Empty Arms: For the Seemingly Barren Woman

Months ago, the dynamic and resourceful “Ezzy” – Esbeth Callendar-Braithwaite reached out to me saying, “I will like to self-publish my book, how do i go about doing it?”

Her book Empty Arms: for the Seemingly Barren Woman, a real life account of the life -straddling thought process of a Caribbean woman and her husband who wished to adopt a baby and comes away with seemingly ’empty arms’ was a bold topic. After reading the book i realized that this request wasn’t just about publishing, Ezzy opened her soul as she wrote, which in no doubt helped her to heal, and now she wanted other women to know that they were not alone.

This book of faith, this labour of love, whatever you called it, was more than just words.

Self publishing is a complicated, crazy yet fulfilling road so i outlined everything and still she wasn’t deterred, so i jumped in. If she wanted to do it, then it would get done.

Initially, i worked on formatting and cover design, Esbeth already had a pretty good idea of what she wanted, from the type of image on the cover down to the fonts and colors so it was really about just listening to her vision and delivering it. By the end of the following month she had artwork in hand. It took a few more months for her to get everything lined up and soon enough she was emailing me asking me to send artwork to printers.

The book is already on kindle and is now part of Caribbean Book’s catalog – Check it out!Empty Arms

I congratulate Ezzy for her dedication, and look forward to seeing the book in print very soon.

Marsha

“I will decide, who i will become.”

www.caribbeanbooks.org and www.marshagomes.com

 

 

 

 

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The Thick of Things By JL Campbell

The Thick of Things by JL Campbell is a must read, here’s why!

Synopsis

GENRE: women’s fiction with romantic elements, contemporary romance

BLURB: Life has a way of going awry when you least expect it, and Khalila Skyers learns this lesson the hard way. In one devastating blow after another, she loses her cosy existence. Then Douglas Blythe overtakes her life like a flood, and she’s not equipped to deal with an attraction that seems forbidden and overwhelming. But her body and heart want what they want, and leave her wondering if she ever knew herself at all.  

Douglas is determined to help Khalila move beyond her obsession with the past and reach for love a second time. No matter how long it takes. No matter the distance. He’s going to prove he’s worth the risk. 

Excerpt – The Thick of Things

I was a little of everything—embarrassed, confused, speechless. How could he be so sure I was what he wanted? No matter what he thought, I had too much going on to be adding a relationship to the list.

“What are you afraid of, Khalila?”

My name on his tongue was a caress that scattered my thoughts.

“It’s not that I’m afraid of anything.” I pulled my hand out of his and drank the rest of the water while gathering my thoughts. “My divorce isn’t final yet and…” My mind settled on Amir, who I didn’t want to think about now. Softly, I sighed. “It’s too early to be thinking about a relationship with anybody.”

“We’ve gone way past the point of thinking about what’s happening between us. I’m not asking you to marry me, but I’m interested in you.” His voice softened and I had to concentrate to hear his words. “Give me the chance to show you that what we did wasn’t only about sex.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I held my silence.

His gaze was analytical and he didn’t seem to expect a response. The longer he looked at me, the more my heart rate accelerated. It was ridiculous that at my age any man could get this kind of response from me.

“I hope that wasn’t all it was for you,” he said.

It took me a few seconds to catch up with him, but I didn’t answer. I was too busy trying not to squirm at the image of him on top of me in his bed.

After reading his watch, Douglas smiled. Why, I didn’t know, but it was a genuine gesture that made me want to respond in the same way.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

Nodding, I got out of my seat.

Douglas didn’t crowd me, but let me walk ahead of him. As I wove through the tables, I greeted a few members of the working team, who would also be leaving the hotel today.

Once we were out of the restaurant, Douglas touched my arm and directed me toward the elevator.

“Aren’t you leaving today?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m just making sure you get to where you’re going.”

Putting a smile in my voice, I said, “I’m not likely to get lost on my way upstairs.”

“I didn’t think so.” He laughed and eased both hands into the pockets of his shorts. “I’m simply doing what any decent man would do.”

My cheeky grin conveyed gratefulness and understanding. “Carry on, then.”

