I have an excerpt and an interview with the author I hope you enjoy them!
"We are not invisible because the world does not see us. We become invisible when we can no longer see ourselves." In a moment of epiphany, Mona Lisa Siggs, scratches a poignant quote on a lavender envelope. Faced with the daunting choice of saving her marriage, or killing her husband - which modern forensics has made nearly impossible to get away with - Mona decides to make one final effort to rekindle a relationship seriously on the skids. Cue the birds. Hours into their reconciliation, Mona and her husband Tom, find themselves surrounded by hundreds of crows who have made their home in Aunt Ida's trees. With the help of brother-in-law Robbie, the duo find themselves engaged in radical crow relocation methods. Effort leads to mayhem for the Siggs, as they dodge bird goo, a crazy neighbour armed with a potato gun, and local law enforcement. From the chaos, lessons emerge, those that save a relationship, and shape a life. Becoming Mona Lisa is a delightful story of love and self-discovery, delivered with side-splitting laughter.
Holden Robinson, born Catherine Ann Holden resides in upstate New York, in the land of trees, road construction, snow belts, and four seasons. Robinson is a passionate animal activist, and shares her life with six four-legged children. Robinson aspires to merge her love for writing with her love of activism, and is at work on a poignant animal rescue story titled, And Her Name Shall Be Beloved
Buying info http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Mona-Lisa-Holden-Robinson/dp/1612961142/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1343690345&sr=8-3A signed copy can be ordered by contacting Holden at her website, http://www.holdenrobinsonproductions.com/.
1. Where are you from?
I am from Binghamton, NY.
2. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or was there something else you wanted to do as a career?
I always knew I would be something, as arrogant as that sounds. Even as a child, I think I knew I would do something important, and that's not suggesting that each person's accomplishments aren't important. I just knew I would do something really special, something that would make an impact. I thought I'd be a singer, or a Broadway performer, and I am the former. I have done a lot of musical theater, and was in a country rock band for several years.
3. What inspired you to write your first book?
I lost my dad in 2006 to pancreatic cancer. It became an equator to me, and let me explain. Everything happened either before or after that moment when he was gone. Like anyone, I slipped into a period of deep grief, but not for long. I knew it wasn't what Dad would have wanted for me. I took everything I felt, every emotion that needed a place to be planted, and I began writing in earnest. His death caused me to reevaluate my own life, and instead of succumbing to the grief, anger, and bitterness, I turned this life-changing event into something beautiful.
4. In you opinion what is the best movie adaptation of a book that you’ve read?
Although both book and movie were disturbing in content, I felt The Lovely Bones was extremely well done. The movie held true to the storyline of the book, and the movie was extremely well cast.
5. What is the first book that you remember reading?
The Boxcar Children. To this day, I absolutely love this book.
6. If your book was being made into a movie do you already have actors in mind for each role? What bands/singers would you put on the soundtrack?
I would love to see Tina Fey as Mona and Owen Wilson as Tom. I think they would bring the characters to life. For obvious reasons, (obvious to anyone who has read the book), Celine Dion would be featured on the soundtrack. Aside from Celine, I would love to have Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover. Even though it is an old song, I think it would be great background music as Mona ponders the many ways she might have "gotten rid of" her husband.
7. When you’re creating characters do you incorporate traits from people you know?
Yes. Absolutely. I am the original Mona Lisa Siggs. The things that happen to me should have been written by a fiction-writing author. Sometimes they are too outrageous to be believed. About ten years ago, I had a neighbor like Thurman Pippin. This guy was asinine, and the worst landlord ever.
8. If you had the chance to have a sit down with any author alive or deceased who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Stephen King, and I'd love to meet his wife. I'd ask her if she's afraid when she goes to sleep by her husband's side. King is simply brilliant, and seems like such a terrific guy. I met his original editor a couple of years ago, and he is a great man. It was a thrill being one degree separated from King.
9.What book are you reading now?
I am reading The Bond. I just finished the Fifty Shades trilogy. I'll leave that at that.
