Authors: Jennifer Weiner
Brenda’s hands are gentle as she eases me up and off the bed and over to the chair in the corner—a flea-market find, upholstered in pink toile, the chair where I sat when I nursed my girls, when I read my books, when I wrote my reports. As I watch, she deftly strips the sheets off the bed, shakes the pillows free of their creased cases, and gives each one a brisk whack over her knee before settling it back on the bed. Dust fills the room, motes dancing in the beams of light that stream in through the dirt-filmed windows I’d been planning to have cleaned.
I huddle in my nightgown, shoulders hunched, knees pulled up to my chest. “Why are you doing this?” I ask.
Brenda looks at me kindly. “I am being of service,” she says. Which means she’s sober again, in some kind of program, or maybe she’s just read a book. She carries her armful of soiled linen out of the bedroom and comes back with a fresh set. When she struggles to get the fitted sheet to stay put, I get up off the chair and help her. Then she goes to the bathroom and turns on the shower. “Come on,” she says, and I pull my nightgown off over my head and stand under the water. I tilt my head to feel the warmth beating down on my cheeks, my chin, my eyelids. Tears mix with the water and wash down the drain. When I was a little girl, my mom would give me baths when I’d come home from the hospital, with Steri-Strips covering my stitches. She would wash my hair, then rinse it, pouring warm water from a plastic pitcher in a gentle, carefully directed stream. She would wipe the thick, braided line of pink scar tissue that ran down the center of my chest. My beautiful girl, she would say. My beautiful, beautiful girl.
My sheets are silky and cool as pond water, but I don’t lie down. I prop myself up against the headboard and rasp out the question that I’ve heard hundreds of times from dozens of clients. “What do I do now?”
Brenda gives a rueful smile. “You start again,” she tells me. “Just like the rest of us.”
Coming Summer 2015, Jennifer Weiner's latest novel is a sweeping, modern day fairy tale about first romance and lasting love.
Who Do You Love
Read this provocative and ultimately empowering tale of a working mother’s slide into addiction, and her struggle to find her way back up again.
All Fall Down
Read this haunting ghost story about addiction and obligation, secrets and redemption.
Read this irresistible novel about a young woman trying to make her Hollywood dreams come true.
The Next Best Thing
Read this eerie short story about a scorned housewife who finds she has a talent for writing memoirs about the deaths of her loved ones—but only so many family members can die of natural causes . . .
A Memoir of Grief (Continued)
Read this unexpected love story, a timely novel about surrogacy, egg donation, and what it means to be a mother.
Then Came You
A short story about what can happen when one restless woman's best laid travel plans go astray . . .
The Half Life
Read the unforgettable story of a cheating politician’s wife and daughters, who escape to the family beach house to weather the scandal.
Fly Away Home
A hilarious, edge-of-your-seat adventure about small-town secrets, and the betrayals and loyalties of two best friends.
Best Friends Forever
Read the radiantly funny and disarmingly tender sequel to the beloved chick-lit classic,
Good in Bed
Read Jennifer’s collection of stories about first loves, breakups, marriage, and the one who got away.
Guy Not Taken