Lost Along the Way - Erin Duffy

one

May 2005

Taxi!” Jane yelled, hurling herself into oncoming traffic in an attempt to slow the canary-yellow car as it came speeding down Columbus Avenue. She’d overslept and had to hurry downtown to meet the girls for brunch, leaving her husband, Doug—she loved the way that sounded—back at their apartment on West Eighty-Second Street, sleeping off the bottles of champagne they’d had after the ceremony. She was going to be late, which wasn’t unusual in the slightest, but today it actually bothered her. Today she had news. Today she really would’ve liked to have been on time.

Jane checked her face in her compact mirror and plucked one lone false eyelash out of the corner of her eye. She tousled her blond hair, the curls from the night before now looking chicly disheveled, and dropped some Visine in each eye while her cab idled at a light on Houston Street. She pulled her phone from her bag and sent a quick text message to both Cara and Meg: Stuck in traffic, be there in five, even though she knew it would take her at least ten minutes to get there. They wouldn’t be surprised as Jane hadn’t been on time for anything in her entire life. They didn’t seem to care all that much, but old friends are good like that. She loved them like sisters, and while they each had become their own women over the years, they were still best friends. She couldn’t wait to tell them that she’d gotten married.

Finally, it was her turn.

When she entered the restaurant in lower Manhattan, Jane immediately spotted them sitting at a small table in the corner and waved. She was giddy, and nervous, and excited, and dying to tell them what she’d done. She’d been married less than twenty-four hours, but she already felt like a completely different person—like a legitimate adult. The day before, she’d stood in City Hall in a beautiful white cocktail dress and over the course of a ten-minute ceremony managed to redirect her entire life. Today she was a married woman. Today she was Jane Logan, the wife of a Wall Street executive, instead of Jane Parker, the unemployed actress. Today three married girls were having brunch together, instead of two married girls and their one perennially single friend. Today she was starting over.

Today was a very, very good day.

“Hey!” Meg said when she approached the table. “We ordered you a mimosa, light on the orange juice.”

“Thanks!” Jane chirped, happy to have her celebration continue, even if her friends had no idea she was celebrating anything yet.

“How was your night?” Cara asked. “Do anything good? I watched a movie with Reed and went to bed at ten. I wanted to go to an early spin class before we got together.”

“I did, actually!” Jane sang, secretly loving the suspense she was building without their knowing it.

“Can we tell the waiter to take the bread basket off the table?” Cara suggested, grabbing the basket of carbs and waving to get the waiter’s attention. “I didn’t just bike my ass off to eat these muffins, and if they sit here I will consume half the basket. You guys don’t mind, do you?” she asked, though she had no intention of waiting for an answer.

“Not really,” Meg said. “Although you’re crazy if you think you need to watch your weight. You look amazing.” Meg was right. Cara was a poster child for natural, understated, effortless beauty, one of the only girls Jane knew who somehow managed to look good even when she was a sweaty mess. Cara always elicited quiet envy from