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The Unfinished Woman

One of many stories inspired by "The Unfinished Woman"


The Pink Lace Negligee

by Corinne Williams

How long can I stand here in front of this elevator door before I do what I have to do. There! It's done. I'm in and on my way to the Roof Top Garden Cocktail Lounge for what my children call a "We love your Homecoming Party". I dread seeing all my family, friends and neighbors. 

What on earth could I say to them? They all know what I am coming home from and why I was there. I was convicted of shoplifting in the lingerie department of Nordstrom's with a sentence of probation provided I spent 2 weeks in psychiatric clinic. My 2 weeks ended yesterday, and now they're all up there waiting for me to appear.

My children, my attorney and a close friend all supported me in court and all noted for the judge that I simply had had one brief moment of aberrant behavior and that I was truly remorseful. This explanation satisfied the judge, but when I got to the clinic it did not satisfy the psychiatrist. He said I needed to talk about what I had done. I told him that I knew exactly what I was doing at the moment and that I knew it was theft, Burt that I found it difficult for me to recall that moment without wanting to laugh. He insisted that I discuss what I was feeling and what I was thinking on that day. 

What was I thinking about on that day was that that was the day John left. I'd known for several weeks that he was leaving; but still seeing him close his suitcase, and hearing the lock snap shut, I was stunned. I walked to the window and watched him toss his suitcase in the back seat of his Ferrari, climb under the wheel and drive off without a backward glance. Standing there in my pajamas, looking down on that empty driveway, I was no longer stunned, I was devastated.

I thought about all the years I has kept and immaculate home, cooked sumptuous meals, raised three children, drove endless m miles back and fourth to little league games, ballet lessons, movies and concerts. I was a fixture at PTA meetings and school recitals. And, all of it, most of the time, alone. 

It was logical in the beginning. John was in Med school, then residency. He was the on call physician at the hospital. Then 7 years ago, he decided to become a heart transplant specialist. So it was Mayo Clinic for over a year. We sometimes saw him on weekends. I actually thought that this specialty would wonderful. Surely they don't do heart transplants every day and he would be home more. No, they don't do them every day, but when he wasn't operating, he was assisting other surgeons or lecturing at seminars and symposiums out of town. 

He always said that our time would come and it did. This is our time. The girls are living on campus at a university 750 miles away and John Jr. is in Med school in another part of the state. John now says that though it is our time, he needs to be on his own tom plan this own time. How utterly ridiculous; he has always been on his own time.

But way wasn't I happy or at least content? I had this big beautiful home, ,my health, my children, enough money every month to go anywhere, do anything, buy most anything. That's it, of courser, I'll get dressed. and go shopping and buy something pretty for me or the house. I know I use shopping as a panacea for my feelings of helplessness. I know that in this big house, every closet, every cupboard, every drawer was full to the brim. Well, so what I pay every bill in total every month without an interest charge or late fee. 

I turned from the window planned my day.  

The clock said 10:15; time enough to get to Nordstrom's, have lunch and do a little browsing. I'll put on a dress that's easy to slip in and out of and a comfortable pair of shoes. I went downstairs and headed toward the garage. I happened to catch sight of my face in the hall mirror. I looked dreadful, old and used up. I thought this is what John has done to me, and I became terribly depressed. It was just a mood I'd been through many times before, and I knew it would pass as soon as I felt my usual twinge  of excitement and anticipation that says I'm going shopping and what will I find today. Only on that day, as I neared the mall, I wasn't my usual twinge; it was a deluge of excitement, bedazzlement and laughter. A rush of musical laughter filled the car and seemed to beat about my ears. I felt incredibly cheerful. In this utterly strange and joyous mood, I p[ared my car and entered the store. I glanced around the she department and become lightheaded and awe struck by all the Spring colors. It wasn't that I wanted to try on shoes, I was simply happy ro be browsing and loosing myself in a whirl of expectations. It was as if I were moving on a gale of laughter with euphoria all around. I went up the escalator to the second floor lingerie dept. and there on a table was a pink lace thing and I knew exactly what I was going to do, but I thought the clerk would hear my laughter, but she didn't seem to notice me art all; so I picked it up; slipped in into my purse and walked out of the store. No, no. I didn't walk out of the store I glided out of the store as if I was a dancer, moving beautiful, melodious laughter; and then outside, as I started toward my car, a Nordstrom security guard barred my way. 


Oh my God! We're at the roof! The door its going to open!


"Oh hello everyone - thanks for coming"


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