Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Masked Love Now Available

At forty-two and facing middle age, Olivia Wilson gets shocking news from her physician.
The extra fifty pounds she’s gained since her divorce has brought on sleep apnea, and now she
needs to wear some ugly apparatus at night to help her breathe. The clerk at the medical supply
store takes her breath completely away, but why in the world would someone as handsome as
Austin Reed date a fat, lonely woman who looks like Jacques Cousteau at night? 

The idea for Masked Love came when my husband was diagnosed with "sleep apnea" and I had to learn to sleep next to someone who looked like a scuba diver.  Hose, air, and mask...not at all romantic, but very conducive to a good night's sleep sans the snoring.  I imagined what it would be like if I were the person prescribed the gear, and oh me...  Olivia handles it much better than I would.

Here's an excerpt from my short story:

“You want me to what?” Olivia Wilson stared at Doctor Ray. The paper on the examining
table crinkled with her shocked movement.

“A lot of people wear one and eventually get used to it.”

“But what if I don’t want to?” She eyed the contraption he dangled in the air that looked like
something he’d snatched from a scuba diver.

“If you’ll recall, when you agreed to the overnight study, we discussed sleep apnea which I
suspected causes your constant fatigue, and the tests prove me right. People who suffer from the disorder often stop breathing for ten seconds or longer during sleep. The problem can be mild to severe, based on the number of times each hour that you stop breathing or how often your lungs don't get enough air. This may happen from five to fifty times an hour and can be fatal. Your results fall within these parameters.”

“You mean I could die?” She swallowed hard.

“Possibly, unless you use the CPAP machine and wear this mask.” He extended his arm.
“Here, try it on.”

Olivia rolled her eyes. “Oh please, say it isn’t so. Aren’t I suffering enough by battling a
weight problem and facing middle age? Now you want me to don something that makes me look alien.”

He chuckled. “I’m not asking you to wear it twenty-four hours a day—only at night.”

“Great!” She clenched her teeth. “I’m forty-two, single, trying to find a man without any
help from Victoria’s Secret because nothing she makes fits me, and now I’m supposed to wear a snorkel at night and be connected to a little machine that blows air up my nose. Grand, just grand.”

Doctor Ray grasped her shoulder. “Livie, I’ve known you most of your life. I wouldn’t
suggest something unless I really believed you needed it. As long as you carry that extra fifty pounds around, you’re going to have to use this machine at night, and that’s a fact.”

She’d been coming to this same office for years. Despite the archaic colors on the walls and
floor tile and the outdated equipment, her implicit faith in Doctor Ray hadn’t dimmed.

Her eyes welled with tears, and she blew a blast of air upward to dry them. Clearing he throat, she tried to find a calm voice. “I trust you, but what man is gonna want a woman who
looks like Jacques Cousteau?”

He covered his mouth to hide his smile then slid his hand down and grasped the white
goatee on his chin. “Maybe this will be the kick in the behind you need to lose the weight you’ve gained since you and Denny divorced. Like so many unhappy people, you turned to food for comfort. If you hate using this mask enough, perhaps you’ll find something else to do besides eat.”

The doc’s words sliced through her like a knife. The truth always hurt. Olivia never
expected Denny to leave her after seventeen years, and for another woman, but he had. He’d
been gone for over two years, and all the snacking she’d done at night had brought her to this moment. God, she hated herself. Why couldn’t she hate Denny? After all those years of cooking, cleaning, doing his laundry, and having sex with him whenever he wanted, he’d left her for a younger woman. He was such a bastard.

Masked Love is available now at Muse It Up Publishing 
While you're there, check out my other offerings:

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