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Last Tuesday, as I was leaving the office for lunch, my best friend from middle school, Stephanie, called to try and persuade me once again to go on vacation with her and some of the ladies that we grew up with. I hadn't seen them in ages. This was her yearly ritual, so you would think she would have given up on me by now. Like clockwork, each year between May and June, Steph would be calling trying to scheme me into taking some time away. It was always tempting and Stephanie knew exactly how to make it sound like it was going to be the best trip ever. She had the same speech each time, but she'd add a small twist to give it some flavor. This year was no different.
"Girl, you're not getting any younger. That job, those kids, and that husband of yours will be there when you get back! You deserve to get away from it all. Besides, Jared is always working late hours, staying away from home, and going out of town on his business trips. You're left at home to hold down the house, do the cooking and cleaning, take the kids, pick the kids up, tutor the kids, feed the kids, and all the other million things you have to do. Let's not forget to mention that demanding office job that you have dealing with all of those bougie folks day in and day out! Girl, you NEED a break!" It was time for me to cut in and interrupt Steph before she gathered more evidence to plead her case.
"I know, Steph, but the life that you live is totally opposite to mine." She smacked her lips before she responded.
"Oh yes, honey! That is the truth if I ever heard it! I can come and go as I please, I make my own schedule, and I follow my own rules. When I feed myself, my family is fed, and I don't have to worry about anyone except me. When I leave, I don't have a specific time to come back. I, my dear Geena, can do what I want to do." Stephanie smacked her lips again. "Honestly, I don't see how you do it. You have totally lost yourself in their world, Geena, and you know that is NOT fair. I mean, think about it. What's left for you?"
I sat there, holding the phone to my ear for a few seconds while pondering that question. For some reason, it affected me differently than all the other times Stephanie and I had the vacation conversation. What was left for me? As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. But how could I take the time away? What about my obligations?
"Okay, Steph, I love you and would love to chat a little more, but I've got to go. I only have time for a quick bite then I am off to my 1:30 conference call. We'll talk more this weekend, okay?"
She sarcastically responded, "Promise?"
"Yessss, Steph, I promise."
Leaving the office that evening, I had to stop by the grocery store to pick up some broccoli to go along with the Rosemary chicken and wild rice I was preparing for dinner. While standing in line waiting for the cashier to ring up my food, I noticed a group of girls that must have been in their early twenties. I was standing close enough to hear them as they laughed and talked about their plans for going out later that night. I began to reminisce on how much fun we had in college and how much my life had really changed. Steph, Rachel, Kim, and I had been friends for a long time. I met Stephanie when I was in seventh grade and we latched on to Rachel and Kim when we entered high school. I consider my girls to be more like my sisters than just my friends.
I smiled thinking back to how the four of us were always on the go... meeting up at my house, getting ourselves together to go out, in my bedroom with the music blaring, shoes and clothes everywhere. It was a ritual for the girls to bring a bag of shorts and tops for us to rummage through and try on. I giggled to myself thinking about how we would put on a pair of short shorts, pairing them with some kind of shirt we had cut up, put ribbon or strings through and tied all the way up our backs. Before we could head out the door, we had to take turns turning towards the mirror to dance, shaking and dropping it low making sure our pongs, as my mother affectionately called our booty cheeks, weren't in full view. The four of us were considered to be kind of wild in our day, but we didn't mind because we believed in not allowing anything to step in our way of having a good time. We were responsible young women; we were serious about our education and securing our futures, but we didn't let our journey to success stop us from enjoying every day of our teenage and young adult years. I missed those times, but I realized that time in my life was over and it was time for me to move on. Don't get me wrong, I am happy with my life and I know that there is a time for every season, but that season of my life was over.
Later that evening as I stood at the sink washing dishes, I thought about the conversation Steph and I had earlier that day. Although this was the same conversation we had every year, I began to question whether I should seriously consider taking this all-girl vacation. That thought didn't last long because I was interrupted by a cry of, "MaaahhhMaahhh!" quickly snapping me back to reality.
"Can you help me with my math?"
From the other side of the house, I could hear another shout of, "Mommy, I can't find my gym shoes and I can't get another zero from Coach Wilcox."
"Just a minute, Frances."
