that kind of gets pushed up when you put your pants on and…”

“Muffin tops? You mean fat, Pearl? Seriously, girl. I can’t fix everything about you in one day.” She tossed a black bra at me along with the sweater. “Put these on…and no, you can’t go into the bathroom. We’ll just turn around.”

“Millie, first of all, where did you find this black bra? I never wear this. It is totally uncomfortable and pushes my…ummm…chest so high up I think I’m going to get black eyes if I come down the stairs too fast.”

Pearl gave me an icy look. “Put. It. On. Put these control top black underwear on. Put on this sweater. Wiggle your muffin tops into these slacks.”

I hesitated.

“Now!” Millie barked.

Now I understood why Myron always walked around looking slightly shell-shocked. Millie was like a drill sergeant with PMS.

“Fine. You’ll see how ridiculous I look,” I gritted out. “I am going into the living room to change. There are no mirrors in there so I can’t peak. This is ridiculous. And after I change and you both laugh at me, I want you to leave. Both of you. I’ve had enough of this. Really. I wanted your help and all I get is ridicule.”

I grabbed the clothes and flounced into the other room.

Checking to ensure the curtains were completely drawn, I pulled on the underwear. I hated those underwear. They felt like I had wrapped saran wrap around my stomach. I pulled on the pants. They were way too tight. I struggled to pull up the zipper. I felt like a sausage. I wanted to cry. I finally got the zipper up but when I tried to fasten the button, it popped off and flew across the room like a hostile little projectile. The bra felt even more uncomfortable. There was so much wire in that instrument of torture I could have made a fence for Edgar. I tugged and prompted my breasts up so they were encased in the black lace. Seriously. My boobs had not been that high up on my chest cavity since I was 16 years old. Just as I was getting ready to put the hot pink sweater over my head, Millie ran into the room. “No, no, no! Let me help,” she cried, “You’ll mess up your hair!”

Before I could even be embarrassed, she had stretched the neckline on the sweater and inched it down over my hair and make-up.

She held each arm opening up like I was a small child, and I slid my arms through obediently.

After tugging at the hem of the sweater I looked up to see Millie’s face. She had an expression I could not identify. After a moments silence she bellowed, “Jessie, come see for yourself!”

Jessie popped around the corner immediately. Her eyes grew wide. “Oh Mom,” she said, “Oh, Mom.”

To be continued on Tuesday, August 2.

(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
This publication is the exclusive property of Jennifer R. Matlock and is protected
under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Jennifer R. Matlock. All rights reserved.

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People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

This is hilarious! "...like a hostile little projectile"......Every week you make us feel like we're in the room with Pearl.

I can't wait to see next week and Jessie's reaction....and Pearl's reaction.

Julie Kwiatkowski Schuler said...

It hurts to look beautiful! Hope this gives Pearl a new perspective.
You'll probably want to edit "She fiddled with my shirt color." and change it to collar. Unless Millie is magical!

Jeanie said...

Va va voom! I can't wait for Pearl to see herself.

Viki said...

I know she'll look beautiful. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Susan Anderson said...

Looking forward to next week...


Anonymous said...

Oh, how exciting. I can't wait to see what Pearl is going to think of her make-over. Millie gets things done that is for sure. Can't make up my mind if I would want her for a neighbor or not. lol Hugs

Ames said...

Well dangit...I want to see too! You better be real visual on next week's installment!!!

I love those kind of make-overs. I eventually end up looking like a clown with a lot of make up but it always feels so good to have someone else makes you over.

My daughter lets her boys draw tatoos on her back with ink pens. It scrubs off but she said it feels so good and they are really talented on some of her temporary tats.
Great installment this week Jenny! Looking forward to next week!♥~Ames

Ms. A said...

Tuesdays always seem to drag when I'm waiting for the next installment! I'm so, so, so loving this!

The Words Crafter said...

This.....is gonna be GOOD!!!!!