10. What are your current projects?
I have six or seven books in various stages of completion, which isn't normal for me, but rather, "just happened." I am rewriting my first book, working on a sequel to Becoming Mona Lisa, converting my beloved blog, Tommy's Tool Town into book format, and am deeply involved in a poignant animal rescue story titled, And Her Name Shall be Beloved.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about this author, now here is the excerpt I promised!
Becoming Mona Lisa by Holden Robinson
My mother once told me if I looked at my reflection long enough, my features would
become obscure, and I would gradually become a Picasso. I never asked how long it would
take, this transition from me to something I didn't recognize. It may be minutes for some. In
my case, it took a few years. Thirty-four to be exact.
I guess it wasn't that I'd become a Picasso. I guess I'd become more of a pooka. A
pooka is an invisible creature, like the rabbit in the old movie, Harvey, starring the
incomparable Jimmy Stewart.
The distinct difference between me, and the pooka known as Harvey, was Harvey had
always been invisible. I hadn't. I'd simply disappeared. Over time.
I watched Harvey repeatedly, long before I understood the similarities I'd one day
share with the big, white rabbit.
I loved the rabbit, but I loved Jimmy Stewart even more. Every year, at Christmas, I'd
hunker down with my mother, father, and my beloved Aunt Ida, and we'd watch It's a
Wonderful Life, and string popcorn for the tree. Aunt Ida would watch through cataracts, I
through tears, and by time the credits rolled, I'd be emotionally spent, and Aunt Ida would
have half a bowl of Orville Redenbacher's sewn to her skirt.
My mother, ever the teacher, would turn the movie's message into a lesson, one of
many she'd pass along, and it was her voice I'd most often heard in my head as I battled my
“Wear good shoes, Mona.”
“Wear good underwear, in case you crash your car, Mona.”
“Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them, Mona.”
I guess two out of three ain't bad. I wear good shoes, and good underwear. It's the
third one I screwed up.
I was thinking of this as I pulled into my driveway on a Sunday evening, after an
uneventful shift at WalMart. My old Jeep emitted a familiar groan as we pulled into the
driveway that was once smooth, and now felt like driving a Radio Flyer down a washboard.
I shut off the ignition and we both sighed. The old truck and the unhappy wife.
I labored up the sidewalk onto the porch. My feet crossed the fifty-year-old timbers,
and the wood moaned beneath my treading. A stranger's reflection stared back at me from
the single-pane window, as my hand sought the rusty knob. I opened the door and crossed
the threshold, into the abyss that had become my life.
I stood in the foyer and kicked off my shoes. The linoleum was cool beneath my
feet, and the loneliness seeped in almost instantly, as if it had been there waiting. It was
familiar, this sense of emptiness.
“Comfort in the evil you know,” I once read on the jacket of a book about bad
marriages. I had come to a formidable crossroads, left with the choice of saving my
marriage, or killing my husband, but advancements in forensics had made it impossible to
kill anyone and get away with it, so I got myself a library card, and checked out every book
ever written on how to mend what seemed unmendable. I returned them all, three weeks
“I'm home,” I called to a silent house. “Tom? You here?”
“I'm in the kitchen, Mona,” came the response from the roommate who was my
“What are you doing?” I asked, finding Tom Siggs at the kitchen table, his nose in a
“Same old, same old. How was work?” he asked, as our eyes met, as a recognition
almost occurred between two idiots in a relationship dying of boredom.
“It was like work,” I said.
“Work usually is,” Tom replied, his gaze back on the paper.
“Dinner?” I asked.
“Dinner?” Tom repeated.
“The meal you eat at night, Tom.”
“I know what dinner is, Mona.”
“Did you want some?”
“I'll light the grill.”
“Awesome,” I said, with no enthusiasm.
Tom left his paper in the waning sunlight, and I took his chair. It was still warm, and
I felt sadness and heat creep into my body, joining the loneliness that had settled there. It
was almost like being touched by him, but not, yet it was the closest thing I'd had to a
connection with my husband in as long as I could remember.