This was a usual night in the Howard household, the kids screaming my name, me cleaning the kitchen and fulfilling any other household chores, all while Jared sat in his office in front of his computer as if he didn't have a care in the world. Although I knew he was focused on everything except us, I still screamed upstairs trying to get his attention to help me with the girls.
"Yes, Geena, what is it?" This was his usual reply in an irritated voice.
"Could you please tear yourself away from your office just long enough to help one of the girls out while I help the other?" I mouthed his response as it came from his lips.
"Geena, I have a million things to handle before my meeting with the corporate office in the morning."
This was his answer to every question I had for him when it came to helping around the house or with the girls. Jared was very successful in his firm and respected amongst his peers. He had received numerous accolades for his attentiveness and commitment to the projects that he led for the company. His focus had become being the best at what he did for the firm, which I was proud of but it had taken away the partner that I once had and still needed. After taking a deep sigh, I threw the dishtowel into the sink and marched upstairs to rescue my girls from their misery.
Walking into Lily's bedroom, I almost tripped over her hot pink book bag lying in the middle of the floor alongside her Juicy Couture purse and leopard print flats she'd worn to school that day.
"Lily Alexis Howard, how many times do I have to ask you to keep your things off the floor?"
She didn't even look up to respond, acting like another Howard that I knew.
"Oh, sorry, Mommy, could you please move it for me? I am really into this next problem. Ms. Jamison gives us the toughest assignments to only be 3rd graders."
"What are you working on?"
It looked as if she was working on some new information from the way she was seated at her desk with her math book, worksheets, sticky notes, pencils, and index cards all over the place. She had Willow Smith's cd playing in the background, and her television turned to FOX, watching Everybody Hates Chris. Whenever Ms. Jamison introduced a new chapter in math, Lily panicked. Being only nine years old, full of life, spontaneity, and I must add, major attitude, the school placed her in all advanced classes. This was a great honor, but it put a lot of pressure on her since she was always striving for perfection. Math was her weaker subject so anything unfamiliar had her all in knots.
"Well how about we let Willow rest before she snaps her neck and let Chris go find somebody to like him?"
I knew that if I tried to turn off the CD player and television I would get her attention. "No, Mommy. Wait, it helps me to think. I need my outside sources of energy, see, it helps if I can do my homework and whip my hair back and forth."
"Well if you want my help with this assignment young lady, you better start using your inside sources of energy before I have to whip something. And it won't be any hair."
"Now what is it you need help with?"
As soon as I sat down to look over the directions, Frances burst into the room. "Mama! I need my gym shoes. I don't have time for Coach Wilcox's mouth tomorrow!"
Frances, while only two years younger than her big sister, tried her best to be her total opposite. It tickled me to watch her sometimes. I always wanted to have a sister, so it bewildered me that she didn't look up to Lily. Although they could pass as twins with their tiny frames and long thick hair, Frances prided herself on doing whatever she thought Lily wouldn't like. This meant wearing her long curly black hair pulled back in a ponytail every day instead of wearing it straight like her sister, or wearing a pair of ripped jeans or basketball shorts to accompany her freshest pair of kicks, as she called them. The only thing they had in common was dance, which still always ended up as a competition.
"Frances, did you look in the closet beside the garage? Check there and let me help your sister with her math, I'll be down in a minute."
"But, Mama! You always help her first. "
Lily dragged her attention away from her worksheet to say, "That's because I'm the smart one."
I had to thump her on her ear. "Uhm, get your eyes on your paper, smart one. Frances, what did I ask you to do?"
She turned away before I could complete my sentence. "Yes, Ma'am."
"And fix your face before it gets stuck like that."
I could hear her laugh as she went down the steps. "Yes, Ma'am."
It was always so hard to try and accommodate both girls at the same time, which was another reason I wished Jared would be more hands on. The girls had become so accustomed to the way things were in our house that they didn't even ask Jared for help. They always relied on me, so I stopped relying on him.
As I sat there going over the math with Lily, I began to drift back to the conversation I had with Steph earlier that day. Once the girls were taken care of and I had completed all the nightly chores, bedtime arrived and that meant it was time to yell out my usual, "Okay, girls, it's about that time! Make sure you brush your teeth and say your prayers."
From one end of the house I could hear, "Goodnight, Mama."
