Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day
THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE
“Can you stay after rehearsal? I need to chat with you a minute,” she said. I sat on the floor of the dance studio against the wall, waiting for Risa, my salsa teacher to join me. “What’s going on, Vicki Marie? You’ve got no meat—you’re all bones.” I’d been hearing that a lot. “You’re not eating, are you?”
“No, no it’s just my metabolism. Everything burns right through me. I’m fine, really. I know I’ve lost a little—but I’m OK. A little sad, but I’m OK—I’m eating.”
“I know the divorce has been hard on you. But, I’m worried—and selfish. There’s nothing sexy about a salsa dancing skeleton.” She put her arms around me. “Eat, chica. Eat. We need you healthy.”
Everyone assumed my busted marriage was to blame for my shrinking body. And it was true; leaving Jon had been traumatic in ways I could never have imagined. Because I was so independent, I didn’t understood how deeply I had needed him to feel whole. And then there was the guilt. I was ravaged by shame. I could not forgive myself for that final betrayal: the breaking of our vows.
Looking back, I can see that the only consistent source of nutrition in those days was the cream in my coffee. But at the time I was blind to what others saw. After all, people were always telling skinny girls to eat. And besides, I didn’t see how I could have lost any weight since there were so many calories in gin. In reality, the blues that conspired to leach inches off my frame and drive despair through my veins had found a fresh source. The stars had uncrossed and the fairy tale had been relegated to fraud; Toni had left me. Her promise of forever had lasted a whopping one hundred and seventeen days.
I was driving south on the interstate when I called her, and she destroyed what was left of my heart. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I just don’t feel the same.” “I don’t understand.” My confusion was absolute. “What are you saying?” “I’m sorry, Vic. I’m really sorry.” Shock swelled my brain. She didn’t sound sorry. She didn’t sound like the woman I knew. “No. No!” You’re not making sense! You can’t do this!” Panic consumed me. We’d been in Paris just that past month. There was no way she didn’t love me. I knew she did. I yelled into the phone, desperate for her to take it back, insisting that she remember what was true.
“You said you were going to love me forever! You always say it. You said it when you were here last weekend!” I pounded the line with questions; I had to know what had happened. Had she met someone else? Was it something I had done? When could we get together, I demanded, when could we get together and figure this out? There was nothing to figure out, she informed me, calm against my hysteria. She just felt different. She said it again andagain, failing to give me anything I would ever understand.
“What about our friendship?” I finally begged, when all hope had drained from my heart, leaving only dread in its place. I could not imagine life without her. She was like family. We’d been friends forever. “I know it’s messed up. I can’t explain it. I can’t be your friend. I can’t see you again.”
TOMORROW: Chapter 9
Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.