Let me start by apologizing for the delay in posting. This week was a real challenge. We won’t call this a Flash Fiction Friday post. We’ll call it: Super Short Story Saturday!! You like that, don’t you? I thought you would! 😀
Today’s story takes a look at that battle some women have over living a ‘full’ life. What exactly makes a fulfilling life for a woman? Read the story and feel free to share your thoughts.
I envied Tabitha’s life. I mean, most of us women grow up getting sucked into the fantasy of marriage and children and the house with the white picket fence with a mini van parked in the driveway. We swear we look forward to it. When we grow up and get that life of wifedom and motherhood, our social calendars become filled with play dates, dance recitals, football and soccer practices, PTA meetings, sunday school and a paying job outside the home. Really ambitious women do all of that and have full-blown careers, not just jobs. They climb corporate ladders, bust through glass ceilings and collect degrees like boys collect baseball cards. They wear blue camisoles painted with a big red “S” under their Talbot’s business suits. They are made of extra tough stuff. But women like Tabitha Acosta make me gag. I knew I should not feel like that, but she seems to be the woman who has it all.
Tabitha is my sister-in-law. She is effortlessly shapely. She has tone and definition in all the right places. She eats what she wants and exercises never. She has no children, a different delicious and exotic looking man on her arm in every picture she sends us, and her job requires travel to amazing locations all over the world. She knows famous people. She KNOWS them. She’s been to their private estates, attended their parties. She’s part of their inner circle. Did I mention she is fluent in three languages? She has her masters in business and finance, as well as a degree in technology and advertising. The got that degree just for fun. She’s like an Everything Barbie! I found myself looking forward to hearing her misfortunes and was always disappointed when she shared her latest success stories. I often wished I had the chance to live a little part of her life before I settled down and married her brother. At least, I thought I did.
Tabitha came home for her summer holiday, just as the kids started day camp. She was doing well enough in her career that she could afford to take three months off to relax and regroup. I thought my accumulated vacation and sick time of five weeks was epic. Silly me! At my husband’s insistance, I took two weeks of my accumilated vacation off. It would save us on child care for the two weeks I’d be home, and Tabitha would get to spend time with all of us. We decided to spend one of those weeks at the beach. When we came back, Tabitha insisted that she and go to the spa and let my kids and husband “engage in paternal bonding.” Knowing my envy issues where his sister was concerned, my husband said, “Give her a chance, Linda. You might learn something new about her.” He was right, as usual. I learned a great deal about her.
I went on the spa day adventure with her, ready to hear about the latest hottie that accompanied her to the industry parties she attended and so on and so on. But she shocked me when she said, “You know, I’m tired of this life. I want to settle down and have a normal life, like you.” Normal? Like me? She had to be kidding.
“Why would you want a life like mine? You have it made, Tabby! You don’t have to worry about working your schedule around everyone else’s. You don’t have stay up all night with a sick child and still make it to work the next day. Enjoy every moment of what you have, girl!”
“But that’s just it. I’m not enjoying it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling, but when I come home, there’s no one there. I’m not getting any younger. None of the men I’ve dated are interested in getting married, and my biological clock is going to stop ticking soon! I’ve watched you and Asher for the last month. Your lives are non-stop. Yeah, you have chaotic moments, the kids keep you busy, but you all have each other.”
“You know, you are welcome to come and be a part of our chaos anytime you want. The kids love when Auntie Tabby is around.”
“I love seeing them. But, I find myself wondering how different, how much better life might be with a family of my own. Remember last week, after the kids came home from camp? They came in full of energy, ready to tell you about their day. I noticed how their faces lit up when they saw you and how your face lit up when you saw them. I knew you were tired after working all day, but it’s like they energized you! It was beautiful. I want that. I need that.”
“So you would give up your glamorous life, your collection of handsome men, your freedom to come and go as you please, to get married, change stinky diapers, work a 9-5 and maintain a busy house?” She sipped her infused spa drink and thought for a moment.
“I’ll never give up the glamour,” she laughed, “but yes, I’d give up the rest to have a life like yours. You really do have it all, Linda.”
I never thought my grass would be green stuff anyone envied, especially someone like Tabitha. For the first time since I met her, I didn’t feel envy for Tabitha. I felt a sense of sisterhood.
Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall