Just Lucky I Guess.

Gorgeous, pregnant, married with two kids and a burgeoning career as an insurance adjuster, Marilyn had been called many things, but 40 was never one of them.

"How do you do it, Mary? Full time job, two little ones running around, a husband and a house. And look at you! You're six months pregnant, but no one would notice if they didn't know you. How do you do it?"

Marilyn was the envy of all her co-workers, but that didn't matter. It didn't take much to impress a bunch of cows sitting in front of computers on their fat asses for 8 hours a day, constantly munching on light microwave popcorn with extra salt and wondering why nothing ever fit right anymore. "Are you sure you don't want any of this cake? It's really good!" Marilyn went into the bathroom to vomit up the dry wheat toast she had for breakfast; probably not the best thing for the baby, but when she grew up and started working in an office full of human garbage disposals, she'd thank her considerate mother.

At the end of every day, Marilyn's in-box maintained the same level it attained from the start. Treading water, always treading water. She just wanted to do enough to get by without notice; but those damned oversized balloons tied to the corner of her cubicle sure weren't going to help. "A few of us girls are gonna hit up the happy hour over at McGarnical's, if you're interested." Marilyn considered the small-talk with the nanny; the quiet dinner at home with the husband; the bedtime story with the kids; the missionary sex with the twice-yearly oral. Yes, she thought, that could wait.

Everyone else ordered martinis and buffalo wings. "Oh, no alcohol for her, she's expecting. I know! Doesn't she look amazing?" Marilyn noticed the receptionist toddling over to the server after she left with their order, presumably to point out Marilyn's birthday status. As much as she relished in the idea of a group of apathetic service-industry professionals huddling around her, rejoicing in the festivities surrounding this special day with a cupcake and a lone candle sticking out, Marilyn knew she couldn't handle this sober. She excused herself from the table, retreating to the upstairs portion of the bar.

Solitude, pleasant solitude. A lone bartender, a few empty tables, and no annoying co-workers. "What can I get you?" Marilyn pounded her whisky sour, then ordered another, a double. She pulled out a cigarette, then was reminded that this was a non-smoking establishment, so she downed the double and snuck out of the bar.

The bus didn't drop her off a block from her house like it normally did. Instead, the bus left Marilyn standing in the middle of the college side of town. She had to be carded. She had to go into a college bar and be carded on her birthday to prove to herself that she still had something left to live for. And, they card everyone in those college bars, she told herself. They have to card me.

When Marilyn arrived at the entrance of The Meridian, the bouncer took one look and waived her through. Dejected, but undeterred, she ordered a shot of scotch and stood leaning her back against the bar, elbows propped on top. Waiting. Waiting for that, "Can I buy you a drink?"

A tall, gangly, shaggy-haired 22 year old, drawn into the stench of Clingy Old Broad Desperate For Attention. "So, what's your story?"

Marilyn checked her phone. Co-workers wondering where she ran off to; Marilyn didn't answer. Instead, she coaxed the ear of her new friend down to her lips and whispered.

They arrived at his apartment minutes later; his roommate sat in front of the television emersed in the 496th lap. "Dude, take a walk." Marilyn's thong fell to the ground soon after.

She'd had better. Bigger too, but today wasn't about pleasure. Today was about defiance. And getting her way on the day of her birth. "Can I call you?" Marilyn smiled and licked the backside of his earlobe, out of his life without another word.

She was ready for that small talk now. Ready to eat with her husband and read to her kids. Ready for that blas´┐Ż love-making; ready to act her way through another well-timed orgasm.

Instead, she received an empty house and a note on the dining room table. "At the hospital, tried to call. Jeffrey had another attack. Call me when you get this." Marilyn lit another cigarette and poured herself a glass of wine. She sat at the table, casually sipping, staring out into the void through the sliding glass doors leading to the backyard. A half hour later, Marilyn stood up, felt a sharp, intense pain in her stomach and sat back down. She considered how she'd go about explaining this one.