And from the other end I could hear, "See ya in the morning."
And my nightly response was, "Good night, girls, I love you."
Walking into Jared's office, I stopped in the doorway watching him as he pecked away at the keys on his laptop. I missed the nights when I walked into his office catching him off guard, kissing him on his neck and taking him away from his work. Nowadays when I walked in, he kept his head down focusing on whatever he was working on. Walking in tonight, I tried to get his attention the best way I could. I walked in front of his desk, rubbed my finger across the top of his laptop, made noises as I moved some papers, and pushed his prized little league trophies around on his desk. I felt like picking one of them up and throwing it against the wall in hopes that would get him to look up. After all of my efforts, nothing worked, so I decided to just stop wasting time and talk.
"Hey! Whasssup, still working on the big proposal?"
While his head was still buried in his work, he responded, "Geena, baby, give me just a few more minutes. Go ahead and get ready for bed, pull the covers back for me, and I'll be up to join you. I'll be finished shortly."
And at that moment, I felt my nightly pain, as we continued a ritual of me cleaning up the kitchen, helping the girls, and walking into Jared's office only to be sent to bed alone. This had become the life for us; although I longed for more intimacy, I continued to be silent and not complain. The weight on my heart made it a struggle to put one foot in front of the other, but I made my way to the bedroom and prepared myself for bed. Walking into my cozy, beautifully decorated bedroom, all of the memories flooded back of when Jared and I were madly in love. I pulled the edge of the comforter back then plopped down on the bed. I thought back to the beautiful spring day when Jared and I went shopping together for bedroom furniture and the beautiful chocolate and teal bed linens and accessories. Back in those days, I used to get butterflies in my stomach whenever he looked at me, with the belief in my heart that the feeling would last forever.
After a few moments, I stood up to turn on the bed lamp before pulling the covers back, fluffing the pillows, and then heading for the bathroom. As I watched the water fill the tub, my mind shifted, thinking about how much Jared's love for me had faded. It was a sad ugly truth, but I had learned to live with it. I dropped my robe, took off my slippers and climbed into the bubble-filled tub, allowing the pillow of suds to cover my body like the clouds filling the sky on a stormy night. As I rested my head on the back of the spa tub, I began to really look at my life, taking off my paint-stained glasses that had allowed me to ignore the pain so prevalent in my heart. With my vision clear, I finally found the courage to stare my reality right in the face.
I felt my heart pound as I realized how much my truth hurt; I confessed to myself that my pain was unbearable. I thought about my life choices, the paths I'd chosen to take, and the promises I had made for myself that I found myself so willing to break. Tears fell from my face as I sank deeper into the pillow of bubble suds draped over my lovesick, weakened body. I began to question where my choices had led me and if there was any hope for me to capture the life I had always dreamed of. A life filled with love, adventure, and intimacy. Feeling the coolness of the water, I took my right toe and turned on the hot water to reheat my pool of emotions. I didn't realize how long the faucet had been on because, before I knew it, the water was about to spill over. As I stood to grab my towel and dry off, I heard my cellphone ringing from inside my purse.
"Hey, Chick, whassup?"
"Steph, it's 10:30 p.m. You know this is my wind down time."
"Yeah, yeah, I know, but I was sitting here thinking about our conversation from earlier and I really want you to go with us, Geena. Every year, you turn us down, and we're not getting any younger! I spoke with a travel agent today, and I've been on the web looking for deals; I just found a hotel in Miami that is a five-star luxury suite and I just want to know if you're down or what?"
"Steph, look I told you..." She interrupted before I could finish.
"Look, Gee, I hate to just stand by and watch as you allow your life to pass you by! You are my very best friend, and I don't like what's happening to you. You have allowed life to take its toll on you. I have one full week to confirm the reservations, so you take your time, but not too much, and let me know what you want to do. No more pressure. I love you, BFF."
I felt her heart smiling through the phone as I replied, "Love you more, Steph, good night."
