Imperfect Truth(4)

By: Ava Harrison

I stand in front of the Keurig as the aroma of a perfectly brewed coffee infiltrates the air. A delicious and invigorating smell so savory my mouth waters. Filling my to-go mug and grabbing my Kindle, I exit my apartment.

My feet slip into a brisk rhythm as I step onto the sidewalk that runs adjacent to my building. When the moment is right, I walk toward the park entrance with the gold tarnished key in my hand. I notice a young woman sitting on the stoop along the fence holding a coffee and book, as well. Nodding to her, a morning greeting to my fellow reader, I turn the key. Stepping into the park, I’m transported into a far-away place long since forgotten in time.

Finding the perfect bench with an unobstructed view of the Edwin Booth statue, I bask in the splendor of the park. The lush surroundings are an ideal backdrop to my morning retreat. The only place I feel free is locked behind the gilded gates of Gramercy.

After about thirty minutes of uninterrupted reading, my cell phone chimes, indicating a new message on Facebook. Closing my Kindle and placing it on the bench next to me, I pull out my phone sliding my finger across the screen for access.

A window for Messenger is sitting there on the homepage. Ryder Matthews’s name is in bold black.

Ryder Matthews: Hey there!

My heart drums in my chest as nervous energy courses through my body. Ryder Matthews is messaging me again. What does he want?

Ava Readsalot: Hey, Ryder, How are you today?

Ava Readsalot: Something I can help you with?

Oh shit, I sound like a bitch. Fuck. Is it too late to throw in a smiley face?

Ryder Matthews: No, no I’m good. Just wanted to give you a heads up…My new book is up for presale. I’m going to send you the link.

Ava Readsalot: Oh, yes, of course. It would be my pleasure to post. Thanks :-)

There. Smiley face included. Oh my God, why am I acting like a high school girl? Why is this man I don’t know already giving me butterflies when we’ve hardly said two words to each other. Is it because he is famous? What is wrong with me?

As I prepare my witty repartee, I’m lured out of my thoughts by the sound of my phone ringing.

“Ava? Where are you?” He sounds irritated.

“Good Morning to you too, Alexandre,” I roll my eyes.

“We have brunch with my mother in a few minutes.” He informs me of this as if it is an everyday occurrence. It’s not, thankfully.

“Really? Can I skip it today? I’m not dressed.” Please, God, say yes.

“No, you can’t skip it. My mother is expecting you. I suggest you come home and make yourself presentable.”

His words cut into me, etching away at my already low self-esteem. My hands close into fists as I try to shake off the dejection I feel. I collect my belongings and hurry home. As I open the door, my body shivers at the shrill sound of her voice.

She had beaten me home.

“Well, look who decided to join us,” she says to Alexandre as she glances down at her watch and shakes her head. “A little tardy, and what is she wearing?”

Alexandre rises from the couch and walks over to me. “Would you please freshen up?” he says in a hushed tone under his breath.

With haste, I make my way into my bathroom, and within minutes my clothes are off and replaced with my classic black pants, a crisp white button down, and a face void of emotion. Sweeping my long dark locks out of my face, the transformation is complete. I’ve become the perfect Stepford wife.

The door to the bedroom creaks as I emerge into the hallway. Taking brisk steps, I find them sitting on the pristine white couch in the living room. Lenore sits aloof, a perfect ice sculpture in her iconic strawberry tweed Chanel suit. Her long ebony hair is blown straight, and there is no emotion on her botoxed face. Her thin lips purse as she takes notice of me entering the room. As she turns her long and delicate frame to Alexandre, a memory flashes through my mind from a few years back, right after we announced our engagement.

We sat at the rickety wooden café table at Bagatelle, a French Brasserie in the Meat Packing District. The air was crisp and refreshing, as the retracting glass walls were pulled open to enjoy the perfect fall day. Lenore sat across from me, pushing the food around her plate to keep up the pretense that she was actually consuming it. I had invited her to lunch to try to get to know her better, but the silence between us was deafening. Awkward and uncomfortable, I finally mustered up the courage to speak.