I looked at the man who stood outside my back door. A man who was once a
stranger, then my friend, my lover, my husband, a stranger. A perfect circle, one Dante
It was a question without an answer, a complex equation with an elusive solution, one
that could be found over time, if either of us were willing to make the investment. We
“I'm troubled about something, Mona.”
The voice was unexpected. I hadn't heard my husband come into the kitchen. I
looked at him, ready to bare my soul to him, willing to make one last effort to reach him.
“About what, Tom?” I asked, as I held my breath and mentally prepared for the
conversation I'd wanted to have with this man for years.
“I had to press the automatic starter on the grill four times. Shouldn't it light the first
time?” His brow furrowed in thought, and I stared at him and frowned. “Bothers you too,
“Yeah, Tom. I'm losing sleep over it.”
“Jeez, Mona. It was just a question.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled.
Tom disappeared through the back door, and I followed him, but only as far as the
stove. I filled the tea kettle, and returned to the chair.
The room was quiet, save the gentle hiss of an old gas stove, readying a pot of Earl
Grey. I looked through the window to my left to see Tom performing his simple task. He
had become an old man in a younger man's body, a man whose dreams had faded away,
whose mind was worn from the mundane, a man who lived in a home obese from the weight
We'd become the perfect husband and wife. Miserable. Silent. Lost in a murky sea
The kettle shrieked, and I jumped and fought the urge to wail along with it, to finally
give voice to my misery. It stopped before I could rise.
“Didn't you hear that, Mona?” my husband asked, once he'd shut off the burner and
quieted the screaming.
“Lost in thought,” I said defensively.
“You all right?” he asked.
“Not really, Tom.”
“What's wrong?” he asked.
Did I dare? Did I dare open the floodgates and let it all out?
“I guess I'm just hungry,” I lied.
“Grill's hot. Burgers should be ready in a little bit.”
“Great. Thanks, Tom.”
“No problem. Are you sure there's nothing else wrong?” he asked, looking hard at
The floodgates closed, and the misery splashed against them. “No, Tom.
Tom stood in the corner of the kitchen, looking at the despicable human being who
shared his life.
“Was there something you wanted to say?” I asked.
“Not really,” he muttered, before turning away.
He spoke the truth, this kind man I could no longer reach. There wasn't anything to
say. Nothing. It was the end. It was only a matter of time.
I stared out the window, as the water in the kettle grew cold.
E-piph-a-ny (noun) – a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight
into reality or essential meaning of something,
usually initiated by some simple, homely, or
commonplace occurrence of experience.
If you listened, you'd hear a collective groan as the weekend ended and Monday
arrived. I didn't groan, because I loved Monday. The workweek began; Tom and I were
separated by a measurable distance, and the silence in the house became palatable.
This particular Monday began like any other. Tom was in the shower. I slowly made
my way to the kitchen, intent on celebrating my first day off in ten. It was only a day off, not
a trip to Disneyland, but I was somewhat elated, nonetheless.
Tom had made coffee, but as he often did, he'd forgotten to put the top on the carafe.
A teaspoon of coffee had made it into the pot. The rest was everywhere.
I noted my husband's indiscretions, like any fastidious wife, and added to his petty
crimes: one puddle of coffee on the counter, a smaller one on the floor, and a wad of soggy,
coffee-covered paper towels spewing haphazardly from the trash can.
I flushed the grainy mess down the kitchen sink and went about preparing another
pot. As I did, I noticed smoke coming from the back yard.
What the hell?
I shuffled to the back door in my Eeyore slippers. Smoke billowed from the grill.
My big blue feet disappeared into an autumn color spectrum as I tromped through the leaves.
I shut the grill off, and turned.
I turned back, and hit the ignition.
The grill roared to life.
I'll be damned.
The orchestrations of the coffee pot greeted me upon my return to the kitchen, which I
found pleasing. I was tired and a bit pissy, which totally messed up the Zen-like feel of my
much needed day off.
My bladder awoke, and I panicked. I needed to pee, but roommates didn't meet in the
bathroom, they met in the kitchen, so I risked dialysis, and plopped down into my favorite
chair. I crossed my legs to within an inch of their life, closed my eyes, and covered my ears,
thus drowning out the teasing trickle, as the last of the coffee drained from the pot's innards.
