I woke up sometime during the night with a start, turning on my side as I looked around the strange room. I sat up and moved from the bed to feel against the wall for a switch, revealing the bland hotel room as I flicked a light on. Reality returned to me as I sighed and felt my stomach growling. I looked in the mirror, seeing the circles under my eyes as well as the mascara smeared around my eyes as I groaned. There was no way that I was going out, so I grabbed the room service menu and read it before dialing the front desk.
I ordered a cheeseburger and fries with a chocolate shake and several bottles of water to stick in the fridge. I’d been working out every goddamn day before volunteering to make Sean happy, and it didn’t work. I was going to enjoy this food, find comfort in the taste of it as well as the fact that they overcharged for all of it. I turned on the television and discovered that it was eight o’clock from the shows that were on. I waited for the food after changing into my pajama pants and a big t-shirt, staring mindlessly at the sitcom on television.
The knock made me come to, and I padded to the door before looking through the peephole.
“Good evening,” I said weakly after opening the door and letting the young man inside with the tray of food. It smelled so good, and I thanked him as I pointed to the center of the room, remembering that I had a little cash in my wallet. I pulled out a ten-dollar bill and offered it to him, finding little else as he glanced at it with concern on his handsome face.
“You don’t need this, do you?”
“I’m okay. Please take it,” I told him as tears filled my eyes. I had to be okay. Sean wouldn’t leave me with nothing, would he? I had no issues getting a job, but it was just the uncertainty of what I could get at this point in my life. I graduated high school but had no college degree, and a fast food job or retail job in a mall was not going to pay me enough to have a place of my own. At least, not one that was safe for a woman living alone.
The food was delicious, but I lost my appetite after a few bites of the burger and just a handful of fries. Once I was done picking at it, I set the whole tray outside of the door and secured it for the night as I sipped at the melting shake. Chocolate always tasted great, and it soothed me as I piled up the pillows to relax as best as I could. Everything felt hopeless at this moment, as well as lonely, but I knew that I’d pull through it. I fell asleep with the television on to have some noise in the background, tossing and turning as I thought about the lie my life had been for the better part of a year. I didn’t trust Sean with his story, but it didn’t matter. I knew that he cheated and that ended everything, even if he’d begged for forgiveness.
I woke up late and made some coffee in the room, drinking it on the balcony as I thought about my next step. I needed a divorce lawyer, but with no income, I had no idea who I would get. How could I pay for them? I called a couple of friends who had been through divorces and got some recommendations before a text came through on my phone. It was from Sean who told me he’d set up an appointment with one of his own. He suggested that I do the same, offering to pay for it if I made it easy and didn’t ask for half of everything that he had. Hell, a quarter of what he had would suffice until I could get back on my feet.
I agreed to that as well as my staying in this hotel for a week or two. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do since I didn’t have lots of experience in the workforce. I knew that there would be future negotiations with Sean, but I wasn’t a greedy woman that wanted to get revenge on him, no matter how sad I was. I just wanted a clean break at this point.
I called the first attorney recommended to me, making an appointment for the following morning. I powered up my laptop to look at job listings and kept seeing how much experience was needed. I didn’t have a bachelor’s degree or much experience past the few jobs in high school that I’d gotten briefly. It was a competitive market out there, and I pushed the computer away and went to make another cup of coffee.
I spoke to some friends that said they could get me jobs at their offices, offering to ask around that day. I knew that I could go to a coffee shop, fast food restaurant, or a store as well but I was now single and needed to get my own place. The minimum wage wouldn’t pay for that. I thought about the sleepy town where Mom lived, daydreaming about the beaches and peaceful life. I tried to embrace the city when I married Sean, but it was a bit too much hustle and bustle. I always tried to find ways to relax, and I frowned as my phone rang.
It was Mom, and I answered wearily. She asked me how things were going and I explained about Sean’s plan. She agreed with me as long as I didn’t let him push me too much into making his life easier. Sean didn’t go about things the right way, and he needed to suffer some for that. However, Mom wasn’t vindictive and didn’t want me to be that way. She got to the point of the call after we discussed Sean, telling me about a family that recently lost the mom in a tragic car accident. It was a couple that was new to town after I left but well-liked, and now the husband was left behind with a six-year-old daughter and a very busy schedule since he was the owner of a popular hotel chain. “What are you getting at, Mom?”
“Well, I don’t know if you considered coming back home, but he’s looking for a nanny. It would be a live-in position, so you don’t have to move back in with me, and the house is big and lovely. It would give you a chance to get back on your feet and put some money away.”
“A nanny?” I asked as she chuckled.
“Carmen is a little angel. The poor girl is going to miss her mother so much, but I think she’s strong. She’ll get through it, but it would be nice for her to have a sweet female caring for her since her dad travels so much. It’s just something that I wanted to mention. Do you want to stay in the city now?”
“You know, I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about that with this time I’ve had at the hotel,” I admitted as I walked out to the balcony to look over the hustle and bustle of Boston. “It’s a great place. You know that from visiting, but I grew up in Mendocino. It’s smaller and so much slower.”
“That’s exactly what I thought when I was there. Think about it, Celia. He’s going through the process of planning the funeral and all right now, but once things settle down, Nick will need help.” I smiled and assured her that I would. When we hung up, I leaned over the balcony and considered the job.
It might be nice. I loved kids, and I was devastated when Sean kept telling me that he wanted to wait. Since we got married and he wanted me to stay home, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. That was when I started to volunteer at the nursery.