Please welcome my guest blogger, fabulous friend and wonderful writer, Jenyer Matthews! Take it way, Jenyfer...
Tis the season for family vacations. Having just begun a five week long round-the-
world vacation with my own two children, traveling from Egypt to northern Minnesota,
got me to thinking about the family vacations I took with my parents way back when.
My children don’t know how good they have it.
For starters, the distance on our vacations these days is generally covered by modern vehicles like airplanes and my children have many distractions to entertain them from the monotony of the journey –like Gameboys and Nintendo DS, CD players, and even TV screens in the seat backs of the plane which display at least a dozen child appropriate movies, plus more games. Snacks are delivered to their seats and there is a bathroom available whenever they want it.
Back in my day, we spent a couple of weeks each summer in the upper Midwest, which we reached by driving up from southern Louisiana. There were no hand-held gaming systems – hell, for many years there wasn’t even any air conditioning. Music? We were lucky if we could catch anything on the radio other than farm reports. I had my bed pillow – which I napped on by sitting on the floor of the car (no seat belts) — and a couple of stuffed animals. Our big entertainment was getting truckers to honk their horns as they went past. If we were feeling creative, we’d make our stuffed animals dance for the people driving behind us. When we got a little older we’d write “Help! We’re being kidnapped!” on a paper bag and hold it in the window and try to look pathetic – which must not have been that effective based on the laughter we got in return (back in those days you could still be fairly sure that messages like that were indeed a joke). I still remember going into Stuckey’s truck-stops with trepidation and associate the memory with my elbows sticking on the tabletops.
Mostly I relied on my imagination for entertainment. I had read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books multiple times and I liked to look over all the farmland we were passing and imagine it as prairie and that I was riding in a covered wagon rather than an old Chevy Impala with hot vinyl seats.
I still enjoy traveling, but these days it’s mostly by airplane. My imagination is still a major diversion – airports and the people I see while traveling inspired my latest book, SEPARATION ANXIETY. I started out wanting to write a chick lit book about a couple of friends who take a trip and have quirky misadventures. My main character, Aurora, ended up wrestling the story out of my hands and dictating it to me in her own voice. It started out a bit more serious than I had planned as a major crisis sparks Aurora’s travels with her best friend Kat, but they end up having a lot of fun along the way as they make their way across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia at Christmastime.
SEPARATION ANXIETY is available in multiple digital formats from Smashwords.com (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/17291) including for Kindle, Sony, and Apple and if you purchase by July 31, you can get 25% off the cover price by entering SWS25 at checkout. Look for SEPARATION ANXIETY at other major digital outlets and in print soon on Amazon. Do me a favor – even if chick lit isn’t your genre, please request SEPARATION ANXIETY at your local library (end plea).
Sometimes running away is the first step toward finding yourself.
Aurora has spent her entire married life transforming herself from a regular, middle class girl into the perfect society wife. Life seems perfect until she is unceremoniously dumped by her philandering cliche' of a husband just before Christmas - and their tenth wedding anniversary.
Devastated and unable to face the social ostracism or the holiday parties, Aurora and her best friend Kat plan a trip to Amsterdam for a weekend...then decide to keep going. Aurora attempts to drown her sorrows with wine in Amsterdam and Frankfurt, finds her anger in Athens and Cairo, and reclaims her sexuality in Dubai. By the time she and Kat reach Bangkok at the New Year, Aurora is ready and eager to move on with her life.
Planned as a way to escape her pain, Aurora’s travels instead become a journey to a new
sense of self and a whole new world - post-divorce.
I have to admit I feel marginally better once I have eaten a little and take a shower. My world has been turned on end but nothing is going to change if I neglect to wash my hair.
I walk back downstairs wearing my fleece yoga workout set — the most comfortable thing I own — my wet hair combed back from my face. I don’t have the energy to blow-dry it. For a change, I don’t care what I look like.
“That’s an improvement,” Kat says, looking up from the magazine she is reading. “Though I’ve seen you look better.”
“I can always count on you for a kind word,” I say as I sit on the end of the couch and wrap my arms around my knees.
“What are friends for?” Kat says with a smile. “Okay, I’ve been thinking about what we need to do next.”
“I can’t wait to hear this.” Kat doesn’t deserve my sarcasm, none of this is her fault, but she’s too good a friend to call me on it.
“First, you need to find a lawyer. If Bryce is going to walk out on you, then you need to protect yourself and make sure you get what’s coming to you.”
I frown. “A lawyer? I don’t know. That seems so… confrontational.”
Kat looks me in the eye, as serious as I’ve ever seen her. “As opposed to dumping you in a restaurant with his girlfriend hanging on his arm? Do you really think you still owe this guy anything? You give him ten years of your life, become the perfect wife and hostess, and he thinks he can just dump you for a younger model?”
“It could just be temporary — maybe he’s having a midlife crisis,” I argue. “Maybe it’s just a fling.”
“Not your concern,” Kat says. “Get a lawyer.”
“Easy for you to say — you’ve never been married.”
“True. But if I ever were, I’d never let someone walk over me the way Bryce is walking over you. For all you’ve put up with you deserve the house and hefty settlement at the very least. Please tell me you didn’t sign a prenup?”
“No.” I rest my chin on my knees. She’s not telling me anything I shouldn’t have thought of myself, but it’s still hard to accept. “You think he’s really gone? For good? Maybe we could still work things out.”
“Seems to me his message was pretty goddamn clear.”
I close my eyes against a fresh stab of pain and sigh. “I guess.”
“In the meantime, there are some things we need to do,” Kat says. “The first thing is to get the locks changed.”
“Oh, Kat, I’m not sure…”
“Bryce left home. If he wants to come back, don’t you want it to be on your terms? Send a message of your own.”
I nod. “Okay. You’re right. What else?”
“We need to go to the bank and open an account.”
“Why? I already have a bank account,” I say.
“On your own? Without Bryce’s name on it?” She waits a beat then says, “I didn’t think so.”
“Bryce would never be so vindictive,” I argue.
“Really? Are you sure?” Kat asks. “People get pretty funny when money is involved. Think of it as an insurance policy. When you guys settle up, you can declare it and share it if it makes you feel better.”
I can feel my chest tighten in anxiety. Would Bryce really do that to me? Yes, he had left me for someone else, but would he try to leave me destitute as well? I remember how cool and collected he wa as he packed his bags. I thought I knew him, but maybe a little insurance isn’t such a bad idea. “Okay.”
“The last thing we need to do is go shopping.”
“What on earth do I need to go shopping for?”
“You need to get out of the house and forget yourself for a while. A little retail therapy never hurt anyone,” Kat says. “Where’s the phone book? We’ll make an appointment with a locksmith. I’ll bet we can get them out this morning if we pay extra.”
Separation Anxiety - Now Available