“Dead Mothers’ Club” (a preview)

“Dead Mothers’ Club” (a preview)

CHAPTER ONE:  LAST WEDNESDAY

Maura’s alarm was set for 6 a.m., but her bladder went off at 5:28. Determined not to disturb her husband and the cat, she slipped silently out of bed.

No, slipped wasn’t the word.

Slipped sounds like a ballerina floating between rippling waves of satin to the accompaniment of flutes and violins. Maura Quarrels scooched and twisted and wrenched herself off the posturepedic, inch by awkward inch, trying not to drag the bamboo sheets with her. Her stiff joints crunched and ground. Her muscles and tendons stretched and snapped. Only the intensity of her desire for a little privacy in the bathroom kept a groan from escaping her clenched jaws. Back bent and feet wobbling like they’d forgotten how to support her, Maura made her way across the sculptured champagne Berber and hobbled into the bathroom. Middle age sucks.

Washing her hands a few minutes later, she looked up and caught her reflection in the mirror. Bad mistake. Face like a bag of red potatoes, hair smashed on one side and sticking up on the other, and her body…

Maura straightened her spine and pulled her shoulders up and back to lift her breasts. Yeah, never mind.

Then she yanked a brush through the flat side of her hair. A sharp twinge stabbed her back, shot through her shoulder, and sucked the air out of her lungs. What’s happen–oh, of course. She had used Hart’s treadmill yesterday for the first time in… well, never mind, she’d obviously overdone it. Or maybe she was getting some bug that was going around. Some bug was always going around, especially when you had kids in school.

Maura slunk away from the mirror, through the bathroom door, past Hart—the cat had disappeared—and eased quietly down the hall toward the stairs. As she passed the kids’ bedrooms, she was reminded of what she would face in less than 30 minutes, this being Wednesday.

Hart had his weekly status and team meetings on Wednesday mornings, so he had to leave on time. Alex had early morning swim practice on Wednesday, and Hart could drop him off at the pool entrance at the middle school if Alex was ready on time, but Alex was never ready on time because he could never find his swimming stuff. Maura reminded him every Tuesday night to gather it up, and every Tuesday night, he ignored her advice.

And then there was Leah. On Wednesdays, she had to bring her cello to the high school for orchestra practice. No way was she going to ride the school bus with a bunch of dweebs and a cello. She only rode the school bus on non-cello days because, unlike normal parents, hers were too cheap to buy her a car and wouldn’t let her ride with her friends. So on orchestra practice days, her mother drove her to the high school and sat in the creeping car pool lane, listening to a rousing chorus of, “You wouldn’t have to drive me if you’d buy me a car.”

As for Hart, if his son was ready to go, and if he could find his wallet, phone, and brief case, Hart would storm through the house looking for his car keys, which he seemed unable to hang on the large key-shaped hook, emblazoned with the word KEYS, which Maura had mounted on the wall. For keys. His voice always took on that I-work-my-ass-off-so-you-can-stay-home-all-day-so-can’t-you-at-least-keep-track-of-my-stuff tone, which Maura purely hated.

Post comments, and I’ll do more of this now and then.
Unless you say bad things about it, and then I WON’T. So there.


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