I couldn't face my naked husband. Not today.
Finally, the water stopped and I heard the shower curtain, the tinny ringing of the
metal hooks as they sailed over the rusty pipe on which the flowered fabric hung. I flew
from the chair to the bathroom. Tom exited; I entered.
“Morning,” Tom muttered.
“You left the grill on,” I mumbled, slamming the door.
I stood in the quintessential shit hole that was my bathroom, and I could hear my
husband breathing on the other side of the door. I waited until I heard him walk away, and
plopped down on the old green commode.
Nightly, I prayed for the HGTV fairies to visit my bathroom. Once again, they hadn't
come. I imagined their handiwork, a transformation of magical proportion, new fixtures,
plush towels, flickering candles and scented soaps. It existed only in my mind, but the
current bathroom worked with the rest of the house, a twelve-hundred square foot, ready-to-
be-condemned rambler filled with junk, hand-me-downs, and misery.
I had inherited the house ten years ago from my Aunt Ida, a feisty, old gal with purple
hair and poor eye sight, who smelled like banana bread and moth balls. I loved the house,
not because it was nice, but because it held memories, because it had been Aunt Ida's.
I had planned to remodel, but never got around to it. The days passed, I couldn't
muster the motivation, and so the house remained as it was, with one exception -- the missing
strips of wallpaper Tom peeled from the bathroom wall each time he sat on the john.
I returned to the kitchen. Tom had helped himself to a cup of fresh coffee.
“Sorry about the grill,” he muttered as I filled my coffee mug.
“What's with the tie?” I asked, returning to my perch on the kitchen chair.
“Yeah, it's terrific,” I said, my voice flat. In truth, it wasn't that bad. Black tie, orange
pumpkins. Nice mix of seasonal and asinine.
“My mom got it for me last year. Never had much use for it, but I guess with
Halloween this weekend, it works. Do you think?” Tom asked.
“It's okay,” I replied with a chuckle, as a childhood memory picked at my brain.
“You're making fun of me,” Tom said, smiling weakly.
“No. I was remembering something,” I admitted.
“What?” he asked, sitting across from me.
“I was thinking about the year I dressed up as Mona Lisa for Halloween.”
“Seems appropriate,” Tom said, looking amused.
“I think I was eleven. I shaved my eyebrows, which was a total waste, because no
one even knew who I was supposed to be.”
“They grew back,” Tom said, as his eyes met mine. He held my gaze, and for a
moment I thought he saw me. “So, what are you gonna do with your day off?”
“I'm going to remodel the bathroom.”
“Really?” he asked, incredulously.
“No, not really. But it's a good idea, don't you think?”
“What about the wallpaper?”
“It's gotta go,” I said softly.
“Seriously? I like it,” he admitted, sounding shaken.
“I like peeling it. I guess I could do crosswords instead.”
“Why not,” I said, thinking it was the most ridiculous conversation I'd ever had with
another human being.
“So, what are you really doing today?” Tom asked, putting his back to me as he rinsed
his coffee cup.
“I might sort through some of that stuff in the garage later.”
“Because it's a mess, Tom.”
“Everything's a mess here,” Tom mumbled, sounding defeated.
“No kidding,” I said, sounding pathetically agreeable.
“I guess it's up to you what you do with your time off. I gotta go. I have someone
picking up a nice, used Saturn in less than an hour,” he said, turning toward the window.
“Oh, jeez. Thurman's out there.”
“One day you should tell him off,” I suggested.
Thurman Pippin stood in his front yard in a flannel shirt and his pajama bottoms. He
held a pink dog leash, connecting him to a chihuahua near his feet, a miserable ankle-biter
the old bastard adored, because it had belonged to his late wife, a yet-to-be-canonized saint
who had died last year.
“He thinks we killed Ida,” Tom reminded me.
“He's a freak,” I complained, turning to the window. Thurman was the bane of my
existence, of our existence, the single thing Tom and I had in common. Thurman Pippin.
