Being short with big boobs means living life off-balance. Isabel
knows this all too well; at five feet nothing with a tendency to tip over in
heels, she's struggled for twenty-five years to make clothes, careers and
boyfriends fit. Enter Michael. Divorced father, recovering alcoholic and
fifteen years her senior--he was the last guy she thought would make the cut.
But when he proposed over a pastrami sandwich in a NYC deli on the anniversary
of their first date, Isabel knew, improbably, that he was the one.
Fifteen mostly happy years and two kids later, Isabel walks into her living
room to discover her husband dead on the floor, leaving her a widow at
forty-one. At Michael's funeral, a guest solemnly informs her that the official
mourning period for a Jewish widow is thirty days. At the moment, Isabel can't
imagine a time when she will stop grieving. Not helping the process is this: as
a single mom living in the very married suburbs, for the first time in fifteen
years Isabel once again just doesn't fit in.
It takes her four year-old daughter's request for a new daddy to set Isabel on
a journey through online dating, shifty matchmakers and painfully orchestrated
single dinners. But after endless dates, a torrid affair with an unemployed,
passive-aggressive neighbor and a story on page three of the New York Daily
News, Isabel begins to realize that another man may not be the answer and,
surprisingly, that's when things begin to change for the better...
Our blue and white paisley duvet lay crumpled on the bed, but
Michael was no longer under it. The air conditioner beckoned me with a loud
rumble, and I stood in front of it for a moment, letting the stale breeze cool
my skin. Sufficiently chilled, I turned and walked back down the hall into the
heavier air of our living room. It was then that I saw him, lying at the foot
of the green overstuffed chair, a few inches away from his favorite perch on
the well-worn, beige linen sofa. Except for the small pool of blood that had
formed on the rug beside his head, he looked as if he might still be sleeping.
I ran past Michael to the far end of the room, my heart beating
hard in my throat. I rummaged through the papers and notebooks that covered my
desk in search of the portable phone. Finding it, I dialed 911. After what felt
like enough time to grow old in, a dispassionate voice finally came on to the
“I think my husband is dead,” I said, shaking. There was no
thought. Just words and sweat and panic. “What should I do?”
Amy Holman Edelman lives in New Jersey with her husband,
children and Irish Jack Russell, Roxy. She is the also author ofThe
Little Black Dress ('97).