Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Larry Anderson was at the end of his rope.

It was a t-shirt and jeans sort of day. The sun was shinning overhead and a perfect breeze caressed his cheek, but all he could think about was how Cynthia was leaving him.

She was the perfect wife. Breakfast was hot and ready every morning along with a kiss to wish him well on his way to work. She kept their home spotless, despite the messes made by their three year old son, and was accommodating to Larry's every request. But after eight years of marital bliss, their love was coming to an end.

Cynthia had caught Larry with his pants down. Literally.

Their neighbor, Linda "The Minx" Moore, pranced around her front yard in a bikini top, daisy dukes, and kitten heels doing some gardening and other chores. She conveniently sprained her ankle walking on the rock path back to her front door and Larry was there to save the day. What started as an innocent gesture, turned into an invitation for lemonade, then snacks, then the removal of his slacks. He would never forget the look on his wife's face when she walked in on them in the kitchen during their "afternoon delight."

Now six months later, their divorce would be finalized that afternoon, but he had no plans on attending the signing.

Larry was going to jump.

He stepped onto the elevator of his office building and pushed fifteen. That should be high enough. Instant death was the goal, not a life long paralysis. He wondered how long Cynthia would grieve and what she would tell their son.

"Your father was an adulterous so and so!"

The shame wore on him like a ton of bricks. He prayed she would lie.

A tall slender woman got on at the fourth floor. She tried to make small talk, flashing a set of perfect white veneers, but Larry didn't respond. He was too busy admonishing himself for sneaking a gaze at her large breast, money well spent, and shied his eyes away from her long legs and five inch heels.

Cynthia used to wear heels like that.

Before Linda "The Minx" Moore. Before he realized how perfect his life was. Before he grew tired of said perfection and ruined the best thing he had ever gotten right.

The woman got off the elevator on seven, and Larry rode the rest of the way up alone. When he reached fifteen, his cell phone started ringing. It was Stan, his divorce lawyer, probably calling to see where he was. He silenced the ringer and headed for the office near the back corner that was always empty this time of day.  Having spent countless times there for Friday morning meetings for the magazine, it felt like being welcomed by an old friend.

The phone rang again.

Larry stepped inside and locked the door behind him. The window was ajar and leftover donuts boxes littered the conference table. It was just after one o'clock, making him a half hour late for the signing. He rescued the last glazed confection from a box and stuffed it into his mouth, wiping sticky fingers across his pant leg, and stared out the window at the beautiful Spring day.

He wondered how long it would take for word to get back about his "fall."

Larry lifted the window up and leaned way over its pane. Head first would probably be best.

The phone chimed once more and he pried it from his jeans with the intention on chucking it to the pavement below.

But he had a voicemail.

Hanging by his waist now, he dialed one and listened to the automated voice tell him he had five new messages.

"This message is for Larry Anderson. This is Susan from Dr. Monroe's office reminding you about your appointment o--" Message deleted.

"Larry, this is Linda, Linda Moore. I just wanted to know if you wanted to get together sometime for coffee and--" Message deleted.

"It's Stan. Where are you man? You better get down here in ten minutes or we--" Message deleted.

"Hey, its me."

Larry's heart nearly stopped. It was Cynthia.

"Look, I've been struggling with these divorce proceedings. It's been a real nightmare."

Larry hung to every word.

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss you. I think we should see a marriage counselor."

Larry's heart jumped for joy at her words, but his happiness was replaced with dread as he lost his footing. He tried to push himself back through the window but the weight of his legs was too great and he went tumbling out. He clung to the phone for dear life, desperate now to hear the rest of the message.

"-- I never thought it'd turn out like this, you know? Part of me feels responsible too--"

No, Cynthia, it's all my fault!

"-- I just want to try. We can still make things work, right?"

Larry twisted his body and shielded his head with his arms, helpless as the ground came speeding towards him.

Larry wanted to live. He wanted to tell his wife how much he needed to hear those words and that he'd do whatever it took to rebuild their marriage. He wanted to hold his beautiful son in his arms again. To call Linda "The Minx" Moore back and tell her she could kick rocks.

But it was too late. He squeezed his eyes shut just as he hit the pavement.

It was softer than he imagined it would be. It didn't even hurt.

Larry slowly opened his eyes, the ceiling fan whirling above him. Blinking in disbelief, he sat up and found himself entangled in his comforter on the floor. The alarm clock read 1:15. He must have fallen asleep. He ran a hand through his hair and let out a long, tired sigh. So he was late for the divorce proceedings after all.

Stan was going to be pissed.

Freeing himself from his bed linens, Larry grabbed hold to the nightstand and wobbled to his feet. Dusting white flaky donut icing from his jeans, he reached into his pocket and read the text from Cynthia awaiting him on the lock screen:

"The signing has been canceled. Did you get my message?"