Aging militant. A man who made my life a living hell. He'd retired when Aunt Ida was
alive, and I had no idea how much longer he might live, because I couldn't have guessed his
age, no matter how large the prize. The closest I could come was somewhere between
infancy and dirt, and that wouldn't win me a plastic yo yo.
Thurman was the ultimate neighbor from hell and his obsession with us had grown
with each passing year. He was positive we'd murdered my great aunt.
No one killed Aunt Ida. She had passed away in her sleep at the age of ninety-two.
Tom and I had arrived for dinner later that same day. I knew something was wrong the
moment we stepped into the house. The television blared the Home Shopping Network, and
there was Aunt Ida in her Barcalounger, covered by an old afghan, dead as a doornail. I
remember screaming and clinging to Tom. I do not remember committing murder.
I scowled at Thurman, and I thought he saw me. I recoiled from the window, and
Tom did the same.
“Asshole,” my husband muttered.
Tom stood at the mirror in the foyer, and the clear blue eyes in the reflection there,
met mine. Our eyes held for another moment, until he looked away.
There's still something there.
The man in the mirror was attractive, and sad. His blond hair was perpetually messy,
yet perfect for the man whose appearance seemed unaltered despite the passing of time.
He stepped back into the kitchen. I looked at him.
“I forgot my brownie,” he said, taking the individually wrapped pastry from the
counter. “Is Thurman gone?”
I braved another glance at my asinine neighbor. “Yeah, he's gone.”
“Have a nice day,” I said softly.
“You, too,” he said, stammering as if there were more he wanted to say. I knew there
was, but he didn't say it. Neither of us did. We pleaded the fifth, at every opportunity, for the
fifth consecutive year. It had to stop.
I heard him on the porch, and I ran to the foyer and opened the door he'd just closed.
“Tom?” I whispered, and he turned, his eyes registering surprise.
“Will you hug me?” I asked, willing myself not to cry.
“There doesn't have to be a reason. I'd like you to hug me.”
He felt familiar, and stood stiller than a cadaver. It was like being hugged by a third
cousin, twice removed, who'd flown in from Wisconsin for a once-a-decade Siggs reunion.
The embrace was obligatory, almost cold.
I felt worse. “Thanks,” I mumbled.
“No problem,” he said.
He strolled down the sidewalk, his right hand in his pocket, his eyes registering shame
as they made contact with the asinine car in our driveway.
When Tom wasn't holed up in rural hell with his unhappy wife, he was serving time
as a salesman for the Bucks County Auto Super Store. The automobile outside our house
was their pride and joy. It was ridiculous, but appropriate. The vehicle was a late model
Toyota, replete with a deer head -- sporting over-sized resin antlers -- attached to the roof,
above the windshield. A bushy white tail was adhered above the lock on the trunk.
Plastic legs protruded from the front and rear bumpers. It was supposed to look like
a majestic creature prancing along the roads of Bucks County. It didn't.
Tom's professional life had come full circle. He was just as emasculated by this job
as he'd been in high school, when he'd danced around in August heat, in a chicken costume,
advertising the local barbeque, until he fainted and was rescued by two pedestrians in their
The chicken costume was long since retired, set aside with all the dreams my husband
once had for his life. He wanted to do more, be more, and once, long ago, we'd snuggled in
bed and talked of the things we'd be. We were none of those things, and I sighed deeply, and
wondered what the hell happened.
I returned to the kitchen, refilled my coffee mug, thrust two slices of limp, white
bread into the old toaster, and forced its plug into the grimy outlet. The toaster shook, the
bread shot out like a cannon, and flames leaped from the left slot.
“Jesus,” I said, as the toaster vibrated, launching crumbs from its bowels, like bits of
confetti. I wrapped my hand in a stained dishtowel, whispered a quick goodbye to those I
loved, and unplugged the Westinghouse fire trap.
It was moments like this when I wished my dad was still close by.
He and my mother lived in a retirement community ten miles outside Miami, Florida.
Dad had been a music teacher, who was basically tone deaf. What he could do was fix stuff.
