Zoe & Sophia Dance Half-Naked for an Interstate Webcam Audience and Contemplate Moving to Florida as the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being
PLEASE send your advice to two single women, whose lives are suddenly crashing in chaos! Zoe and Sophia, BFFs for thirty years, find themselves unexpectedly cast into the world of re-creation and redefinition after decades of being faithful wives to George and Marty. They need advice from anyone willing to offer it. For instance, what advice would you give your BFF were she to ask, “IF YOU MOVE AWAY, WHAT WILL I DO?” Any advice you can give to Zoe would be helpful, but this is what Sophia said.
Late one afternoon Sophia sat at the dining room table in her large 1770s home on a lake in New Hampshire. She leaned into her laptop, working on the manuscript of a mystery that was in the last stages of editing before she could send it out to publishers and agents. In the eleven months since she was laid off as a reporter, from a newspaper where she worked for twenty years, she wrote two books and was well on her way to a third. Unfortunately, her ability to work effectively was interrupted five months before when her husband Marty left her for his girlfriend, Fugly, as Sophia called her. Writing kept Sophia from living on Planet Nuts permanently because when she wrote, she was able to manage the grief. But the minute she stopped, even for a few hours, she crashed. And it didn’t help that she was beginning to feel discouraged about selling her work. So far, she had received only rejections except by one literary agent who, at least, agreed to read her first completed manuscript.
Agents and publishers were not Sophia’s problem that afternoon though. It was her huge Maine Coon cat Tolstoy who wanted attention. He sat on the table next to her, giving her the evil eye because he thought he was hungry. Tolstoy had an eating disorder. He captured and ate all small living creatures, from mice to crickets to birds, and devoured everything else even remotely edible in the house. Sophia wasn’t the only one suffering from her marital split. Tolstoy started his compulsive eating shortly after Marty left and took the dogs with him. Marty still refused to let the border collies, Voltaire and Dickens, visit with Sophia and Tolstoy. Voltaire and Dickens raised Tolstoy from the time he was a poor abandoned kitten, whose mother was unable to nurse him. Sophia fed Tolstoy with an eye dropper back then, just to keep him alive, but it was the dogs who were his big brothers, and Tolstoy missed them something wicked.
Tolstoy butted his head against Sophia’s arm a couple of times, thinking Sophia was being awfully insensitive to his needs. He figured he’d show her a thing or two and leapt on to her keyboard, deleting an entire paragraph.
“Dammit, Tolstoy,” groaned Sophia. Tolstoy was so heavy that Sophia had to stand up to leverage his weight off of the laptop. Just then, a brisk wind blasted into the dining room, followed by the clatter of Zoe and Sparky, her incontinent, stroke-impaired yellow Lab. The two ran inside away from the icy air and blankets of falling snow. Sophia held Tolstoy in her arms, but he was so heavy that her feet were planted to the floor. So, she couldn’t get out of the way when Sparky ran sideways toward her, catching her behind the knees. Tolstoy sprang from Sophia’s arms, but not in time for Sophia to catch her fall.