Monday, March 30, 2015


They say hindsight is 20/20. Never before has that saying reigned true for me than when I became a married woman and a mother. My husband and I promise her the world and do everything in our power to make sure she gets it.

 Because she's ours, she deserves it.

And then I think of my father.

My father loves his children, let's lead with that. He led our house with a firm sternness that stems form a place of the genuine intent on raising us right. I respect him and would never allow anyone to speak poorly of him in my presence.

But, and there's always a but, Garrett Riley was a selfish man. His passions came before the needs of the family, which is how we found ourselves void of electricity because he just had to make one more bet. It's why we had to sacrifice our weeknights and Saturdays in an unsolicited job promoting a bar that was on its last leg.

Just like us.

It's the reason promises to Disney World and after school skating parties were answered with a locked bedroom door.

I wish I could say that I was being childish, that all kids want things to go their way.

But let's fast forward to my first summer home from college when my father demanded rent money to stay in my old bedroom after he and mom split. When he told her we didn't want our cherished porcelain doll collection, but it was him who dumped them in a dusty mold ridden attic.

The summer of sophomore year when he told me to take a year off from college because he made no plans to help me pay tuition.

And when I married the love of my life, he complained about having to pay for the reception dinner, the smallest expense of the entire wedding experience.

Truthfully, my husband has played the role of hero in my life since we met, a role Dad (never Daddy) chose not to make a priority in filling.

I love my father, and everything we've been through has helped mold me into who I am today.

So I will not make promises to my children that I can't keep. I will honor their childhood and invest in their dreams along side my own. I will make them a priority over my career and as long as they are in my care, I will not require money in exchange for shelter while they still depend on me.

Best of all, I will help my husband in his constant pursit of being our daughter's knight in shinning armor until she finally meets her prince charming.

And I can proudly say that my father taught me that.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


"Deana, what were you thinking?"

It was Saturday morning and the girls were looking for a place to park in the over crowded campus garage.

"Do you think we're gonna make it in time?" Avery asked from the backseat, pulling a pink volunteer t-shirt over her head.

"We'll be fine, it's still early." Maggie gripped the wheel and scanned the narrow lanes for an opening. "Deana, I'm talking to you."

"Why are you making such a big deal outta this?" Deana used the tiny visor mirror to touch up her lip gloss. "It's not like I killed somebody. Besides, I'm just following orders."


"Erica, our dean of pledges."

"What happened?" Avery tied her hair into a messy knot on top of her head.


Maggie tried to ease into a spot but was met with a handicap sign."Deana, spill." Grumbling, she backed the tiny smart car out and resumed her search. "We're in the same pledge class so you can tell us anything."

"Look, all I did was hang out with Charles Jacobs." Deana admitted.

"The president of Tri-Chi?!" Avery blurted. "He's such a pig!"

"Actually he's not that bad. Plus he's gorgeous. I'm chair for our mixer next week."

"Tell me you didn't sleep with him." Maggie cursed under her breath as the spot ahead was taken by a Fiat. She flipped him the bird as they passed by.

"Trust me. There was no sleeping that night." Deana boasted, biting her lip. "That boy is hung like a-"

"You little skank, I told you to stay away from him!"

"Look, you guys dated a million years ago. Get over it already."

"First of all, I DGAF about CJ. And secondly, you just screwed yourself."


Avery took a deep breath. "She's right, Dee."


"What I'm about to say doesn't leave this car, got it?"

Deana and Maggie exchanged glances and said OK.

"You know that website, Caught Ya Coeds?"

"That disgusting site with all those porn videos of girls on campus?" Maggie swerved out of the garage and drove back onto the road in search of another lot.

"Yeah. Well my video was supposed to be uploaded last semester, but I found out he was the one posting them."

"Who?" Deana snapped as Maggie attended to the notification going off on her phone.

"CJ. He gets girls up to his room where he has a hidden video camera in his headboard, and then posts them online the next morning. I found the camera and threatened to tell, but he said he'd release the video on every social media platform and you know once something  online, it's there forever."

"Yeah right. You really expect me to believe that?"

"Why would I make that up?! The only reason I'm not on there is because I know the truth, but if I tell, my reputation is over."

"I'll believe it whe---"


The sound of twisted metal filled their ears.

The windshield exploded as Deana was thrown head first through it, shards piercing their skin and shredding their clothes.

Maggie was pinned to the seat by a the steering wheel, her legs going numb, and Avery's eye bled from the shrapnel sticking out of it.

There wasn't enough time to scream as the second truck slammed into them, making the world go black.

When the investigator was questioned about the cause of the accident, he shook his head as he held up a bloody cell phone.

"Texting while driving."