“Uh, sure,” I replied.
She wasn’t in a robe and she had nothing to hide. She was wearing a black cocktail dress with three-inch heels. She looked no older than twenty-four and I wondered how she had two teenagers and a preschooler. Her skin was perfect, she had a six-pack of muscles and her hair was smooth as silk.
I felt inadequate. I felt guilty for letting the mommy look take over and letting myself go for the past year. “Wow, you look great. What’s your secret?” I asked.
I knew she would say hard work, but I secretly hoped she would hand me a map to the fountain of youth. “Oh, nothing much. Good genes, I guess,” she relied.
I was envious of her confidence. She didn’t make excuses for some shortcoming that wasn’t visible to everyone else, but that she only saw when she looked in the mirror. She knew she looked great and I was pretty sure she wouldn’t change a thing, if someone gave her the choice.
“Let’s go into the study and I’ll make you one of my signature cocktails. Are you tired? It has a splash of caffeine in it,” she said.
“Sounds great! Yes, I’m tired, but nothing a little caffeine cocktail won’t help,” I replied.
I was pretty sure she was referring to my bags, when she asked whether I was tired, so I tried to open my eyes wider to make them look less obvious. I watched as she poured some red wine into a glass, splashed some yellow liquid in and added a shot of espresso. Red wine and espresso, why hadn’t I thought of that? It didn’t sound tasty, but she was so sophisticated I was sure it would taste great. Besides, I was so wired from the Red Bulls and I finally felt my second wind inching in.
I took the glass and nearly swallowed the contents whole. I was pretty thirsty from the Red Bull and should have asked for water instead, but my nerves preferred the touch of icy alcohol.
After I swallowed the drink, I could taste its bitterness on my tongue. Bitter drinks weren’t usually my choice of poison, but this was better than a fine glass of cabernet. Between the Red Bulls and this precious cocktail, I felt more alive than I had in years. I was ready to mix, mingle and make a great impression.
“I’ll be right back, I just heard the doorbell,” said Liv.
I walked along the walls and looked at all of the pictures. A perfect happy family of five lined with gold frames. The other ladies flooded into the study. There were three couches and a fireplace, so it was nice and cozy. They all looked gorgeous, like they had slept all day and spent two hours getting ready. I wondered whether they had nannies to help them everyday.
“Would you like another cocktail?” asked a voice from behind me.
“Of course, fill me up, please,” I replied.
I turned my head slightly and watched the woman pour. The liquid swirled in my glass, until it came to a stand still. That’s when I caught a glimpse of something floating around in it. There were fish eyes bumping into frog’s toes. I looked up startled.
“Welcome to our coven. There’s no turning back now. You’re one of us,” said Liv.
She handed me a mirror and the woman reflected inside was a version of me from twenty years ago.
Happy Halloween! If I’m going to meet a coven of witches, may they all hand me some cabernet with a splash of caffeine that makes me look half my age.