The woman in the reflection was unknown to her, a stranger. The figure sat poised and proper at the cherry wood vanity. Her ample breasts spilling out of her strapless black lace bra. Red lipstick clasped in her newly manicured fingers. Her petite hand, adorned with a 1/2 carat diamond on her ring finger, catching the reflective light of the setting sun.
The rays casting through the French doors that led to the perfectly tended yard. Her long golden locks, portraying the perfect illusion, whilst hiding the $500 extensions. She didn’t seem real. Who had she become? This version of herself masked the reality of what she felt. Was she a trophy wife? Is that what one would call it? If so, it was she that had allowed herself to obtain such a title.
Over the years she has given permission for her old self to die away and for the new model to be on display. Disgusted by what stared back at her, she stood, tossing the makeup into the vanity drawer. She sauntered to her closet where her gown for the evening’s festivities hung. Still covered in plastic from being picked up from the dry cleaners earlier in the day. Gently removing the plastic covering, she carefully wiggled her tiny frame into the crimson velvet dress, squeezing her $8,000 bust into it as best she could. She pulled at its ends, causing the fabric to form even more fittingly, hugging her small curves. She slipped her toes into the black Louis Vuitton’s, and took a step back to take a gander at the presentable finished product. She was indeed quite the most beautiful specimen.
But in that moment, it didn’t matter. Her beauty. The big 5,800 square foot home. The gun metal Maserati in the garage, or the crystal flute etched with a golden rim that housed the sparkling Veuve Clicquot. She raised the glass to her lips and took a sip of the delectable liquid. She took one last look in the mirror, raised her free hand and matching the gesture of the pristine red nail of the middle finger, uttered aloud, “Fuck you!” For, It was all a facade.
In a moment she would make her grand entrance. The guests would “ooh and ah” with hushed tones upon her arrival and she would elegantly walk towards her husband and he’d kiss her on the cheek. He would gawk and gush, exaggerating his delight with a plethora of compliments; all the while his gaze straying towards another beauty that stands nearby with smiles of adoration. It was all a game. Lies and falsifications disguised with laughter and grins. Yet, she knew she would play the part, wear the smile, for how could anyone with “all this” be unhappy. One should be grateful for all that they have, and to turn a blind eye to his adulterous ways…was understood, was acceptable, and she would be crazy to give it all up.
She turned away from the reflective image, and she began her walk down the hall to embrace the insignificant faces of the evening. His colleagues, long-life friends, those he had added to the list last minute to simply rub his success and blissful life in their faces. She was his to show off, right along with the cognac that they had brought back from their trip to France, they were all on display. She could hear the chatter and clinking of glasses, and with one last sip and one deep breath (causing her bosom an attempted escape from the constricting dress) and a smile…entre’!
Suit and ties filled the room, various scents (colognes and perfumes clashing) filling her nostrils causing them to flare. In efforts of disguising the overwhelming fragrance, she delicately brought her glass to her lips, taking another gulp whilst holding her breath.
As she walked about the room, greeting her guests with nods, smiles, and hellos, the men’s eyes followed with each sway of her hips. All filled with lust and longing and some aglow with jealousy. The women were dressed to the nines, with various shades of their black and gray splattered about, yet unable to compare to her.
She caught a server by the elbow, trading her empty flute for another crisp cold bubbly, this one embellished with three pomegranates floating at the top, grazing her plump lips as she brought it to her mouth, quenching her thirst.
In that moment, just as she had assumed, her husband, began his approach to her. With much chagrin leaving the side of his muse, but not before whispering sweet nothings into her ear, causing her eyes to sparkle. Anger stung at the corner of her eyes, which then transformed into shame. She felt embarrassed by her husband and his mistress’ cavalier attitude. Their behavior wasn’t blatant, flaunting was even to crass of a word, however; they certainly didn’t disguise their relationship. It was such a ridiculous ruse, and it was expected that she would swallow her pride, her dignity, her value, her worth. She deviated her eyes away from the spectacle. In response and perfect self deprecating fashion, she finished her champagne, and found the server grabbing another.
Much to her dismay, he had chosen to wear his gray Armani suit. Upon purchasing it, weeks prior, she had mentioned that the suit was simply too small. The areas that it hugged and accentuated were not flattering by any means. Yet, he disagreed claiming that it was his exact size, a 42L (in reality a 46 would have sufficed perfectly). But, as he paraded across the room, his red velvety tie caught the flickering of the ambient candlelight that decorated the large room.
It was an intentional choice (the tie) to match her formal wear. His gait was proud, slow and steady, even with his confidence accentuated in each step, he was still unable to hide his middle-age bulge, that was so desperate to be released from the restraint of the single button of his suit. It was laughable really. How ridiculous he looked, yet the compliments and validation he received was all that he required, and of course it was given. The pats on his shoulder, the hand-shakes as he walked by, the nods of approval…the superficial confirmation filling his ego.