He nodded and in silence, we walked to the elevator. When it was a few floors away, he faced me. “I want to ask one favor of you.”

“What’s that?”

“Answer your phone when I call, okay?”

He stepped in close, kissed my cheek and then brushed his lips across mine.

I sucked in my breath and opened my mouth, wanting more of him, but he stepped back.

The elevator opened and he urged me forward with a gentle hand to my back.

I walked inside, asking myself what kind of game Douglas was playing. Why would he start something he couldn’t finish, not to mention leave me hot and bothered?

As the doors closed, our gazes locked and I swore that man knew exactly what he was doing and the state he’d left me in.

You need to buy this book, get a warm cup of something and just relax and read …

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Thick-Things-Media-Res-Book-ebook/dp/B07B7B8JY2

B & N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-thick-of-things-jl-campbell/1128105800?ean=2940159080509

iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book//the-thick-of-things/id1353238245?l=en&mt=11&at=

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-thick-of-things

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Thick-Things-Media-Res-Book-ebook/dp/B07B7B8JY2

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thick-Things-Media-Res-Book-ebook/dp/B07B7B8JY2

JL Campbell Author 

Review of Kidnap

I ran across the Halle Berry movie Kidnap on the #Firestick that i wanted to see for a while but life kept getting in the way.  Let me tell you how it went. Yes, why didn’t she take her son with her when she got the call. Why wasn’t her eyes on him, all the time, she was close enough to see him but she turned around. It’s a dumb mistake but we know he has to be kidnapped so i let it go.  I’m quarter way through the show and it’s not what i expected. The initial chase is weird, why didn’t she run over these people when she got a chance.  Why didn’t she ram the vehicle early on, on the highway.

Geezanages, i’m screaming “the kidnappers just got out their car and walked towards yours and they are still alive.”

Ok, so the show is kidnap, i remind myself again so i know most of the show he has to be kidnapped but i am halfway through now, wanting to switch it off until the mama rage kicks in. I love the mama rage which stays true until the end. #mamarage

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I would watch it again, not for a while though but it passed my show-meter.  #HalleBerry gave a realistic performance, the writing drags a bit but it ends well.  Every mother i know will go the distance #mamarage, it’s hard to watch a child being kidnapped on film, to even live it in your imagination breaks your heart.

Overall it was a good watch.

 

 

 

10 Tips for the Average Joe on working with a Small Construction Company

So you are taking the plunge and building your own home. You’ve finally decided to go ahead with those improvements to your home or office. Before you dip into your pocket think about these ten things.

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  1. You are the Project Manager

When you decide to build a house or complete any type of renovations on your property with your hard earned money or loan please remember that you are the Project Manager. This is extremely important. Private individuals without fraud insurance handing over large sums of cash to any construction company to complete their work is not advised. You or a member of your family must dedicate time to working with this company on a daily/weekly basis to get your job done.

Do not relinquish your hold on your resources! Always ask questions so you can make decisions in your favor.      

  1. Get an agreement.

Before you pay you need to sign and get a copy of a contract which includes what you are paying for and when to expect it. It should also outline who is your contact at the company and the fact that you need to be consulted for approval at agreed stages of the project. Always refer to and keep to this contract, changes to the contract should be re-negotiation and a new contract/addendum be presented in writing.

Save your paperwork, paperwork is king. 

  1. Ask for a detailed project projection

If your project is going to last three months or more or even less you should know what the weekly deliverables are. Deliverables should always be attached to payment. These should be written down and attached to your contractual agreement.

A contractor who gets paid when he delivers has an extra incentive to deliver. 

  1. Ask for a detailed estimate

Many people begin a project with a summary of resources and deliverables over an agreed time-period however you must also get a detailed estimate, which should include:

  1. Cost of management of the project
  2. Wage projection for the period, which clearly lists the number of workers on the project, their expected number of hours and their salary over the period. Every single person that is to be paid goes on this list, so you can calculate your weekly wage bill.
  3. An estimate of materials – each item listed as needed should have a cost attached. Once you have the time, you should review your materials list and purchase items yourself; feel free to ask your company representative to recommend the places to purchase items or give you advice on the selections or even come with you. Some items e.g. tiles, toilets sets, external brick design really need your personal touch and should be done in collaboration with the company.

It’s your money; ask how it is being spent and don’t be afraid to spend it.

  1. Ask for receipts

Never relinquish money unless you have a corresponding signed and/or stamped (company stamped) document that can be held up in court.

Make sure you can account for every transaction.

 Ask about payment options

This is where your detailed estimate comes in handy, at a glance you can see the actual spend needed to complete the project. So let’s say you have been presented that in three months the project will be completed and the deliverable will be met at the cost of $50,000.

Option 1 – Pay the full fee upfront – Never take this option.

Option 2 – Pay a down payment and complete payment in three/four equal parts – this is acceptable once it is hinged on deliverables and not just random dates.

Option 3 – Discuss payments options: You don’t have to break the bank and can ask for a fluid contract where you pay as the project moves along.

For example you can agree to pay:  

  • Cost of management of the project: in equal parts, again this should be on deliverables
  • Wage projection for the period: Since you know the wage bill you can make a two weeks deposit and agree to keep that ratio constant, always two weeks in advance.
  • Materials: This is an area where you can order your own materials to keep your materials bill down.
  1. Negotiate for better deadlines if you need it.

Always ask if it can be done faster, contractors give themselves more time than needed. If time is an issue, say. Don’t just hope for the best. If you need to move into the house by Christmas, they may think giving you the keys Christmas Eve is ideal when you really want it a week before.

Be precise with deadlines, speak dates and time and send them a follow-up email confirming what was discussed so you have it in writing.  

  1. Visit the site regularly

Keep checking on those deliverables and speak up if an item promised in week 1 isn’t on schedule. Ask how is this going to affect the end of the project? A contractor who knows you’ll notice if something is off will try harder to make sure nothing goes wrong.

I never forgot my father saying, you have to finish this week. If you don’t, you pay yourself to finish it next week.

  1. Include an exit clause

Your contract should include a way to get out of it. The project may not work out to be what you expected and you may need to get your money back and move on.

Hope for the best but plan for the worst.

  1. Promise a good a bad report after the job is completed.

My granddad did his house in parts and he would say well if you do the extra room okay I will see about giving you the driveway. Test the waters. You’ve met someone new, with a good track record but you still need to test out their work ethic. Hire them to do part of the job and watch the results.

Let people prove themselves; stop taking everyone’s word on faith.

You may say this is too much for a small contractor but you know what, governments and public agencies ask for so much more and these same companies fill out the paper work because they want the job. These same companies start government’s jobs with no down payment while using your money to fund both jobs.

People will respect you when you respect yourself, your money and your ideas.

If you are thinking about starting a construction project in Trinidad or Tobago, reach out to MasFab Construction Services, they will be there with you from foundation to finish.

Email: masfabconstruction@gmail.com

Facebook: MasFab Construction Services

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Lightning Fire: The Blue Moon’s Calling – 2 day free download

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Five star review:

“Oh for the love of Green eyes, strong chests and bare-chested shirts!!!!! This book has paranormal, werewolves, fairies, magic, sex, and more sex and a lot of sensual romance……… oh I am melting!!!! Thank you Ms Gomes-Mckie for sharing this amazing story with us, the readers!”

Synopsis: Almost 200 years ago the Fairy world turned to the Lycans for protection after a deadly vampire attack took away their flying magic. Although safe, they are faced with the reality that this same alliance have weaken their blood line and made it impossible for them to complete a successful blue moon ceremony since, to restore their magic.
With two months away from a blue moon’s rising, the monarchy is sure that crown Princess Lily is the key to save them, but as luck would have it a Lycan Alpha dies and Arn the new Alpha is not interested in signing a renewed alliance without a bride. Faced with choosing between the safety of his borders and the hand of his pure daughter Monarch Alcazar is forced to reveal that his daughter is a twin and offers Luna instead, in hope that she would please the wolf and buy them enough time to complete the ceremony.
Luna enters a world that not only unlocks the secret of her lineage but she realizes in a most embarrassing way that she actually has a powerful light that only comes out of her when Arn brings her to an orgasm. Arn commits to helping her master it and it triggers a suppressed memory from his childhood, which reveals what really happens the night his parents died. This insight into his past proves to be the key to helping him uncover the fact that he has inherited a complicated rule filled with betrayal, murder and strife. With pure nerve and brute force Arn fights to uncover the conspiracy which threatens to devastate the continuance of his pack. While Luna is called upon to step in and complete the Blue Moon ceremony herself when Lily fails, placing her in harm’s way.
Their ultimate success will only come when they both join forces to reconcile their past in time to save a world that depends only on the strength of their love to survive.

