Mom’s Night Out
by Alyssa Martin
It made Kara uneasy to watch people fake happiness. It was like watching someone get a shot. You knew it hurt them, but you had to watch as they put on a pain-free expression. That’s how it was with girls’ night, six women, all equally miserable, pretending their lives are fabulous. She wasn’t sure why she continued to go month after month. She knew by now what to expect. She was guilty of being a hypocrite. She also pretended life was perfect. She bragged about Gary as if he was beyond reproach.
“Gary is so hard-working. He just wants a better life for us than the one he had growing up. Who doesn’t want better for their children? I admire him for that,” she’d said on more than one occasion.
Translation- Gary has turned into a workaholic either because he suddenly realized that he loves accounting so much that he can’t bear to tear himself away, he is smart enough to realize that the office is a hell of a lot easier than bathing and putting three kids to bed or perhaps he had the hots for his new secretary.
What if she went to girls’ night and just spoke the truth? What would the other women do? What’s the point of having girl time if you have to lie the entire evening? They shouldn’t even need “girl time” if everything is so damn great. They make their lives sound like one nonstop Brady Bunch episode.
“Tonight I’m going to tell it like it is,” Kara said aloud to her reflection. She took her carefully selected girls’night outfit, a pale pink cardigan, kaki pants and a string of pearls, and tossed it on the corner chair. She decided to shake things up a bit tonight. She dug through some old tops from before baby number three. She had kept a few “before baby” clothes to remind her of the body she once had in hopes of finding it again. She chose a black tank top with lace outlining the plunging v-neck. She squeezed into it, stuffing her baby-fat boobs in snugly. She turned to her reflection. She didn’t look half bad. At least she had cleavage to be proud of. Maybe the slight roll of fat around her middle would be less noticeable with the breasts as a distraction. She grabbed the pearls on the chair. This contrast might help. A trashy black tank and pearls, she loved it. Now she needed some pants. Jeans, definitely jeans. She dug deeper into her closet to produce a pair of Levis she hadn’t worn in ages. She went to the bathroom to grab the scissors. She cut the bottom of the jeans to give them a jagged edge. Now for shoes. She had a perfect pair in mind. She pushed aside the loafers and found a pair of black open-toe sling backs with two inch heels which she wore to a wedding before the kids were born. She reached for the scissors and cut off the sling strap. A little red toenail polish, red fingernail polish and red lipstick, and she’d be ready to go. She took one final look in the mirror.
She wore her hair in a short blond bob with a cute clip pulling it back from her face. That wouldn’t do. She pulled out the clip, parted her hair on the side, and gave it a few squirts of hair spray. She tilted her head forward and gave it a shake. Much better, but there was still something not quite right. She took out the conservative diamonds studs, a ten year anniversary gift from Gary, and traded them for large silver hoops she held on to since her college days. Now she was ready for a night out.
When she went down stair to say goodbye to Gary and the kids Maddie said, Mom, you look really pretty!”
Kara kissed her on the head. “Do I look as pretty as the Little Mermaid?” she asked.
“Sorta,” Maddie replied, returning to her coloring book.
What did she expect? There was no competing with a seashell bustier. She made her way to Gary, Kyle, and Carter who were on the couch watching a DVD.
“Goodnight guys,” she said, getting no response. “Okay then, see ya later. Don’t wait up.”
“Oh, wait, Babe,” Gary called, putting one finger in the air as if to hold her still while he watched an all to important part in the movie.
Kara tapped her shoe, admiring her sexy red toes while waiting for the imminent car crash to occur on the screen. She didn’t have the energy to address the fact that the movie was not exactly appropriate for her seven and nine year old boys.
“Okay, Baby. Come give me a kiss,” he said, turning around to offer his lips up like a prize. “Woa! What is this?” he asked, waving his hand at her outfit.
“You’re all dressed up. You don’t get that dressed up when we go out,” he teased.
“You think I look dressed up? These are just old clothes I dug out of my closet,” she said, turning on her heels and heading for the door, not bothering with the kiss.
“Bye boys!” she called, closing the door tightly behind her. She wore a smile on her red lips for the entire twenty minute drive to the restaurant. She couldn’t wait to have a beer, instead of her usual Chardonnay, and tell the girls’ night women what she really thought.
Alyssa Martin: English teacher turned Mom, turned hopeful writer—We’ll see what comes next.