In our last installment, Ethan the handyman had just completed a whirlwind tour of repairs through our columnist’s house. Just as she was putting up her feet at the end of a professionally and personally empowering week, the phone rang. Who called Sara? Read on!
To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.
Saturday, 1 p.m.
You will never believe where I am right now. I’m writing this from the beach! I’m in Sarasota for the weekend. How did I get here? My old friend Sherry called me and asked if I’d join her and a couple of friends at her in-law’s beach house for a ladies-only weekend. We flew here on her father-in-law’s PRIVATE JET (which was incredibly exciting, once I got over my gastric distress. I was petrified!).
Turns out I know the other two women, sort of: Sophie and Dina. Sherry knows them from the country club, but I never joined once I heard that the club had an unwritten rule prohibiting certain people from membership. And, frankly, I’m not interested in joining any kind of club that prides itself on exclusivity, no matter what the reasoning.
Given my ex-husband’s gallivanting ways, I’m not particularly surprised, just a little deflated to realize that Craig dated both of them. I mean, each of them, individually; actually, he may well have dated them both at the same time, literally. Anything is possible with that man, and these girls seem a little wild to me. I’d rather not think about it. I’m just going to enjoy this warm weather, the beautiful beach, and the sand between my toes. Bliss!
Saturday, 5 p.m.
Oh! I just found a text message from Ethan. He wanted to know how the repairs are holding up. I have to admit that my heart did a little flip-flop when I saw that the message was from him. I’m really trying to stay cool about this. I haven’t had a lot of luck with men lately and I’m feeling a little gun-shy. On the other hand, would he be texting me if he wasn’t at least a little interested? I mean, what handyman actually follows up to see how the repairs are doing? Even my doctor doesn’t do that!
Saturday, 9 p.m.
We’re back in the beach house now, surrounded by empty pizza boxes and wine bottles. Sherry, who happens to look spectacular, pulls back the hair around her ear to show us a scar, confirming what I’d suspected. She had a face lift, forehead lift, tummy tuck and lasers to remove her age spots. In other words, the Full Monty of cosmetic surgery. I always assumed I’d have at least a face-lift when the time came. (Yes, I am that shallow. Save the hate mail.) But now I can barely afford my hair stylist, let alone surgery.
Saturday, 10 p.m.
Everyone is relaxed and giggly now. The conversation starts moving in the direction I’ve dreaded: Craig. Dina says she knows I’m Craig’s ex-wife. Sophie, visibly tipsy, says something about him being fantastic in bed. Maybe if I were tipsy, too, I’d be delighted to talk about my ex-husband and his sexual prowess, but I’m not. And this conversation is making me uncomfortable, possibly depressed. They’re both younger than me and Sophie is gorgeous. Between the two of them they probably had more and better sex with Craig than I had in the last waning years of our marriage. I am trying to be pleasant while they exchange notes. Sherry can tell I’m uncomfortable and suggests we play Apples to Apples, one of the few party games I actually don’t mind playing.
I realize that after Craig and I split up, he joined a kind of subculture here in town which I will call “the players,” a core group of men and women who really seem to get around. Obviously, I chose a different path. As the ex-wife of one of these players, I am almost a celebrity myself. “Oh, so you were married to Craig?” I get that a lot.
It’s also unnerving to think that this player used to be my husband, a faithful (if flirtatious) stable family man. It makes me sad to think that marriage must have been like a straightjacket for a man with the heart of a lothario.
I’m back in my room now. I find my cell and discover that I’ve missed a text message. Ethan?
Speak of the devil: It’s from Craig.
Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.
Her novel, Wife Living Dangerously, is now available. Click here to read the previous installment of “Single in the suburbs”.