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House of Mirrors: Chapter 16

Rachael Lavon

Gavi and Laylee argue about Gavi’s ambition. Gavi admits he’s never quite sure where they stand as a couple. Laylee’s reply reveals her loneliness

Thursday, February 02, 2017

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L aylee opened her laptop. The morning rush still reverberated off the walls around her, a putrid stench of guilt hovered in the air. Rikki’s hat hung perilously from the banister, a testament to the clashing of wills that had occurred. Cookie’s silver boot, the one with the giant glittery star, lay on its side near the door. Accusing.

There had been some yelling.

A little bit, then some more. I’ll take them to Stock N Socks in the afternoon. A few new accessories and all will be forgotten.

Cassandra was humming in the laundry room, Sarah still upstairs. Laylee focused on the open laptop in front of her. The cursor in the search bar blinked rapidly, expectantly, piling on the pressure… As if I need more stress in my life. She wiggled her fingers, and began typing: How to fix a marriage. For a split second, she toyed with inserting the word bad before marriage, but that would have been ridiculously inaccurate. Her marriage wasn’t bad. In fact, it didn’t even really need fixing. Just a teensy weensy tune-up. She deleted the whole thing and started over. How to make a great marriage even greater.

There. That felt better.

An ad popped on the side of the page “Win a free vacation to Turks and Caicos!!!!” She clicked on the photo. Saw a bright, sandy beach, glittering blue ocean, and one artistically placed palm tree.

That’s exactly what Gavi and I need! Just to get away from it all, go somewhere spectacular. She squeezed her eyes shut as the taste of saltwater rushed up around her. Sun-drenched days that drift seamlessly into lavender sunsets. Laylee heard footsteps and blinked rapidly, dousing the flames of fantasy. The truth was, they’d taken many vacations in their seven years of marriage. And we’re still in a great marriage… that could be greater. Vacations don’t solve anything.

“Morning.” Sarah headed straight for the fridge and took out a Greek yogurt, peering over Laylee’s shoulder.

“Turks and Caicos? How bourgeoisie, Lay. What happened to the cruise?”

“What cruise?”

“The Cruise! Did you check the family Whatsapp group this morning?”

It was a shtick her mother had. In order to up the suspense, she liked to announce the annual family winter-break destination only a few weeks before departure date, leaving just enough time to shop.

Her mother had always been fastidious about planning vacations. Growing up, they would often find her engaging some hapless travel agent, scribbling frantically. “… and the bathrooms are all en suite? No?! Well, thank you anyway….” It took months until she found that perfect spot, a chalet in the south of France, a mansion in the Bahamas, a private hotel in the Alps.

“A cruise? Oh.” Laylee’s heart sank. She was hoping for a private villa somewhere remote, where they’d need to bring along a personal chef. She and the dietician had finally worked out the perfect meal plan for Cookie, and the buffet on a cruise…

A cruise will ruin everything in an instant. Her new eating habits will disappear.

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