This book will be free to download on the 25 and 26 September 2016. Please download, read and leave a review.

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Today is the 173rd day since 273 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped

.#BringbackOurGirls Today is the 173rd day since 273 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped.

Men do what they know they can get away with. When the mighty lacks the courage of the humble, the people suffer. I pray for a heart of courage to rise in Nigeria like never before akin to Mandela or Gandhi, a soul who can move what must be moved and hold what must be held. Your #GeneralBarca. A prayer for action and change with the strength to hold on to your silver lining. Let the cries of the people be heard, not just in this situation but let it be that your time/your revolution begins now.#BringbackOurGirls and let no other girls live in fear of being taken.

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The Final Frontier, Suicide

Human beings have been faced in times past with two immutable random facts, we have no power over when we are born and we have no power over the stroke of death. The first remains immutable, without consideration to #abortion and the second has caused much controversy because man has decided to claim death on his own terms.

I’ve imagined being in pre-embryonic stage and being shown the world’s timeline. A voice says, “choose when you wish to be born.” If I was given that choice I would skip the wars, slavery, Hitler, large earthquakes and hurricanes.   If given the choice some periods in our history would remain unpopulated so I accept the randomness of birth. I accept some children will be born to Ebola with little hope of lasting a week; some will be born to royalty, to be pampered and spoiled, some rich, some very poor and most to average ‘Joes’ all over the world.  I accept it because I haven’t been able to figure out a more logical solution to the selection of births and it has been proven that persons from the most humble beginnings can excel. Whether by force, spirituality, grace, sheer determination or dumb luck, there is an obvious leveling of the playing field that the universe offers to those who dare it.  

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So the first immutable fact has never weighed heavy on my mind. The second however keeps me in a quandary.  Death makes us equal, we must all face it and there is no getting away from it.

When I was younger I found an old book in my school library which spoke of a brave man. A general, who was considered a military genius and extraordinary battle strategist: He was described as a man of all men, powerful, fearless and strong, a leader who men died for willingly, yet Hannibal #Barca died at his own hand.  The question of suicide had long been a non-issue in my pubescent world because everyone knows if you kill yourself you won’t go to heaven. Didn’t Hannibal #Barca know that? Not only did this man kill himself but he planned it methodically. He carried a vial of poison on his person for years and no one said to him. “Hey, you need to wait for the Romans to kill you, you can’t kill yourself dude. It’s just not done.” It would take me years to figure out each era has its own rules and Hannibal Barca in his time was considered a revolutionary hero would refused to be captured by his arch enemies and died a heroes death, much like most men in battle who fell on their sword instead of being taken alive. So did that mean that there were didn’t levels of suicide? Were some types of suicide accepted while others are not?

At some point in time someone very high up, I assume someone very religious or very Kingly said, these bloody people keep killing themselves out instead of paying their taxes, let’s make it a rule that if you commit suicide you won’t go to heaven. Ahhhhhha! Deliberate socialization around an aforementioned premise to affect a conditioned response – grow old and pay your taxes diligently. Okay, maybe it was meant to be more caring response. Hoping persons understood the value of life because life is a gift and it should be cherished.

