Janet stretched he arms high; the feeling of her bones popping set a good relief for the day long back pain. She had been up since early in the morning, needing to fix her husband's breakfast. She opened the refrigerator's door and pulled out the fresh jar of pink lemonade. For the first time since lunch she took a seat. She has spent most of the day ironing Philip's pants before making lunch for the eight farm workers.
She stared out the window as she noticed his car pulling up in the drive way. She smiled happily as she saw him getting out. He was all business in his three piece suit. They never would have though he could still keep his career as an art collector when they decided to move to the ranch his uncle left Janet.
It was a 300 acres ranch with horses, beautiful beds or flowers Janet had planted, a field where they grew oranges that were distribute to different grocery stores throughout California, and conveniently located ten minutes near the beach.
Every evening Janet would rider her favorite horse, sunshine to the ocean. It was her only way of getting away and enjoying herself. It was like a meditating time for Janet to let her spirit free.
"Hi honey." She tried greeting him with a kiss but he turned his face.
"Hello Janet." He said coldly and short.
"Did you have a good day?" She wondered unable to tell by his attitude, she never knew how to treat him. He was one person this second and another in two.
"What kind of a stupid question is that?" he said removing his tie, "Does it look like I've had a nice day."
She shook her head, "I'm sorry."
"Just shut up and give me my dinner. I want to go to bed early tonight."
"It's in the oven. Dinner should be ready in ten minutes."
"What?" He turned around shouting. "I go off all day long work hard to give you all you need and want and you can't even have dinner in time." He asked angrily.
"I'm terrible sorry Philip." She started to explain the reason dinner was late. "I didn't want to start cooking because then you get upset if dinner is cold." She said regretting her last statement.
"What the hell are you thinking? That I want to eat a cold dinner." She shook her head as she picked up the tie and jacket he threw on the floor.
"I'm sorry I will start setting the table. You can go change honey and I will have things ready for when you come back." She said with a fear in her tone.
"That's more like it." He said pinching her chin.
With tears in her sad face, Janet made her way towards the kitchen. She always dreamed of marrying a perfect charming and caring man. What ever happened to those dreams, she wondered. Growing up her parents were always kind and loving with each other something that made marriage a perfect illusion of what life should be about but when she married Philip those pink fairytale dreams became dark nightmares.
He was never very romantic but he was a kind and sweet man. She was blinded by the feelings she had for him. The first three years of their marriage were pleasant not perfect as she always imagined but she couldn't really complain. But after that he became bitter and cold hearted.
He hardly even kissed or touched her. Most of their conversations were based on things she was doing wrong, and if ever they made love it was always because he was in the mood for it; forcing her to give in to his needs.
Once their children became old enough to know what was going on around them, he tried to cover up things. They had long silent dinners where the only sound made were from the silverware hitting. The years seem to fly Janet grew older and her twin boys were soon off to college leaving her alone to deal with a destroyed marriage.
They had enough money to hire a maid or two but he preferred spending his money on liquor or women, they really needed a cook to feed the ranch workers but he believe Janet was strong enough to deal with the responsibility on her own. And whenever she complain he would ask 'why do you need help, you do nothing but stay at home all day. There are women out there who would love to be in your place. But they have to work and care for their family on their own and they don't complain.'
She quickly wiped of the tears running from her face, "Is my dinner ready or not?" He demanded.
"Yes. I'm coming."
The couple ate their dinner in pure silence. He would keep his eye on her staring her down like if she was just another animal in the farm. Janet who feared even the look of his eyes, kept her sight on her dinner. "I need to go get some groceries for tomorrow." She informed him.
"That is fine with me. Take your time." He said softly, "Enjoy the afternoon it's a beautiful afternoon out there. The gentle wind is perfect for you to take a ride along the ocean." He said wanting to get ride of her for a while so he can bring his lover just like he did when she would go visit her parents in Speedway or their children at UCLA.
Janet laughed inside, thinking of all the times she's come home knowing that other women had passed through her bed, while she was away. 'What a rat.' She said to herself.
"I think I will." She informed him. "I'll go take a ride before I go get the things I need from the store."
Janet headed over to the horse stables, she though of how lucky she was to have something for herself, to enjoy. The orange sun was resting perfect against the blue sky. "Evening Mrs. Dawson." Jack greeted her as she came around in her riding jeans and gray sweater. "Taking sunshine for a ride?"
She smiled as she nodded her head; her first true simile of the day crossed her attractive face. "I've had a long day. I need to get away."
He looked into her deep brown eyes, "Well if I can help in anyway," he cleared his throat, "I'm here for you ma'm. You know you have my loyalty and help at your service." She felt the intensity of his liquid blue eyes penetrate her soul.
"Thank you, Jack. I will always keep that in mind." She thanked the younger man.
He had been working for Philip for quiet a while now. Janet really trusted him and did see him as a friend. They would sometimes spend hours planting flowers and enjoying each other's company. Aside from their ten year age difference he was a very mature man. He would always advice her to divorce him and start a new life. "I've seen the pain in your eyes many times." He would say, "And no woman deserves such a life."
Jack started to attach himself to Janet in a romantic way but never spoke of his feelings. He knew someone like Janet would never fall for someone like himself. So he tried his best to befriend her and enjoy the time they shared together.
"Be careful." He said as he helped her up the horse. "Don't let night fall and you still be out wondering by yourself."
"I won't." she smiled before she took off.
The soft breeze caressed her hair as she rode slowly the waves crashing against her horse's feet.
The sun was just starting to set when she turned around and headed into town. She remembered Jack's advice a sweet feeling settling inside her as she thought that someone actually cared for her at all.
When she returned home the stars were bright and the sky was a navy blue. Janet returned the horse back to its stable. She softly rubbed the horses face and smiled reliving the early afternoon by the beach.
Janet headed back inside her three bedroom ranch, and noticed that all the lights where out and Philip's car was missing. She rushed inside the house calling his name softly just in case he was there. But there was no respond.
Janet made her way into the kitchen and turned on the light, "I wonder where he could be now." She asked upset when all of a sudden a white envelope addressed to her caught her eye.
She poured her heart and soul into their three bedroom ranch
Spent her days raisin' babies, ironin' his pants
Came home one day from the grocery store
And found his note
And without him there to stop her
She let herself go
She opened it and began to read his handwriting:
I can't live like this anymore. You know there is nothing between us. If ever there was a fire burning in each other's hearts for one another the flame burned out years ago. I don't love you or ever did. The only reason I asked you to be my wife was to regain my uncle's wealth. Stupid man had to leave most of his riches to you, a total stranger.
Janet couldn't continue to read the rest of the letter. She crumbled it up and tossed it across the room, letting herself go she cried in anger as her weak body slid against the kitchen wall.