One could give my father a rusty pile of shit, and George Harrison, who resembled the
legendary Beatle in face, not talent, would turn it into a rocket ship. I missed him. A lot.
I dropped the towel on the table, and looked out the dirty window at small-town
America. Despite the horrendous condition of my old house, it was, in a sense, what I had
always wanted. There was a certain sweetness to the slowness of small-town living, and
Oxford Valley, Pennsylvania, the place I called home, was no different.
It was autumn in Pennsylvania, my favorite time of year. Trees bared in preparation
for winter, and a spring of new growth. It was quiet, and gradual, and it should have brought
me peace. Instead, it made me wistful. I closed my eyes and imagined the smell of autumn.
In reality, all I could smell was burning toaster, but the symbolism was nice.
Something moved, catching my attention. Thurman was back. I sipped the steaming
liquid in my cup and spied on my neighbor. Thurman spotted a piece of paper in his side
yard. He picked it up, wadded it in his fist, and turned toward my house.
What the hell is he doing? Oh, my God, he's not coming over, is he?
He toddled toward the road and tossed the paper in the direction of his open garbage
can. He missed. His face twisted with disgust, as he angrily bent forward, grabbed the
paper, and made another attempt. This time the trash hit its mark, but what was that?
I did NOT see that.
While Thurman had been focused on getting the paper in, something had popped out.
Oh, my God, I saw Thurman's junk!!
The age-old question of boxers or briefs, at least when it came to Thurman Pippin,
had been answered, and the answer was NEITHER! He went commando, but in his defense,
he was still in his pajamas.
I rose so quickly I knocked over a scarred kitchen stool the color of baby puke. I was
tempted to claw my own eyes out, but I expected to live another fifty years, and couldn't face
a lifetime of darkness.
“Holy cats, I saw Pippin's pecker!” I said out loud. I laughed until I was breathless,
something I hadn't done in years, then scanned the counter for my cell phone. I found it
buried beneath a Fangerhouse catalog addressed to Ida, and dialed Tom. My call went to
voice mail. I left a message.
“Tom, it's Mona. No one died. Call me back.”
I dropped the phone into the pocket of my robe, which had been Aunt Ida's. Time had
faded the Pepto Bismol pink to a pleasant shade, and had the robe been absent of coffee
stains and cauterized holes from Aunt Ida's Pall Mall cigarettes, it might have been nice.
I wore it anyway.
I headed for the bathroom, opting for a shower while I waited for Tom's call. I closed
the door, and stood before the full length mirror on the wall.
I looked at myself, seeing myself in a way I normally didn't. While I'd been poking
fun at Tom for his taste in ties, he'd been looking at this?
Some things improved over time. Obviously, I wasn't one of them. I was only thirty-
four years old, much younger than the thing in the mirror.
“Mona Lisa Harrison Siggs,” I said aloud, expecting some sense of recognition to
come with the speaking of my name. “Who are you?” I whispered, and the thing's mouth
The thing in the mirror was not me, it was not the grown version of a little girl born to
an art teacher and music teacher, ten years after they'd abandoned any hope of having a child.
I was an unexpected gift, the most precious thing in the lives of two people I called Mom and
Dad. Mom, with her affinity for art, which had evolved from the Louvre in her twenties, to
paint-by-numbers in her seventies, and Dad, with his old Victrola, repaired by his own hands,
complete with a collection of old records that filled his life with scratchy music written by
some of the world's greatest composers.
I was once nothing more than a dream in the mind of two aging teachers. I'd become
Mona Lisa, beloved child. A girl who, if born a boy, might have been called Beethoven. I
was their most precious gift. Now I was this?
What in the sam hell?
I was surprised when my eyes filled with tears, and I lifted the robe to wipe them
away, feeling a crusty hole graze my left cheek. I was horrified by the image I saw in the
Did this person ruin my marriage?
The thing in the mirror was not the woman Tom Siggs had married.
Where was she?
Where did she go?
I held my own gaze for ten minutes and tried to psychoanalyze my failings, the task a
failing in its own right. I wasn't a therapist. I was a WalMart cashier!