I always say a gift is given but it is also accepted, it’s has to be mutual giving and taking for the gift to be remain a gift. If there is any force or bullying, it becomes a curse. So suicide becomes that state of mind where you don’t want the gift anymore. #freedomofchoice is a hell of a thing; most people including me would say freedom of choice is a good thing but… There is always a ‘but’, because there are one or two things that we would rather dictate. Women should be free to vote: girls should be free to go to school regardless of where they were born;  everyone should be free to marry whoever they want; all men should be free to live wherever they want; abortion is a freedom, but freedom stops at suicide. No one says a person should be free to take their own life; it’s akin to self violence. Man fights his self and wins, but dies. #PaulWalker died in a car crash last year and #RobinWilliams committed suicide this year, the stroke of death came differently but the end result was the same.

Is it death that we fear or is it the stroke of death? There seems to be acceptable versions of the end that we who are alive can live with until our time comes. The dead don’t worry about death, they’ve already faced it. It is the living who ponders on it, bends it and shapes it until it is something that makes us comfortable with the concept.

I personally feel persons who are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases and are given e.g. two months to live should also be given a death pill as an option. Put your house in order, buy your own casket, invite persons to your funeral, hear all the good things before you go and then go to sleep and never get up. Actually, I may go even further and say if you reach a certain age the pill should be a gift like pension. You keep your options open. It seems to be a fitting end for a life well spent. You ride off in the sunset on your terms, with a smile on your face. No one looks forward to death, but seeing that it is inevitable anyway, why not plan for it? Why not claim it as a life event? The way we plan weddings and birthdays; you saved to buy a house, why not get the nicest casket on the block, engrave your name on it and make sure it’s painted in your favorite color. You can even paint it yourself, give it that personal touched. Not to mention the cemetery plot, I would like to be close to the road under a tree. How about you?

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We face death so cowardly, weren’t we expecting it?

Today we get to wait on cancer to us strip under ninety pounds, killing us slowly while we support the medical profession. Then there’s the big ones’ like Ebola, Malaria and all the other deadly strains you can catch. If that doesn’t get you then there’s the weather hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and tornadoes, we are all fair game when it comes to the weather. Then there’s the sophisticated death that entails a drug overdose or a yachting accident. The most lethal for me would be the drunk driver on the cell phone, who smashes your car, throws you out of it and leaves you dying on the highway; it’s a fatal combination usually not for the driver himself but for everyone he hits. Let’s not forget the fool who doesn’t want to work his way up and enters your home on a random Saturday night; who robs, rapes and kills for the price of a second hand bicycle. If you are not white then your potential death list gets longer depending on where you live because it will include law enforcement officers and crossing someone’s territory with a grin. Not to mention if you are a woman, not covering your head or eating with a fork in some countries have reported to bring deadly wrath. My recent favorite remains you are on your way to a Conference to help end the deathly epidemic of AIDs and some idiot shoots your plane down and your body lands in some field on the ten o’clock news. No one is afraid of death by sharks, snakes or lions anymore and growing old looks like a luxury most of us wouldn’t reach.

So if you have had the pleasure of that luxury why not plan for it, celebrate the fact that you unlike so many other people have a chance to die your way.  Death is still the most uncomfortable conversation in the room and it’s because we don’t really want to die. We don’t want our loves ones to die. It’s such a bitch. Yes, you can admit it and the grim reaper isn’t going to haunt you for thinking it. I do not wish to die and even more than that I do not wish to die by some random circumstance that does not speak to the wonderful person that I am.  

Nevertheless, I am quite sure I’m not getting out of this life alive and wishful thinking will only get me thus far.

With so many possibilities for death, why consider suicide especially if you are already old. Robin William’s suicide was a surprise not so much because of the death but his age. You assume if someone has lived that long they have overcame enough to deal with anything and you take their depression for granted. I think there should be a special category called “creative depression.” When you ask your mind to do a balancing act everyday with different characters and voices, there’s comes a time when your heart internalizes it and it becomes real to you, in such a passionate way that you can’t be human and not be affected. I have also noticed the best comedians have moments of pure insights into humanity and I can’t say if that’s good or bad. They can go full circle from humor to dread. It should be classified as more than depression because it really is. When you reach a certain age you need grandchildren or an orphanage to entertain. You give of yourself and in-turn they keep your mind active and distracted, but I digress.

The universe is full of unanswered questions and most of them suck.           

