Chapter I

It was later at night and her eyes were already burning from all the tears.

She was seating calm, staring at a random dot on the wall. Suddenly recalling all the hurt and failure of her past years, just to feed her overpowering self pity. The idea of a suicide seemed comforting, although she would never dare to master the necessary courage to do so. And now she was slowly adding one more failure to her long list of unaccomplished life dutties.

Paula lighted up another cigarette and little by little she went on, telling the foreign dot on the wall all the reasons to justify the loathing and self pity that now took over her mind, floating her brain with sad memories and shaking her body with the convulsions of her sobs.

She had mastered the self pity and all the seven stages of grief, learning to go thru all of them like when someone is taken by a twenty four hour virus, or should I dare to say, a bad diarrhea. To indulge in self pity can be really soothing if it is done with a limited time allowance. She knew how to get in and that she will get out, eventually. But the grief stages would take longer this time, as she allow the sadness to sink in deep in her soul. 

Forgiveness. It was still a powerful word not yet mastered equally like some of the others, and in the loneliness of her bedroom, she remind herself to forgive her weakness.

She pull her weight out of the bed, searching for a new box of tissues while staring at the shadows of the night as if she was surrounded by a execution squad ready to put her out of her misery. Her steps were slow, her shoulders down and her breathing shallow. Borderline depressed, someone had said. 

Paula lay down once again, moving her favorite cat around as it had taken her warm spot "Choo Choo George! Get out of here!" she whispered, pulling the blankets back on the cold November night.

As in a movie, one by one, she saw the greatest loves of her life. And with each one, an old scar made presence, pulsing, itching, letting her know was still there, along with the foundations of the walls she created to safeguard her deepest feelings, protecting her for the rejection that may or may never rise again. Love hurts and at that point in her forty-five years existence, she had doubts if it was really worth.

She accepted after a bad divorce, that was just not meant to happen, but the new wave of tears told a different history. The comfort of another body laying by her, or a lap to rest her head  or even the shoulder that she could cry on were long gone. She glanced at the vibrator laying on her side table and nodded. Her sex life was indeed good, and overall she had all the memories. If it felt good at one point, she had learn to live without it.

The lessons were catching on:  "How to overcome a cheating fiance" or "How to heal after a shooting accident", "How to not trust you high school sweetheart", of course.. the winner was "How to survive a mental abusive relationship with your drug addict ex-husband".

Paula had taken a beating and a new silver lining lesson that came with each one of them. She vowed to learn by her mistakes and to not repeat them, even if that meant a lonely life.

That was not the case now. 

The circumstances had changed drastically. Menopause can be a powerful destructive force and Paula had that mental sign hanging around her neck "Stay away if you want to live", but some poor sould, still, from time to time were caught unaware and walked away wounded and wondering what crazy person she was.

Paula was now facing another defeat. One completely new to her as she thought herself well guarded against life curve balls: her professional self. The confidence that somehow she was a great catch for any employer was a risk. A true team player and a quick learner, they said. Paula's resume always spoke by itself, naming award after award and long lists of accomplishments and rewards. Always dressed to impress, she learned to play the beauty alongside her brains. So, how can someone fire her? The question kept on popping inside her head, finding her voice towards the friendly dot. The new fear added to the financial lost of her income. 

She cried herself to sleep that night. Paula thought once again about her son and daughter, and how egoistic the suicide idea seemed and with that, the thought soon left her mind. But she was still too weak to fight. One last resort before she closed her eyes: she prayed, and in her prayers she cursed the Gods on her half sleep self. Paula evoked each one of her ancestrals by name and all of the other spirit figures she had felt presence at some point in her life. And the angels, let's not forget the angels.

Maybe she was a crazy woman after all. 

She could hear the friendly owl greetings and the breathing of her old cat. Other than that, no answers came to Paula.