Natasha had had enough. It seemed that no matter what she did, somebody was unhappy.
She'd tried talking to a number of friends about it, trying to get their ideas and input, and they all seemed to say the same thing. Upon further reflection, she decided that they were right. She needed to spend a little more time taking care of herself instead of dedicating so much of her time to other people. She'd lost herself in the attempt to create an image that fit what she thought they wanted of her and had, in the process, lost herself.
"Who am I?" she found herself saying more often as the months progressed.
The obvious answers were, "a wife, a mother, and a professional." She knew, deep down inside, that those titles weren't who she really was. She took great satisfaction in the last two, but they didn't satisfy the need to be herself. In each of those positions, she needed to be somebody foreign to her natural mindset. Though she was a responsible person, those two titles wouldn't allow her the freedom to break out of the responsible mold often enough to feel free.
Her marriage was falling apart.
For years, she'd done her best to be the wife that her husband expected. More importantly, she tried to be the wife that her parents expected her to be. She took care of the household needs after she got home from work. Her family was taken care of and were generally happy.
But Natasha felt empty. Nobody was taking care of her and she didn't have the time to dedicate to recharging her batteries.
One can only go so long on empty batteries.
Her reverie was broken by a coworker calling out, "have a great weekend," as they walked out of the door.
"You, too!" she called after them, glancing at the clock.
It was almost 5 o'clock. Time to start packing up and preparing to leave the office.
Right after she clicked the "Shut Down" button on the computer, she heard the inevitable: "Hey, Natasha. Can you take care of this for me?"
Stifling the groan that started deep inside, she turned in her chair to see who'd come into her cubicle. It was the worker who never seemed to recognize the end of the workday. They always put in extra minutes and expected the same of everyone else.
"What do you need?" asked Natasha.
"Will you make seven copies of this and collate them for me? I need them by midday on Monday," was the response she got.
Evaluating the project quickly, she noticed that she could probably get the job done on Monday morning, especially if she could get help from others in the office.
"Do you mind if I take care of it on Monday?" she asked, hoping that she didn't have to stay too long.
"I guess so," she heard in response. "If you're sure you can get it done. I don't want to have to go to my meeting without these copies, though."
She hated being manipulated like this. Too many people tried to make you feel guilty for leaving the office on time. They seemed to forget that most people had a life.
She almost caved, but then realized she'd had enough.
"Sounds great, then," she said with a smile. "Leave it here and I'll have it for you by midday on Monday."
With that, she felt a burst of elation at having the strength to not cave to manipulation and she finished packing up her things to leave. It was sad, she decided, that she had to relish these very minor victories.
As she left the office, her mind started to look ahead at the weekend. It was a long one, what with the holiday on Monday, but she couldn't think of anything that she could do to celebrate.
Well, she could think of lots of ways to celebrate, but she knew that she was expected to be home the entire weekend, taking care of the business of making a home.
Her mind balked at the idea of another long weekend stuck at home.
She started to daydream again as she walked to her car. She would love to be away, to leave the hustle and bustle of her daily routine, to just be whomever she wanted to be without worries.
It was several blocks later when she awoke from her daydream and realized that she wasn't headed home. Apparently, the daydream had been so strong that when she left the office parking lot, she'd turned toward the airport rather than home. Her first instinct was to make a u-turn and head the direction she was "supposed" to go after work so she could get home to take care of her husband, kids, and home.
Natasha started her turn signal and was checking mirrors to make her u-turn when she spotted herself in one of the mirrors.
"You deserve this," she said to herself.
Without a second thought, she turned off the turn signal and pulled back into traffic. She drove straight to the airport, her heart beating faster as she realized what she was about to do. She'd not taken a nice vacation in a long time and she was due.
Leaving her car in the long-term parking, she caught the shuttle to the main terminal. She looked at the departing flights and saw one leaving within the hour for a resort location in southern California.
"Why not?" she asked herself. "Sounds like just what I need."
She bought a ticket for that flight with a return flight scheduled for Sunday night. Without luggage, going through security was extremely easy and she found herself at her gate with plenty of time.
It was at that time that a certain sense of reality set it. She pulled out her cell phone and dialed her home number. Her husband answered, obviously flustered.
"What are you doing? You're supposed to be home right now! Your kids need food and my dinner should be just about ready."
That was exactly what she needed to hear. She wasn't sure she was doing the right thing, but hearing her husband get on her case and insist she come home to take care of him was just what Natasha needed to solidify her resolve.
"I'm not going to make your dinner tonight," she responded. "As a matter of fact, I'm going to take a vacation. Take the kids to their grandparents' house if you can't handle them. I'll be back Sunday."
She hung up the phone to the sound of her husband sputtering. He was floored, having never received that sort of response from Natasha. She felt empowered and it felt very good.
Natasha turned off her phone to avoid being bothered and went to the nearest kiosk to buy some snacks and a book. She used to love to read and just never had time any more. Well, this weekend, she was going to enjoy a really juicy romance novel.
Returning to the gate, she opened her new candy bar and started to nibble on it while she began at page one of her novel. The author was very good and Natasha found herself caught up immediately into the story. She was just wondering how in the world Annabelle was going to get Chet to notice her when she heard that her flight was boarding.
Reluctantly, she marked her location in the book and closed it, then walked over to join the other passengers filing onto the plane. Everybody seemed fairly excited to be getting away for the weekend and their feelings built as they all felt the others' excitement.
She exhaled and felt tension ease from her body after Natasha sat in her seat. She buckled the seat belt and leaned back in her seat, closed her eyes, and just let the week flow from her.
The flight was a quick one and as she left the plane, she began to wonder just what she was going to do next. She headed to the car rental location and rented a compact, figuring that would save some money. The rental company had a map available showing hotels in the area and took the offered copy. Opening the map, she found a hotel fairly close to the airport that looked like it would be perfect for her getaway vacation.
After checking into the hotel, she walked up to her room and lay on the bed. It felt like she was going to sleep very well. The room was quite clean and there were a few amenities there to help make her stay even better. She went down to the lobby to see if she could get a bathing suit, something to lounge in, and toiletries. They had a rather nice shop in the lobby with everything she'd need. Though she wouldn't normally wear a bathing suit as skimpy as the one she bought, she figured this was her getaway weekend and she could be whomever she wanted ... and she wanted to be a little more naughty than normal.
After returning her things to her room, she went down to the restaurant in the hotel and enjoyed a delicious meal. The steak was perfectly prepared and the trimmings added just the right amount of extra flavors to satisfy her every need. She didn't often get a chance to have wine, so she indulged a bit and had a couple of glasses with her dinner, enhancing the flavor even more.
"Now what do I want to do," she asked herself as she left the restaurant. She realized that she didn't have to take anybody else's feelings into account and that she could do absolutely anything she wanted.
And what she wanted to do was take a hot bath, read a good book, and hit the bed early. She felt funny, that doing that was something for an old person, but then she thought, "Screw it! This is my weekend and I will do whatever I want, even if someone else thinks it's weird."
She didn't notice while she was in the restaurant or while she was walking away that the eyes of many of the men around the area were watching her or stealing glances when they could. Natasha had the very dark hair and eyes that capture a man's attention and luscious breasts, which keep a man looking. Beyond that, she had a waist and hips that make a man yearn to touch and caress her.
None of that crossed her mind as she walked back to her room, though it definitely filled the mind of more than one man in the restaurant.
.... There is more of this story ...