The question is what do you do when you feel like it’s your time to go and you want to go but the parameters of civilization does not allow it. Your family won’t talk about it, your religion forbids it and everyone starts giving you labels; “depressed,” “crazy.”

Well I hope you have at least one person you can turn to and I am sure that one person will give you the incentive to live on. I think death by self should only be contemplated if you are a happy man. There should be no remorse or regret. It shouldn’t be a dreary end but a party which celebrates all that you were, all that you brought to the world. Everyone who hears your story should say, “I’m so happy for him.” That’s the test of most things whether you can see your individuality in the choices you make and inspire others. Everything else is slow death.

Daily Updated Funny Birds & Animals (9)            

M. Mckie

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The TV Wife

The TV Wife

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It’s about midnight and I overslept.

My daughter cradles next to me and I smile as I brush a curl from her face. It was not my intention to share my bed with my daughter, who has a room of her own across the corridor. Nevertheless, she’s seems so happy sleeping with me maybe he’s right, we’ll give her the time she needs to adjust. She needs me.

I long for his touch and ease out of the bed. I move a pillow close to her, she grips it and I hold my breath. “Please don’t wake up,” I whisper, “I need your father now.” She understands and cuddles the pillow and steadies her breathing.

I am off, feet barely touching the ground as I reach the living room and I jump on him. He’s dosing on a mattress in front of the television. I don’t care what he’s watching because I know he’s naked under that towel waiting for me. He laughs as I strip. I’m so hungry for his sweetness and I can barely wait to taste his manhood inside me. The television is turned off as we moan and listen for small cries but she doesn’t get up. Tomorrow is work but I don’t care, he’s so beautiful, I will feast on him until I’m done and I come in an amazing radiance and fall back to earth with a thud.

We lie quietly in each other’s arms and I listen to his heart beat but it doesn’t last. He eases out from under my grip and head to the bathroom. I do the same. I watch the bedroom, she’s sleeping soundly and I go to him again and rest my head on his chest. I want more than sex, I need a hug. Hold me my heart yearns let me lie with you, be more, gave me more.

“Let’s go to bed, there’s more than enough room,” I say.

“You know, I can’t,” he answered. “That bed is too soft for my back; you should go back to her.”

“I’ll stay here then,” I say with a sweet smile.

The television flips back on.

“You know I can’t sleep with the television on,” I groaned, “just a little while longer…”

He’s flipping through the channels and raises the volume. All I get is a dull stare. “Go back to her,” he moans.

My pride cannot ask again and my body shakes as I’m ignored. I move to get up and he pulls me in and kisses my lips. “I’ll see you in the morning,” he grins.

I stare at him; confused and annoyed, I walk away. The corridor seems longer now that I’m walking back and I hold my tears in as I climb into bed and move my face into the pillow. “Move over,” a voice says crossly a minute later.

“Go back to the TV,” I snap.

She jumps and I regret my outburst. He goes to her and holds her close and rocks her back to sleep. He’s a great father and a good man. I chide myself for being so selfish. The things some woman have to endure like smoking, drinking and violence was not my fate, he was just overly preoccupied with the television.

He kisses her gently as he puts her back in bed. I watch him as he moves towards me and kisses me softly once again. This time I kiss back. “I’ll see you in the morning,” he whispers and I nod in agreement and give a faint smile. He walks out of the door and I lay for the next hour watching our daughter and listening to the television. I ask myself over and over what will happen to my marriage when she grows up and out of my bed.

******

My daughter cradles next to me and I move her foot off of my stomach. She follows me around the bed, looking for the warmth. It’s getting to be uncomfortable sharing a bed with a little person who moves and kicks at random but she’s growing well and just started school. She well adjusted the teacher says and far happier than most children. That’s good to know, I guess she gets that from her father he is also far happier than most. He’s married but has his own room and sleeps in front of the television. She moves again and this time I get a hand in my face. I barricade her between three pillows and look for space on the bed to sleep where I wouldn’t wake her but could still dose off.

This master bedroom held so much promise when we first moved in. It was not my intention to share my bed with my daughter, who has a room of her own across the corridor. A room well suited for a child her age, I resolve to try to get her into her own bed once more, with or without her fathers’ help.

