In this new interior world of hers, Martha feels the loss of a luster she once took for granted. Every day is a new chance to reinvent herself, however, so she begins: one day at a time, in this excerpt from Interior Designs.
When I woke up, my thoughts sifted through my mind slowly, like pieces of a dream. I could feel the sun through the spaces in the blinds, and I gradually saw my surroundings—my pink and white floral Laura Ashley spread, the matching shams, and other assorted pillows—and that normally blissful feeling started to descend. And then something jarred me fully awake. I sat up slowly, and the heavy cloak of despair fell down around my shoulders. My now-familiar life began to take shape.
When had my world morphed into this despair that seemed to follow me into every waking moment? Why did my sleep bring my only peace these days?
Just as the self-pity threatened to turn my day gray, I jumped out of bed and headed for the shower. No time for dark thoughts. I still had a daughter to care for and a business to run. Nothing could turn my world completely upside down—just because I’d been abandoned by the man I’d thought would be mine forever….
Stop those thoughts, I told myself, and tried to find something positive in the beautiful surroundings. Usually I found serenity in the carefully constructed world I had designed for myself, just as I did for my clients every day of my life; today would be no different. My gaze swept the room, noting with satisfaction that everything seemed orderly. I was one of those housewives—oops, wrong term these days!—who joyfully cleaned and restored order, if only to bring back the original design I had envisioned.
When things are askew, nothing looks beautiful….Were those my mother’s words?
I laughed, hoping the sound would remind me that my life wasn’t over.
In the shower, I allowed myself to enjoy the hot pulsating massage of the water, feeling the steam gradually taking away the cloak of despair, while my mind slowly filled up with thoughts of the beauty I could create in the world around me.
Someone had told me once, a long time ago, that pleasing visual images could do wonders for the mood.
I had barely finished my shower, wrapping myself in the luxurious toweling robe, when ten-year-old Meadow’s voice outside my room brought me back to reality. “Mommy, where’s my blue sweater? You knew I wanted to wear it today!”
Was that an accusatory tone in her sweet voice? When had she turned so shrill?
“It’s in your armoire,” I called out in what I hoped was a cheerful tone. “Just a minute and I’ll help you look.”
A few moments later, we had uncovered the missing sweater, settled Meadow’s backpack and other school supplies on her shoulder, and descended the stairs together.
Normally I was in the kitchen ahead of her, but lately, my days seemed to force their own mold around me.
My coffee had trickled its last drops into the pot and the aroma guided me toward the room. Turning on lights, I looked around, as if to mentally review my surroundings, and thus my life. I loved this room, which had been the center of my world for many years. Okay, so it had lost some of its luster, but I could change that. Wasn’t I the Domestic Diva? I chuckled to myself, my mood almost restored by my rediscovered sense of humor, and briskly put together Meadow’s breakfast.