Authors In The Spotlight
Book Title: WIFE 22
For fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It comes an irresistible novel of a woman losing herself . . . and finding herself again . . . in the middle of her life.
I stare into the bathroom mirror and wonder why nobody has told me my left eyelid has grown a little hood. For a long time I looked younger than I was. And now, suddenly all the years have pooled up and I look my age—forty-four, possibly older. I lift the excess skin with my finger and waggle it about. Is there some cream I can buy? How about some eyelid pushups?
“What’s wrong with your eye?”
Peter pokes his head into the bathroom and despite my irritation at being spied on, I am happy to see my son’s freckled face. At twelve, his needs are still small and easily fulfilled: Eggos and Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs—the ones with the cotton waistband.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I say.
I depend on Peter. We’re close, especially in matters of grooming. We have a deal. His responsibility is my hair. He’ll tell me when my roots are showing so I can book an appointment with Lisa, my hairdresser. And in return, my responsibility is his odor. To make sure he doesn’t exude one. For some reason, twelve-year-old boys can’t smell their underarm funk. He does run-bys in the mornings, arm raised, waving a pit at me so I can get a whiff. “Shower,” I almost always say. On rare occasions I lie and say “you’re fine.” A boy should smell like a boy.
“Tell you what?”
“About my left eyelid.”
“What—that it hangs down over your eye?”
“Only a tiny bit.”
I look in the mirror again. “Why didn’t you say something?”
“Well, why didn’t you tell me Peter was slang for penis?”
“It is not.”
“Yes, apparently it is. A peter and two balls?”
“I swear to you I have never heard that expression before.”
“Well, now you understand why I’m changing my name to Pedro.”
“What happened to Frost?”
“That was in February. When we were doing that unit on Robert Frost.”
“So now the road has diverged and you want to be Pedro?” I ask.
Middle school, I’ve been told, is all about experimenting with identity. It’s our job as parents to let our kids try on different personas, but it’s getting hard to keep up. Frost one day, Pedro the next. Thank God Peter is not an EMO, or is it IMO? I have no idea what EMO/IMO stands for—as far as I can tell it’s a subset of Goth, a tough kid who dyes his hair black and wears eyeliner, and no, that is not Peter. Peter is a romantic.
“Okay,” I say. “But have you considered Peder? It’s the Norwegian version of Peter. Your friends could say ‘later, Peder.’ There’s nothing that rhymes with Pedro. Do we have any Scotch tape?”
I want to tape up my eyelid—see what it would look like if I got it fixed.