Isadora Wing 39

Damn. She misses the exit, zooms down to Westport thinking how dangerous it is for her, a mother of a three-year-old daughter who is totally dependent on her, to be driving stoned. A hippie at thirty-nine – how embarrassing. Though she looks perhaps thirty-three. Far prettier than she was at thirty-three, everyone tells her. She’s thinner, for one thing, and pregnancy gave her a bloom and cheekbones she never had before. Money also helps: facials at Arden, sixty-dollar haircuts, health spas every winter, and designer clothes never hurt a woman’s looks. She’s a blond and open-eyed as in her teens, though the forehead furrows – her worry lines – keep deepening. It’s Josh who looks thirty-nine – with his balding bean, his laugh lines, his eye-crinkles.

‘Fuck other men, go ahead,’ he said last week with that maddening mock-indifference of his. And she does. She does and enjoys it mightily, too – having come to the age where, unimpeded by any pleasure inhibition, and knowing full well that she was born to die, her orgasms grasp at the emptiness of certain death with unaccustomed ferocity. But sometimes the pain of loss, the loss of family, the loss of cuddly evenings in bed reading aloud from Dickens or watching old movies (they were thus ensconced when labor began three years ago and Mandy burst upon the scene) is too much to bear.