Drying off, I could hear Jared walk into the bedroom and take off his cuff links and watch, placing them on the dresser. He came into the bathroom to brush his teeth without even taking a look back over his shoulder to acknowledge my presence. I stood and watched him for a few moments, hoping he would utter at least a word to start some type of conversation. When he didn't, I sat down on the stool in front of the Jacuzzi to put on my lotion and wondered what had happened to the warm and compassionate man that I met, fell in love with, and married ten years ago. I was used to him complimenting me, touching me, holding me, and making me feel like a woman. After he put his toothbrush away, he turned around and noticed that I was watching him. His demeanor was cold and uncaring. As he turned on the shower, he finally asked, "Anything wrong, Geena?"
As my heart screamed out from pain, I wanted to say yes, but my stubborn mind just balled up like a shy girl on her first date. "Nooooo, Jared, nothing's wrong. I'm just tired. You have a nice shower. I'm going to bed."
As I walked through the bathroom door and headed to the bed, my heart longed for the passion we once had. I wanted desperately for him to ask me to join him in the shower, but he didn't. Instead he stepped in the shower without me, just like I felt he had stepped away from my love.
After Jared finished up in the bathroom, he climbed into bed beside me, reached to turn out his lamp, nestled his head onto his pillow, put the covers around him, and quickly drifted off to sleep. I lay there in cold silence, looking into the mirrored clock that showed my reflection staring back at me, tasting the salty tears that were falling down my face. I didn't dare to let Jared hear me as my emotions ran wild inside my body, so I remained in place and cried myself to sleep.
I must have been asleep for only three or four hours when I was awakened by the sudden movement I felt beside me. Although I wanted to jump up and ask Jared what he was doing, I just kept my eyes closed and listened. I could see him walking towards the bathroom through the dresser mirror, so I sat up in the middle of the bed to wait for his return. As he walked back into the bedroom he noticed I was awake.
"Whoa! You scared me! You okay, Geena? Is there something wrong?"
I told him I was okay as he looked at me confused and turned on the bed lamp to be certain that I was.
"Okay, well why you are sitting up in the middle of the bed at four in the morning? "Although my feelings of mourning from a dying marriage were on my mind, I held back and only mentioned the conversation I had earlier with Steph.
"Honestly, I am fine. I just wanted to talk to you about something. How do you feel about me joining the girls in Miami for an all-girls vacation?"
Without hesitation, Jared responded, "I feel like you should go! What's holding you back?"
I paused with a blank stare, not knowing what to say next. "Well for one, I thought we'd discussed vacationing with friends once we got married and how we didn't think married people should go out of town on trips without their mates." For assurance purposes, I took another pause to gather my thoughts, "There's just too much temptation out there and traps ready to slip you up, and I just don't feel comfortable."
Jared took me by the hand, scooted himself closer, and looked into my eyes as he spoke. "Geena, listen to me. You work hard, you take care of the girls, you handle the house, and you are always on the move. You deserve a vacation, and on top of that, I trust you, so there's no reason for you to feel that way. Besides, your friends constantly ask you to travel with them, and you always turn them down. I can handle things around here, and it will be fun to spend some quality time with the girls."
"But, Jared. I just don't think it's a good idea to be away from you and the girls for an entire week. I can see maybe going to have lunch or drinks, but out of town for a full week, I just don't know."
"Okay, Geena, what's the real issue? You know I trust you so why deprive yourself of something as special as spending time with your friends?"
"That's just it, Jared. I don't feel as If I am depriving myself of anything. I'm afraid that changing certain dynamics in any relationship can lead to something else. I mean if it's working the way it is, then why the need to make a change? Change is not always good!"
"Go on, babe. Listen, you deserve it."
As flustered thoughts ran through my brain, I finally agreed. "Okay, Jared, if you insist on it. I'll call Stephanie tomorrow. I guess I'm going to Miami."
While giving me a gentle kiss on the forehead, Jared stated, "You'll have a great time and you deserve it, Geena."
"Goodnight Jared," I replied as I returned the kiss to his lips.
Posted October 20, 2011
I am an avid reader. This book is easy to read and it flows so well. You would not be able to tell that this is this author's first writing
You will find yourself identifying with each of these characters. You will be cheering one minute and crying the next.
Once I started reading, I could not put it down! The only disappointing part of this book is that it had to end. Cannot wait for the sequel!!
Mrs. Katrina B. Hill is definitely an author to look out for. This book is definitely a must read!
