Finally, I finished the story prompted by Tracy Chapman’s song “Give Me One Reason.” I hope you like it.
by Fay Moore © 2012
Stacy swirled a circle on the steamy mirror with her hand. The skin on the back of it caught her attention, and she stopped moving the extremity mid-circle to push her palm flat to the glass. She studied the way the skin wrinkled in fine lines, sagging a bit. Veins bulged like mountain ranges across a plain. Her eyes shifted from her hand to the face in the mirror. She leaned in to look closer. The marks on her face were more pronounced. Her forehead was furrowed. Using her fingertips, she traced crow’s-feet at the corners of her eyes and creases across the bridge of her nose. Moving lower, her fingertips rested on her mouth, where she noted for the first time that lines radiated from her lips like sunbeams.
Stacy straightened, realizing her posture was slightly slumped. She pulled her shoulders and head back, forcing the top of her head toward the ceiling. She was shocked that she gained another inch or two in height. Aging was coming on hard.
Still naked from her shower, she shuddered at the thought of continuing the examination. Nevertheless, she wiped away more steam from the glass, then stood to assess herself.
Her breasts, though small, sagged. The skin around her navel frowned at her, the weight of her tummy pulling the edges down. She turned sideways. Instead of the once straight arrow-like body she remembered, she saw a series of S-curves. Dimples pock-marked her hips and thighs. She’d seen enough. She turned away from the mirror and wrapped herself in a terry cloth robe, her hair in a towel.
She moved to her closet, pulling out what she planned to wear. She thought about the work day ahead. She had a full docket of criminal cases. Back to back, she would defend people she disliked–and disregarded in the world outside the courtroom. She hated her job, but it provided her with a good living.
Stacy lived alone. She’d been married once. The marriage ended in divorce. Finding companions was tricky. All the men she admired were married or gay. That left her with a choice: being alone or sleeping with married men. At present she was in an on-again-off-again illicit affair with a married journalist. She liked him. She wanted him more than he wanted her. That hurt.
It was time to go. Stacy got into her car and turned the key. She thought about her lover as she drove, and she wished her cell phone would ring. She could call him. She had his number. He had hers.
But long ago, she promised herself she would not sell out completely to loneliness. She wanted to salvage a shred of dignity. The rules of her game were that he needed to call her. She wished he’d give her one reason to turn the car around. She’d call in sick.
She wished and wished.