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Sarah’s Life

“It’s nice to meet you, Sarah,” Steve Archer smiled as he squeezed her hand.

“I’ve looked forward to meeting you, too. Mark has told me so much about you.” Mark has worked for Archer Investments for over a year, and this is the first time she met his boss.

“What do you do, dear?” Always by her husband’s side, Beverly Archer smiled sweetly. Amy knew that Beverly managed the office at Archer Investments. She was immaculate. Tonight she wore a blue chiffon dress with pearl earrings and a matching string of pearls. Long auburn hair hung loosely around slim shoulders. This woman knew her place and took full advantage of it.

“I’m a homemaker,” Sarah smiled.

“Oh, that’s nice, dear,” Beverly Archer gave Sarah an uncomfortable smile and quickly turned to her husband, dismissing herself to mingle.

Sarah touched Mark’s arm. Mark responded by putting his arm around her. “Mr. Archer, not only is Sarah a great homemaker, she homeschools our daughters, teaches Sunday school, and reads to the elderly at the Sunshine Nursing Home, and she drives them to their doctor’s appointments. She’s terrific.”

Sarah’s cheeks were crimson. She whispered into Mark’s ear and excused herself to find the ladies’ room.

Sarah stood in front of the long bathroom mirror. She was lovely. Her blonde hair framed her tiny face, and her black silk dress accented her slim figure. Black star Safire earrings, encased in gold, and a matching necklace completed her simple, elegant wardrobe.

I wonder if I look as stupid as I feel right now. Her mind was playing the same reel; it does every time someone scoffs at her choice to quit her job at Nicholas Engineering to stay at home.

Why do I do this? I always know someone’s going to ask me what I do for a living. It’s as if I told them I have AIDS or something every time anyone asks. Why do people act as if I’m an idiot when they hear that I don’t have a ‘real’ job? They never stay around long enough to get to know me. I like being a homemaker. I thank God that Mark is such a good provider, and I can stay home with my family. I love working with my “grannies” at the home. Why do I feel this way?

Mark and Sarah left early because she had to be at the hospital at seven the next morning. Mrs. Peterson, from the nursing home, is going to have surgery. On the drive home, Mark softly laid his hand on her lap. “Honey, I’m sorry Beverly treated you that way. She’s normally very nice and talkative. I don’t know what happened.”

“I do. I told her I was a homemaker. That happens every time someone asks me what I do.” A single tear escaped, dropping onto her dress.

After she left the hospital the next day, Sarah stopped by the nursing home to visit a few of her regulars. She loves her grannies as she calls them. Many go for months without a single visitor. She and her daughters always try to see them on special occasions, like birthdays. Coming here is the highlight of her week.

Sarah loves the nursing Home. She loves the sound of soft voices, muffled by partially closed doors, the funny squeak of nurses’ shoes in the hallway, and the click, click, click as the medicine cart rolls from room to room. The smell of alcohol mingled with pine cleaner fills the air. It really isn’t a great smell, but it brought back wonderful memories.

Her grandmother lived in a nursing home most of Sarah’s life. Although she was lucid, she was bedridden, needing constant care. Sarah and her mother visited her twice a week, more when they could. She loved it there. She made so many friends; people who had no family but loved children. She had dozens of grandparents.

As Sarah drove home, her mind wandered back to Beverly Archer. The hair rose on the back of her neck for a moment. She felt the same defensiveness she experienced at the party. Then she thought about Mrs. Peter’s surgery. She remembered the silly card Mrs. West received from her grandson today, and she laughed again at the joke Mr. Crain told the “pretty ladies” as they all stood in the hall talking.

Sarah clutched the steering wheel with both hands and shouted aloud, “Eat your heart out, Beverly Archer. You may have a job, but I have a life.”