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 21, 2012
On paper, Geena Sullivan has the perfect life and is the epitome of a woman in control. She has two beautiful daughters, a loving and devoted husband and a best friend she can rely on. However, Geena’s life is anything but perfect as she loses control of everyone around her. Her oldest daughter is making grown up decisions regarding her high school boyfriend. Geena tries to manipulate the decisions but may end up losing her daughter. Will she release control before she loses her daughter for good?
Geena’s perfect marriage begins to unravel when long lost friends return and threaten to reveal secrets from her past. Will Geena be able to control the situation long enough to save her marriage and foil any attempts to disclose her past?
Katrina Butler Hill’s “When the Well Runs Dry” is a pretty good novel. However, it lacks a clear direction in the storyline. The novel starts out with the secrets from Geena’s past but quickly moves to another storyline with the daughter. The author then returns to the past secrets, albeit briefly, before going into more detail with the daughter. I didn’t know if this novel was supposed to be about Geena having to deal with her family life or Geena having to run from her past. If the author had maintained the family life story, I feel it would have been a good novel. However, the main character’s secret past life did nothing to add to the story or the plot. Additionally, there were a few distracting editing errors that kept this book from being more than a 3-star read.
Reviewed by: Flashette
Posted October 30, 2011
I started reading this book one Saturday morning and couldn't put it down. I was reading it out loud to my husband and he actually listened. This book was amazing. The problems that Mrs. Hill touched bases on can really hit home with a lot of people. I used her book at my bookclub meeting and we all had a lot to discuss. Anyone looking for a great read, this is the book for you. I am looking forward to her future books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2011
I picked up this book on a Saturday afternoon and could not go to sleep that night until I finished it. I got sucked in right away and was unable to put it down! I am well acquainted with Katrina B Hill....she is my trainer, life coach, mentor, but most of all, my friend whom I love dearly. I encourage you to get your copy of When the Wells Run Dry today!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 25, 2011
Katrina Butler Hill has done a magnificent job depicting the trials and tribulations not only women endure, but that men endure as well. When the Well Runs Dry is an excellent book club novel that will foster candid dialogue in a group setting and heal any open wounds. I highly recommend that EVERYONE befriends "Geena", but be WARNED, you may discover that your lives are very similar, and in fact, YOUR WELL MAY BE RUNNING DRY!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 25, 2011
This book is outstanding...you will be amazed time and time again with every page. The author makes you feel every emotion and circumstance of her characters. Many of you, will find yourselves in this book. So, sit Back relax and enjoy this book that will make u laugh, cry, and smile!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2011
I have no hesitancy in writing a letter of recommendation for Mrs. Katrina Hill book "When the Well Run Dry". This book captures the true joys and pains of a relationship. If you think that your struggles and DESIRES are more than the average person...read this book. You will find yourself giving someone a high five and thiking about that time you did it like that. You can also relate to the pain endured by those captured in this story.. read and enjoy!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 21, 2011
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! A juicy storyline that will have your mouth literally watering and wanting more.Buckle your seat belts and enjoy this intriguing,inspiring and sexy ride. I guarantee this book will leave you on the edge of your seat!!!!! I am anticipating the sequel!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 21, 2011
I absolutely enjoyed this book from beginning to end!! I loved how the author used real life situations and it was very easy to relate to the characters. I am really looking forward to reading the next book. There are great things to come from this new author!! :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 21, 2011
I don't typically read romance novels but I made the exception after a friend suggested I read it. The author brought the characters to life in this book. My emotions ran the gamut while reading When the Well Runs Dry. I laughed, I cried, I was angry, there was no end. I highly suggest you pick it up and make it a part of your collection.
Posted October 21, 2011
I was amazingly surprised by this book from author, Katrina Butler Hill from the first page to the last. It was so engaging that I could not put the book down. The characters are so well developed that you find yourself absorbed in the flow of the book. I uniquely identified with each of the women in the book and found that I learned a little bit more of myself at each chapter. It's is brilliantly captivating and yet so relevant to our times. Long after you read this book, you will find that the characters remain with you. These characters do not jump out of the page, you fade into the book. I never read such fiction that felt so real. Kudos to you Katrina Butler Hill, this is a nice read and a great discussion for a girlfriend's retreat.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 20, 2011
I'm in love with this new author and her storyline! This was a great book and it kept me engaged from the beginning to the end..Can't wait for the next book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.