I hear footsteps in the corridor and hastily find a spot and close my eyes. My husband walks in and moved towards our daughter and kisses her goodnight. He frowns at the barricade and moves the pillows away. He’s watching me and I know it, but I don’t care, the whore is not on call tonight go screw your television.

In my haste, I’ve moved away from my daughter’s ear and he gets the opportunity to isolate me. He nibbles my ear and kisses my neck. “Come outside,” he whispered and turns me around. I pretend to awake from a deep sleep confused that he’s there and he smiles. Always oblivious to my resentment, could his world be so simple? TV, food, exercise, sex and he’s happy. He smiles as he walks away and I shrug, I should have never opened my eyes.

I walk to the bathroom and stay to long and then walk outside where he’s waiting. I no longer pounce on him with lustful intent; I wait for him to start. I sit quietly and pretend interest in the television. After a while he takes it off and hugs me. The sex is good I never really regret getting up but I leave as soon as we are done. “I’ll see you in the morning,” I say. My heart breaks every time I hear the TV turns back on as I walk away and morns at the thought of how life would have been if we had bonded. If I was able to hear his heart beat with mine all night and breathe with his rhythm. I kiss my daughters forehead as I climb back into bed. Sleep sweet child, I will hold on as long as I can.

******

My daughter cradles her pillow. She’s older now but she still doesn’t want to sleep in her own bed. I’m always stressed and I need to do something about this abhorrence festering in me. I feel like my life is there’s and they will both out live me. Why does being a good mother and wife mean losing me so completely? Look at my husband; he’s practically a bachelor still. He always out, walking, swimming, doing stuff in church and I have become the eternal, keeper of the child. Stueps.

I need to exercise more, to read more; I used to read so much. I wish I could fit into those jeans I brought last year. I don’t even invite friends over anymore. The mattress now resides in the living room and I don’t care to explain why. Life is passing by in this bubble and I morn for it. We don’t talk much at home anymore, just the necessary. We put up a good front when we go out though: the lady and the princess with that handsome man at their side. I am always surprised that even though we dress apart we usually color coordinate. It isn’t deliberate it more of a weird quirk, the universe’s wicked sense of humor saying that we belong when we don’t. We could win the award for the best family on the block, I am sure but when we get home where will we put the trophy? In my room, in my daughter’s room or in his room: there is no family room. Maybe there is no need because there is no family – an illusion of sorts for a woman who doesn’t know her worth.

I’m horny, really horny. I’ve tried cutting my husband off but he’s still in front of the television.  It’s so embarrassing to pick a fight with the TV and lose.

It’s not that late and I curse the clock as I alternate between the moving numbers and the ceiling. The sound of torture echoes into the room as he puts on a movie. It’s a movie I like and if we were on better terms I may have been inclined to go outside and watch it with him. Eat popcorn maybe.

I walk to my closest, so many dresses unworn, so many pieces no longer fit. I wish I had places to where these dresses; to dance with a man who looks deep in my eyes and sing “Mere Cherie Amore.” I start to wonder about the men I didn’t choose, what were they up to? Were they men who slept with their wives or in front of the television? Maybe I could start over; maybe I could explain to the child why daddy doesn’t live here anymore. Maybe I could find myself again. It wasn’t a maybe I had to, soon she would be moving to her room and what would be my excuse then. He isn’t going to sleep with me and I’m not sleeping in front of the TV all night, every night so it was time to prepare for the inevitable.

I take the sexy skinny jeans out of the closet and hang it on the door. It’s time to fit back into this. It is time to prepare to move on. I can’t sleep; the determination to ask for a divorce keeps me awake. When the house quiets I venture out into the corridor, my feet barely touching the ground.  I take the remote and lower the TV which is my nightly routine but today I stand there and I stare at him as he sleeps. I love him, he ignites a fire in me but I can’t understand him. I move to wake him wishing to kiss him, needing his touch. My eyes fall on his phone, and I pick it up quietly and run through the calls and texts. He been calling his exes and everyone but me. I read the texts as he sleeps not caring if he awakes, nothing incriminating, and nothing to warrant my decision. No proof, nothing to strengthen my accord. I place the phone gently back in place but my mind is already changed, I don’t wake him. We are too different, we always were and we will both survive the split.

