Note: This was inspired by the new theme for The Village Square Writing Festival contest, "New Life," as chosen by Moonlit Dreaming. Of course, I first thought of babies…but then I thought of self-actualization, of changing your life to be something new to oneself or to the world. I really enjoyed writing this, and I hope you'll like it, too. :)

Disclaimer: I don't own anything, nope.



A single martini glass, a pack of bubble gum, and a half-soaked cocktail dress bore witness to the change when no one else could. She'd almost smoked, but then again, that would have defied the point, wouldn't it? The martini glass had run dry, nothing left but the olive swirling in its center. Popping, popping, popping went her tongue on the gum, and Muffy gave herself a thin smile at the ray of sunlight coming through the window.

How long had those curtains remained there, anyway? Moth-eaten old things of lace and disease. Her painted fingers ripped them off and wadded them into the garbage with a ring and a rose. With a pause, she spat the gum in, too.

"Griffin?" It was five in the morning, and he certainly couldn't hear, but Muffy's voice sought her own ears more than his. "I'm going out."

Her heels had forgotten the caress of dirt and grass on their soft skin, and her shoulders hadn't recalled the last time they'd been free under the sun's glare. She began to skip, because no one was watching. She began to dance, just because she could.

"I'm looking for a serious girl. I need someone with their feet on the ground."

Wildly, Muffy wished it would rain. She wished water would baptize the makeup from her eyes and the curls from her hair, turning her into an untamed child of the world. The sun peeked over the horizon, and Muffy laughed, having not seen sunrise in almost twenty-five years.

"I'm looking for someone who does as I say. I want a woman who can maintain the household."

Six year old children did cartwheels in a field of flowers. Women did not. Muffy didn't really care. Her dress fluttered in the wind, catching on her knees and revealing the lacy underthings she'd taken such care to buy for the night. Now she couldn't even recall their color, much less their price. And who had they been for, again?

"I'm looking for someone supportive and strong. I need a mother who can raise my children strictly and justly."

Just because, she chased a butterfly. She skipped over rocks in the river; she giggled when she slipped and skinned her knee on the stony bed. Fish tickled her toes, and the nailpolish on all ten of them began to wear out. Some vile red color she'd bought on sale a century ago. She missed glittery pink toenails. How long had it been since she'd had glittery pink toenails?

"You're going to have to change. If you want me, you're going to have to change for me. You're not good enough as you are."

The clock, somewhere, was ticking seven. Tired, Muffy lay on the beach's shore, watching the seagulls dip and soar under the lazy clouds. Her chest heaved up and down breathing under beer-stained fabric, and her clear and sober eyes saw the world as a beautiful and open thing—inviting, pure, alive.

He'd told her to get the hell out of his apartment. The other had told her to grow up. The one before that had balked at her career; the one still earlier wanted her to cook, speak another language, have a degree. They all cast her aside, because one girl can't be a thousand things she's never known, and certainly not all at once.

"Such a pretty day," she whispered to the world, and she shut her eyes. The water licked her heels and a crab scurried past her hand, poking it to see what laid there. "Such a beautiful spring day."

It would be another hour before she'd stand up, dust off her ruined dress, toss her frizzy curls and chuckle to herself. That tinkling sound of laughter would follow her to the bar, where she'd serve the morning rounds with a girlish smile; maybe they'd never recognize her without the makeup and hairspray. She might actually have fun with all these free Saturdays in her future. She could remember what fun was: finally starting over, starting fresh.

"I'm looking for myself. I think I've finally found her."