Sunday, November 23, 2008


Thanksgiving is Beth Holly's birthday this year. She's turning -it's-no old. The Botox and Juviderm, good hair, dash of make-up, yoga practice and vegeterian diet have taken off at least 10 years. Her life is happy. She's fashionably dressed, well-married, devoted mother, traditional and gracious in manner, educated, and socially involved.

Just home from yoga class last Saturday, she stretched out on the navy/green/beige Egyptian living room rug and balanced a cup of hot tea on her stomach. She'd done it a hundred times before. The tea cooled a bit while she thought out the rest of her day's schedule. Then the dog barked. The cup of tea slid down her side and spilled onto the carpet.

The dog barked again.

"Please don't bark, "she pleaded. "You spilled my tea." She stared at the tea stain on the beige areas of the rug. A dishtowel would soak it up. She grabbed a couple from the kitchen drawer and got down on her hands and knees pressing her hands atop the towel, feeling the liquid.

Then she saw it. Her white yoga tank top had tea on it. She rushed to the bathroom and pulled it off. It had to soak in cold water with liquid glycerin soap. It will be fine, she thought. Just give it time. "My tank top is stained," she shouted to her husband.

"What's going on? I'm busy," her husband answered. His Baritone voice resonated from the living room.

"I spilled my tea," she confessed, shivering in her sports bra as she came back in the living room. "It slid off my stomach."

"I can see the stain, " he said. "You didn't get it all up. Get another towel."

"I need a shower after yoga. My face will break out, if I don't," Beth Holly said. "And my hair is a mess. I'm getting really tense." She stood there, riveted to the spot. "Maybe the stain won't come out," she said. "I've messed up the rug."

"I'll take care of it," her husband said, shoving her aside. "Why did you spill it?"

"It was an accident. The dog barked." Beth Holly was shaken to the core."Maybe the rug was like that when we bought it. And, we just never noticed. Do you think anyone else will see it?"

"Just go take your shower," he said." You'll be a mess otherwise. Do you want people to see you that way? Where is your pride?"

She hurried to the bathroom, locked the bathroom door, and began to cry. How could this happen to her? A stupid stain on the rug. In the shower, she recalled a song her mother sang. "I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair," Beth Holly sang, "I'm going to wash that stain right out of my rug...I'm going to..." she cried harder. She scrubbed her head, soaped and rinsed her entire body twice, using the hand held sprayer to rinse everything especially well.

As she stepped into her robe, she looked in the foggy mirror. She'd even forgotten to turn on the fan. Better that I don't see myself, she thought. It's best that I stay home today. I can't let anyone see me like this. Beth Holly removed her wedding ring before she put the styling gel in her hair and scrunched it up for curl control. Wiping her hands, she looked at the ring on the counter, then put it in her makeup case.

Beth Holly's body literally shook, inside and out. She sorted through her books on the bedside table. O Magazine caught her eye. Settling in the pale pink chaise near the window in the bedroom, she scanned the ads then began to read the first article, "'Ten Tips to be Happiness' Number 1. Don't let the little things get to you. 2. Know what's important." She could not read any further.

I can make a good cup of tea, boil an egg, and give a good back rub, she thought. Tomorrow's another day. It's just another birthday.

And that's true. To some extent.