She could feel her stomach churn at the idea. The visualization of of the figures filled with greed and envy was more than she could bear. She could see the hunger in their eyes instilled with complete idolization towards this man. Her man. Her husband. She envisioned the gnawing and gnashing of their teeth diving into his flesh in ravenous frenzy in efforts to fulfill their gluttonous adoration. It was sickening. Vile. She had to clear her throat to stifle the bile that was journeying upwards from her belly.
“You look ravishing, my dear,” he muttered under his breath, along with a tooth-filled smile kissing her hand. She nodded in response, her eyes catching the envious stare of his Jezebel from across the room. She then tapped her glass with the base of her ring finger, creating a high clanking, grabbing the attention of the visitors.
“Would you all please raise your glasses?”
The room complied with her bidding. She scoped the great room, a large Christmas tree stood tall and stoic in the corner. Decorated to its absolute perfection. Ribbons and wreaths were strewn above the window and fireplace; the atmosphere so breathtaking that one could easily find themselves agape at its elegance.
“I want to thank you all for being here this evening,” her voice as soothing as the trill of a songbird. “As we celebrate the passing year for all its triumphs and downfalls, I hope we are all able to reflect on our journey with positivity and continue to grow and learn. I do hope that the coming year brings good fortune, enlightenment, and an opportunity of discovery as we move towards a brighter and more satisfying future.”
She paused for a moment, lowering her raised hand, scanning the faces of all those surrounding her. She could feel their piercing eyes of judgement, their smiles of false truths, burning deep into her core, and she could feel the loneliness rising within her depths. It was a room of strangers who desired to be called friends. A room filled with beings that knew nothing of her soul.
With an escape of a small chuckle, she raised her glass and continued, “So, fill your ravenous appetites, indulge on the flowing cocktails, taste all the delicacies proffered within these walls, TAKE what is given, and appease your voracious sinful souls! here’s to you!” The room, in automated response echoed, “Cheers!” She then locked eyes with her spouse, as they each took their sip in response to toasting tradition.
His brow furrowed, as he stood quizzical and confused. She gave him a sly smile and a devilish wink, then ventured towards his muse.
The young woman began to shift and stir in her bargain heels, nervously fidgeting with the diamond earrings that hung loosely from her lobe.
A gift for being, “Such an amazing assistant, a godsend really,” or at least that’s what she was told when she found the bill from the jewelers, that had accidentally fallen from her husband’s pants pocket earlier that morning.
As she reached her destination, the young woman attempted a smile, all the while with quivering lips and her eyes darting sporadically in the direction where her husband still stood watching. She leaned in towards the girl, she placed her lips upon the girl’s cheek, giving a delicate peck, slowly she moved her red lips towards the girl’s ear, and whispered HER sweet nothings.
“He’s all yours, dear.” She placed her empty flute down on the glass coffee table, exited the room, fully aware of the whispers, gossip, and giggles.
Upon returning to her bedroom, she closed the door and fastened the lock behind her. Safe within her solitude. She went before her mirror, freeing her feet from the three inches of height and began unzipping her dress. The red velvet fell to the floor, and with the unsnapping of her bra, her breasts were now liberated. Her nipples stood erect from the sudden exposure of the air. She then removed her underwear, tossing them to the side. She stood before her image. Naked. Susceptible to judgement; her own. She was vulnerable and she was frightened. As she looked about the clothing scattered on the floor, she removed all her jewelry, adding them to pile at her feet. Lastly, her ring. The last materialistic item that connected her to him. The identifier that allowed the world to see that she was taken, that she was a Mrs., that she was still his. She held it in the palm of her hand, feeling its weight. She then chucked it across the room, hitting the wall above their bed frame, dropping to the hardwood floor, giving a thud of finality.
Her skin had been shed. And she could feel a rising fire growing from within her belly. She could feel a new strength flowing throughout her veins. Her heart raced. With one inhale, deeply filling up her lungs, awakening all senses, electrifying her soul and setting her eyes ablaze.
She had been reborn.
About the Author
Robin LeOra Anderson
My name is Robin LeOra Andersen, I am 43, married for 20 years, and have 4 beautiful children. I am a stay at home mom, but do help my hubby and older son (when needed) with our family business. I am located in Northern California, I am a classically trained pianist, I home schooled my children (an incredible blessing and adventure), and have always dabbled here and there (as a hobby) with writing. This past year, and as my children are getting older, I find I have more time for myself. I am taking my writing more seriously and am currently working on completing my first novel. It’s an exciting new journey for me, and I am eager to see where it leads. My poetry can be found on Instagram: @leoras_beautiful_chaos_poetry