"We"ll give you three days to vacate the premises. If you remove anything other than your clothes we will bring you up on charges," the vulture informs me. My carcass has officially been picked clean.
Now if this was a sassy romcom, this would be the part of the story where I mount my comeback. Complete with a super cute montage of me going to the gym and sweating like a pig, me cleaning out my wardrobe and refrigerator, and me getting a new job. Playing in the background would be an ass kicking soundtrack featuring Chaka Khan in which she sings about how strong and powerful this new me will be. Spoiler alert: nothing of the sort happens.
"What about my cat" Am I allowed to take my cat" Or is he being clawed back as well"" My whole life has been dismantled by no fault of my own, and the rage that had been steadily simmering up finally hits the boiling point.
Exhaling his irritation loud enough to be heard in Alaska, the prosecutor steeples his salami like fingers and says, "You may take your cat and nothing else."
Frigging cat hates me. I"m taking him on principle alone.
"Did you take out the garbage""
"Did you pick up the milk""
"That"s the second time you asked""yes, I did."
"The two percent" Not the skim, right""
Holy mother of" "Yes. Now can I finish what I"m doing"""
"No need to get hostile. I"m just askin" a question."
She bows her head and wrings her hands as she walks the short distance from our small dining room to the kitchen. Cue the eye roll. Nobody plays the victim better than Angelina DeSantis. She could make Mother Theresa feel like a villain.
My eyes return to the screen of my father"s ancient laptop, which doesn"t support Flash, which of course makes it incompatible with nearly every website on the planet. I"ve resorted to scanning the job listings in the most arcane, back alley sites. Sites that include job listings like "seeking female massage therapists between the age of eighteen and thirty at the Happy Day Spa" and "receptionist needed at a gentleman"s only club".
Gentlemen, my ass.
"Stay busy," everyone said. "Go back to work. It"ll keep your mind off your troubles." Top of my troubles""not being able to get a frigging job. Piecing my life back together will without a doubt be a long and arduous process. And I"m harboring no false illusion that it will ever resemble what it once did""minus the scandal and the thieving husband, of course. I just never thought it would look this hopeless.
After my last visit to the federal prosecutor"s office in Manhattan, I went home, dropped my cell phone into the trash bin, huddled under the covers, and cried like I did it for a living. I mourned not only the loss of my lover and best friend, but also the death of everything I believed to be true. All those years"all those memories were a lie. My husband embezzled millions from anybody willing to trust him with their savings account. I lived it and it still sounds like the bad plot of a Lifetime movie to me. Unfortunately, though, it is not a Lifetime movie, it is the steaming pile called my life. I have the paperwork to prove it.
I emerged from my cocoon of despair not a beautiful butterfly, but rather a woman harboring more rage than was healthy. And it was all directed at one gender. Then I packed my bags and my cat, and made the pride-crushing journey back to my parents" house in a yellow cab because my BMW had already been repossessed.
Four months have passed since I"ve lost my home and my job. The house holds too many memories; I wasn"t entirely sad to see it go. The job is a different matter altogether. That hadn"t been my decision to make. The department of education thought it best for all parties involved if I just fucked off since some of the parents of my third graders had invested with Matt.
"Any luck, Punkin"""
My father places his calloused, knobby hand on my shoulder. I love my mother, I really do, but I"m my father"s daughter. I pat his hand and look up into sympathetic brown eyes. The same eyes as mine. Although he"s still handsome in a rugged way, Thomas DeSantis seems to have aged exponentially since the proverbial shit has hit the fan. Lately, he"s looking older than his sixty-six years.
I"m an only child, a miracle baby. I"ve heard the story a billion times. How I came along after ten years of marriage, long after my parents had stopped hoping to conceive. So to say that they have all their hopes and dreams in one basket is not an exaggeration.
"Nothing yet," I say, my voice hitting a strange high note that sounds like the worst attempt at optimism ever.