“You know when you cut open an orange only to realize it’s one of those dried out ones with no flavour?”
“That’s what I feel like. All my juicy-juice goodness has dried up. I hate being middle-age,” Donna said.
“You’ve always been like this. Remember your 25th birthday? You had a meltdown and claimed your life was over and that you had nothing to show for it.”
“Ok, but back to my orange analogy. I could get fillers or Botox, but really I’m looking for ways to get my inside juicy self back.”
“Why don’t you go on a wellness retreat and have an affair.”
“Umm, because I’m married. That’s the worse advice ever, you’re nuts.”
“Affairs at wellness retreats don’t count – just like Vegas, but with green juice. Plus, I read that affairs can actually rejuvenate women better than Juverderm.”
“Very funny. I’ll never have an affair and not because I’m a perfect upstanding citizen. But because I have terrible taste in men. I would end up sleeping with someone completely deranged: the kind of guy who drives a mini-van even though he doesn’t have a family.”
“Oh those guys are creepy. And what about the guys who keep freezers in their garage? Never trust a man with a freezer in his garage.”
“It’s true that you used to have bad taste in men, but then you married Jack and he’s a decent guy – you could have done a lot worse. Remember Melissa James from college? She just found out her husband has a whole other family. Can you believe that?”
“How do people have the time and energy to keep secret families? Jack and I can barely handle one teenager and two cats. Honestly, I don’t think either of us could pull off an affair, we’re too tired. Even before the pandemic we were burned out. Now it’s a miracle if we’re able to stay up late enough to watch an episode of The Crown.”
“That’s sad,” Becky said laughing.
“I just watched JLo’s Instagram reels and she is the juiciest fifty-two year old. She literally glows from within. She has this light, happy, sparkly vibe. I bought her entire skincare collection.”
Becky started laughing harder:
“Stop it, I’m gonna pee my pants.”
Donna stretched out on their blanket:
“I forgot to put on sunscreen today,” she said, surveying the park.
“Oh who cares – so you get a few more age spots. If you get enough age spots they’ll blend together and you’ll looked nicely tanned,” Becky said.
“I’m so glad you find me amusing.”
Becky passed a peach scented gum drop to Donna.
“Is this candy or an edible?”
“It’s an artisanal CBD edible. You should see the packaging – so chic. I read about them in Vogue.”
Donna popped it in her mouth.
“Okay, now back to your problem: You need to start putting yourself first. You still make breakfast every morning for your husband and teenage son – like a freaking 1950’s housewife.”
“It’s just this little ritual we have, it’s sweet.”
“It’s not sweet, it’s pathetic. Take that morning time and spend it doing something you like. You love reading those alphabet thrillers. So start your mornings with coffee and a book, the guys will survive without bacon and waffles.”
“I don’t know, it’s like this family bonding time—”
“Is it really though? Aren’t they both usually on their phones?”
“Well, kind of, but—”
“I think that you not feeling your juiciest is partly because you let people take advantage of you, including those who love you. Start making yourself a priority or you’ll become resentful. And nothing ages a woman more than resentment.”
“Wow, you’re fired up this morning. I feel like I have a bitchy life coach. Ok I’m doing it. Starting tomorrow the boys are on their own for breakfast.”
They lay in silence for awhile, enjoying the sunshine and light breeze.
“And a yearly girls trip. We should start doing a yearly girls trip. No partners, no kids, no pets.”
“Jack wouldn’t like that, he doesn’t like me travelling without him.”
“Too bad. You deserve a yearly getaway without any mothering or wife-y duties, that’s not a big ask. You’ve really given away a lot of your power, it’s upsetting. If you want JLo’s juicy vibe you’re gonna have to reclaim your damn power – that’s her secret, not her skincare line.”
A few minutes passed and Donna kicked off her Birkenstocks.
“You’re right, I have given away a lot of my power and it’s a sickening feeling. But because I’ve given away so much of it, it sort of feels impossible to get it back. Like I don’t have enough power to get my power back, if that makes sense.”
“It makes total sense. But I know you can do it. And unless you want to feel like a dried out piece of orange for the rest of your life, you have to do it.”
Becky reached out for Donna’s hand:
“I hope I’m not being too harsh, I just love you so much.”
“I love you too babe. And isn’t my hand soft? It’s JLo’s body moisturizer.”