The Next Mrs. Jacob Anderson by Ann Wuehler
Adults are never honest. Let's be children. Let's
throw rocks, let's weep and say everything we actually think.
Why do you love him? He says you can't find a job right now. He says you're
so pretty and so nice. Nice-- you're what every man wants a woman to be.
Nice. [Mrs. Andersen smiles very gently at Lisa, beckons her closer.
Lisa does not move.] Here we are...both picking out vegetables for the
Well...Lisa, is it? What a cheerleader sort of name. Do you cheerlead for
him now? Tell him he's the best, the brightest, the bravest? I can see you
doing it. With pompoms in your hands. With that little flippy skirt. You'd
look nice in navy. [Sighs. But still steady and calm.] I once had
a name. But now it's bitch and second-best. It's Mrs. Andersen. Why would
you give up your name? Why would you let him erase it from your head with
his acid? His sweet...numbing acid...I'll take care of you, I'll take care
All I want is a confession. Is that so hard? Can you face me and confess...confess
how you love my husband? [Lisa puts her hand into the vegetables. She
examines them.] It's hard, isn't it. Sleeping with him is easy. Telling
me about it...difficult.
The second Mrs. Jacob Andersen. There are many nameless women behind you...many
before you. You are not the only one. And what a beautiful love story. We
met, we fought it, we fucked. Spare, succinct, to the point. Nothing flowery
or pretty. Just bodies and selfishness.
I looked in the mirror one day. I looked and I could not see myself. I
had no face, no features. There was only...Mrs. Jacob Andersen...a wife,
a woman with no children, a woman who helps out in her church. Shh...listen.
You see...I had a sort of vision. A presentiment...a feeling of doom. Not
for me...for you. For all women like you. Women who give up their identities....their
souls...the secret sweetness of their hearts. I saw in my mirror many women...of
all sizes, all shapes. With kinky hair, with straight, with curly and short.
With wide dark faces, narrow pale ones, and every sort of face in between...
All these different, glorious women. And then came this mist, this fog.
It covered them, every one. And it took their faces and made them all the
same. And I was so afraid...so afraid. Because they were dead. They had
given up their faces, their names...and now they were dead in that mist.
And they were lost. As I was lost since I was fourteen.
Some day, it's going to be you here in my place, a name with nothing to
it, looking at a young, stupid woman. Because it won't end with you. Jacob
always tires of his new toys.
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