The coffee shop job and potentially dating a nice guy like Benny are great, but it’s not what she wants. Five years ago, she had dreams of living in New York and striking it big in the fashion industry. She imagined having guys ogling her, hanging off her arms. From their many conversations while working side-by-side, Sarah knows Benny is the type of guy who wants to settle down, which means marriage and kids. Seeing Zelda’s marriage and other people in her family who have been divorced or are still sticking it out, despite their mutual misery, isn’t encouraging.
“You’ve got your whole life ahead of you,” Grandpa used to tell her.
Grandpa. Sarah’s eyes mist over. Who am I kidding but myself? It was never about the fashion.
“Yeah,” Sarah mutters, sitting up. She reaches for her diary and spends the next ten minutes scrawling her thoughts and feelings in it. Her therapist encouraged her years ago to keep a diary, telling her that it might help sort out her thoughts. The happy girl who smiles at the world echoes a lonely inside. Sometimes, Sarah wakes from the nightmare that she’s a shell washed up on the seashore, her insides rotted away, and she’s just being tossed about wherever the current takes her.
She stops writing and sets the diary aside. Waking early and working so many hours is taking its toll on her, and before she knows it, Sarah drifts to sleep. Hours later when she wakes, she is surprised to find the sun much lower in the sky. Just as she’s about to turn on some music to drown out the world and her mind, Mrs. Wilcox calls her for dinner. With a sigh, Sarah drags herself to the kitchen to endure her parents’ questions about her day and their plans for her future. It’s a conversation they have almost every evening, and Sarah plays the part well–answering questions in rehearsed fashion and keeping that smile plastered to her pretty face.
By the end of the day, she’s exhausted in every sense of the word. She collapses into bed, its warmth and softness the most inviting thing she’s encountered all day.