******

I’m home. I walk through the door and I spot them in the living room watching a kiddy show both perched on that mattress. I’ve started back writing, joined a group and fit perfectly into these skinny jeans which I wore to my writers meeting tonight. I stayed back a little later than needed. I no longer rush out the door to go to church with them as I usually do and I walked idly with the group and accepted compliments as we waited for transportation.

“Your husband normally picks you up?” One questioned as I kept walking with the group. “True,” I replied, “but some days it just feels good to be alone,” I grinned.

I am taking back my life; father and daughter can take care of themselves. I pass them with a smile and reach the delight of my room. I take a bath and look for a book to read until she’s ready to sleep. My life is so busy now and even though I’ve changed around her room to suit her age, she’s still not budging but I’m not making it a problem. By the time I tuck her in and say goodnight, the TV is off and he’s praying.

He’s been praying more these days, and I’ve been praying less. Is it because I already got my answer? I’m not sure but I still say, “I’ll see you in the morning.”

******

My daughter cradles her pillow as I look at her sleeping in her own bed. Nine years, I’m both relieved and lonely.  The first month my sex life improved and it seemed as if I worried all those years for nothing. He held me close and I began to believe once again but after a month I woke to an empty bed.

Now he doesn’t wait until I’m asleep it’s servicing then return to the TV wife, I don’t know how to leave. I endure.

******

She’s no longer in that room. She’s grown and off to college.

I have a new job now, one that takes me out of the country every month and I’ve met someone. It’s someone we both know, even though he’s younger he’s already divorced and I’m ready to ask for one so why not. The sex isn’t as good as my husband, actually it’s rather horrible. I always close my eyes and think of my husband so that I can reach an orgasm but he holds me close after and we sleep together in each other’s arms until the sunrise rises.

It’s what I wanted but not with him. This isn’t the one and I have to figure out how to end this delicately. I can’t be seen to be the one at fault, I say, I need a clean break first and then we can try again. He’s looks taken aback but he nods in agreement and leaves quietly.

It’s like I’ve gone from bad to worse, I have no plans of ever calling him again.

I can’t help but have sex with my husband when I get back home. He does it so well, he stays tonight all night and I wish he had gone back to the TV because I need to cry.

When I get up he was gone. Sunday morning run as usual with his group. He’ll be back before I know it. Something is different, the TV is in the bedroom, it isn’t plugged in and the remote is wrapped in gift paper with my name on it.

I cry, to little to late. Did I even have the sanity to try this again? My heart wondered if I could find a way and I knew that we could.

I hear the car pull up and watch through the window. It was him he was parked outside the house waiting for my husband. I pulled back and peeped through the curtains. He was telling him. I could see my husband’s hand drop from the handshake as he stepped back and floored him. His face was in shock as he turned towards the house. The news pierced his heart; I could see it in his face and grew afraid. All those years in front of the blasted television and he was still surprised that his wife was unhappy with him, stunned that she had turned to his fool for comfort. He had an affair with the television, the running track and the ocean; always leaving to go to her.

I should have run, I should have hidden but I was tired. I didn’t even care to deny it. My entire life I thought too much and said to little.  I should have broken the TV into pieces years ago, hidden the remote, burnt the mattress but I waited until it was too much to take.

I stopped praying and endured what was not mine to endure. I used my daughter as an excuse and left no legacy of what a real relationship should look like. So I got back into bed, which is where I would have been when he returned and turned my back to the door.

When the door flung opened and he shouted, I said nothing.

When the TV crashed to the floor and he screamed, I didn’t move.

He packed his clothes and the car sped off an hour later and I lay quietly praying for my life.

He never came back.

I never brought another television.

There is nothing more to endure.

I have time to read my books.

THE END

This is a short story that I wrote this morning when I considered an alternate reality asking myself: What if I was this woman, how would things work out? or could it work out? Next week I’ll do another one. I hope.

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