Lizzie’s Letter

Wind Chime Beach.
Three women facing impossible choices.

Sara Jane, a fifty-something mother.
Her daughter, Rachel.
And Rachel’s best friend, Lizzie.

If I get stuck writing a character, I sometimes have them write a letter. Like a diary entry.

This is Lizzie, writing a letter to herself…

I don’t know really how to describe my husband—okay, ex-husband—David. He’s one of those really good-looking men. The kind who’s liable to show up at his son’s soccer game with his suit jacket casually thrown over his shoulder and his tie loosened. He has that impossibly boyish face in a Rob Lowe type way. I doubt if he’ll look old when he’s 75.

Everyone in high school wanted to be his friend. Or his girlfriend. Or at least sleep with him. He took advantage of all of that, but it seemed like no one ever knew they were being used. I still don’t know how he does that. Uses people, throws them aside, and they sit there blinking in the sunlight, not sure what hit them. But rarely do any of them get upset with David. Because somehow, someway they figure it must be their own fault.

I’ve seen him be gentle with a new puppy and I’ve seen him be absolutely ruthless about things that don’t matter. Like a softball game.

No one was more surprised than I was when he asked me out after Rachel introduced us. You know, after Rachel. As opposed to before Rachel. Anyway, my first date with him was magical. He was such a gentleman. None of that reach and grope stuff. We talked. We laughed. It was out at a cookout by the lake. I was so nervous. I felt like everyone was looking at me and wondering why in the world was David Duncan out with Lizzie Timmons?
Anyway, for some reason, David fell for me. Hard. He’d bring me flowers and little gifts. Pick me up from work. Sit with me in the library and do homework, always holding my hand. Always paying attention to me. Listening to me. I’d never, ever had anyone in my life who’d listened to me like that. Certainly not my parents.

We dated for two years in high school. Then he went off to college while I stayed home and worked and did some classes at the community college. Eventually, we ran off and got married before we even told my parents I was pregnant. We moved into married student housing. It was crappy, but it was mine. I painted the walls. Some neighbors gave us a crib and highchair. I thought life was wonderful. I worked, exhausted, and cooked and cleaned and tried to make everything as smooth as possible for David. I started down a long slope of always being the one who did everything. Made it easy on David. He never had to get up with the baby. He never cooked, cleaned, or anything. I did it all. I was just so grateful that he still wanted me.

And we were happy back then. He graduated business school and got a great job. Everything was going his way. He actually said one of the reasons he got his job was his employer thought he was a serious responsible guy with a family.

Then we started years of the same dance. I thought he was fairly happy. I was. I had more than I’d ever hoped for. A great son, a husband who made good money, and a really REALLY nice house after about five more years.

I got swept up in PTO, volunteering, and driving my son to sports. Always sports.

David climbed the corporate ladder. I learned how to throw a dinner party from Sara Jane. Rachel took me out shopping for clothes. I have terrible taste in clothes she told me. I always accepted her help. I wanted David to be proud of me.

Then one day, without so much of a bit of warning, he came home and said he didn’t love me, and he was moving out. I mean, I know they say that most women will sense that something is wrong, something is coming. But I sure didn’t. Not. At. All.

A month later I saw them out at the mall. I could not believe it. The girlfriend was, honestly, plump, lousy at doing her makeup (Rachel was with me and agreed), and well, she was frumpy. But I saw them from afar before they saw me, and I could see in the way he looked at her…that I had no more chance with David Duncan. He had moved on and cut me out of his life.