Introducing the first scene in the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes.
Mary stared at the piece of cake on the decorative plate. The virgin white icing held little hint of the mile marker that had been scrolled across the surface of the portion consumed by family and friends. Its absence hadn’t erased it from Mary’s mind. If anything, it reminded her of the huge chunk of time carved out of her life. She had lived half a century, making her an older woman than she had been last week. The consumption of this last piece from the celebration cake would commit her to this age, condemn her to old age in the eyes of the incredibly young. There was no way to hold on to youth; celebrities had proven it time again when they exposed themselves to the outside world without make-up and un-photoshopped.
The ache for the past swelled in her chest. It was not that she wanted to be eighteen again; she wanted only to have a little more substance in her life. A little more laughter, a little more variety…a little more gentle contact with the man she loved. Was that too much to ask for?
She released a sigh. It was the way life went, she was told by others. Her friend, Louise, had put it bluntly: Don’t expect anything more than what you have. A woman’s role is to grow old beside their man.
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