Once, I thought I'd be a book editor, or a journalist, strolling the streets of New York
City, carrying a briefcase and an overpriced coffee. Now I worked at WalMart. I didn't look
down upon WalMart employees, in fact, it was in the “blue-aproned sector,” where I'd met
some of the finest people I'd ever known. It wasn't the job that had let me down, it was me.
I'd failed to meet my own modest expectations.
Repulsed, I fled from the mirror, into the safety of my bedroom, but nostalgia wasn't
willing to free me just yet. My eyes were drawn to an old Polaroid photo, taped to the
bedroom mirror. I averted my eyes from the thing that had followed me into the bedroom,
and removed the fading photo. In the dim lighting it was barely visible, but I didn't need to
see it. I'd memorized the moment. Fifteen years had passed since the camera captured two
young lovers in their third week of romantic bliss.
We'd been students at Penn State. I was a sophomore, studying journalism; Tom, a
senior, a music and drama major, who dreamed of becoming a teacher. I'd met him in a park
on an ordinary day that changed my life. Forever.
I moved to the window, and the sun cast its light upon my treasure.
“Hey,” I said to the familiar faces in the photos. Tom and I looked hopeful, happy --
younger, more optimistic versions of the grown-ups we'd become. There was an inscription
on the back. It had held up well, better than the faded picture, better than the people in it.
Me and the man I will marry.
A lot had happened since that day.
In fact, I'd never finished anything. I was the queen of unfinished business, unmet
goals, unfulfilled dreams.
I deserved a fucking tiara!
I plodded back to the bathroom, and sat on the toilet seat. “What happened to us?” I
asked the people in the photo, both of whom remained silent.
Tom no longer paid attention to me. I merely occupied the same space he did, and
was no more or less significant than a couch. He didn't see me, but how could I blame him?
Look at what I looked like!
My strawberry-blond hair looked like a retired Ronald McDonald wig. I no longer
bothered with makeup, and couldn't remember the last time I'd worn anything but khaki
trousers, a blue apron, ragged jeans on the weekend, or my red sweat pants when I wanted to
feel dressed to kill.
I looked at my feet, at the nail polish that was barely visible, and only on my big toes.
What is going on with this? Am I in some stupid contest to see how long it takes nail
polish to fade?
I used to wear high heels all the time, increasing my five-and-a-half-foot height, two
or three inches. Now I covered the ruined pedicure with worn Keds. My body was still firm
and slim, but I hid it beneath rags, and not because I couldn't afford clothes, but because I no
What the hell happened to me?
My pocket vibrated. It was Tom. “Hi,” I said, fighting back tears.
“Hi. Is something wrong?”
You know there is, and it's my fault. “No,” I lied. “I had to tell you something.”
“Talk fast. The Saturn people are out front.”
“I saw Thurman's junk,” I said through a giggle.
“In our garage?”
“Pippin had junk in our garage?” Tom asked.
“No. Junk, Tom! Do you know what junk means?”
“Our house is filled with it.”
“Tom Siggs, I saw Thurman's penis fall out of his pajama pants!” I nearly shouted,
and my husband gasped.
“What was he doing in our garage?” Tom whispered.
“None of this happened in the garage, Tom.”
I recited the story and when I was done my husband was laughing as hard as I was. It
was a delightful sound, and I couldn't remember the last time I had heard it.
“Mona, I have to go,” Tom said, his voice lighter than it had been in a long time.
“Have a good day.”
“That was a funny story.”
“Thanks for calling, honey.”
“You're welcome,” I squeaked, my breath catching on honey.
Tom disconnected. I turned on the water in the tub and stepped back to let it warm.
While I waited, I returned to the kitchen with purpose in my step. I set my phone on the
counter, shrugged off the old robe, and threw it in the trash. I would never wear it again.
I walked back toward the bathroom. I shed my tattered sweat clothes, and stepped
into the tub.
Something had happened. Some wound I had made, that we had made, a wound
made by lost dreams, and dissatisfaction – something between us began to heal.
Thank you for visiting and reading my review, I hope to see you again soon!