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Sally Beauchamp Strong

     "May 22, 1966, Jimmy is one month old today." Sally smiled up from the gold-edged diary, and the radiance of her freshly washed hair and soap-polished skin reached across the crowded bedroom to the warmly blanketed infant. Her silver pen flourished across the pale violet pages.
     "I've almost forgotten about that pathetic invention of mine, Linda Lure (what a silly name!). How could I have thought for a minute I was happy in the phony tinsel of Hollywood? What a movie plot!"
     "'Little Sally Beauchamp sets out to conquer the world as Linda Lure. But Linda Lure finds that the world doesn't want to be conquered, so she conquers Rex Grandee instead.'"
     "But I found that Rex Grandee didn't want to be conquered, either." Sally frowned, then caught herself frowning and erased the wrinkles between her wide blue eyes with her lotioned fingertips.
     "I tried, diary dear, to make a good marriage. Oh, you KNOW how I tried. But Rex just DIDN'T cooperate."
     Pushing back a blond lock that fell into her eyes, she stared smolderingly at herself in the rose-tinted mirror. She saw the red beginning of a pimple forming on the side of her nose and leaned forward to examine it. As her image filled the mirror, peripheral flurry warned her of her approaching husband, but her concentration screwed up her flawlessly lipsticked mouth so that her "Hello, darling," came out muffled and unintelligible.
     With an angelic look of pure bliss, James Strong bent down and kissed the part in his wife's golden-gleaming hair. The smell of lotions and creams sanctified the room for him. "I love you so much," he murmured.
     "Yes, darling, I love you too," Sally said, "but please don't wet my hair---the color might not be quite set yet, and water may streak it." She smiled her best "This lovely chiffon negligee is only $14.95" model smile and lightly scratched his face with her pointed talons as she reached up to pat his cheek.
     "You're the bestest husband I've ever had," she went on to say, not noticing a slight flicker of pain cross his face.
     Tiny Jimmy Strong began to whimper from his crib. "Oh, Daddy, you'd better go now. I have to give itty-bitty Dzimmie his din-din," and she put her hand to her lace-covered breast, then turned back to her writing.
     James Strong closed the bedroom door softly behind him.
     "It's certainly true that breast-feeding helps the breasts grow bigger." She wrote hurriedly as the baby wailed louder and louder. "But I'm going to stop soon," she added to herself, "because he's beginning to HURT me. Could he be getting teeth ALREADY?" She resumed writing: "Now I have to start exercising to get rid of this AWFUL pot."
     "Married life is such a joy, and I'm SO happy." She underlined "so" a number of times as the baby screamed in her ears, and she fought to ignore the acid wet-diaper smell that crept to her delicate nose. She thought, "Shut up while I finish this, can't you?" and continued to write.
     "It's so wonderful to have a family to GIVE yourself to. James will soon be the pastor of the most important Congregational Church in Fort Worth---won't that be wonderful?" She gazed at her reflection with complete happiness, or happiness that was made more complete when she found the tweezers and removed one eyebrow hair which was slightly out of line.
     "A child is such a wonderful experience---I'll remember all the lovely minutes of Jimmy's infancy." Little Jimmy Strong turned red in the face from the pressure of crying, but the wrinkled eyes were still too young to shed tears. "I'm SO happy I decided to have one child---it was such a LOVELY experience." Sally underlined "lovely" only three times since she had to finish quickly.
     "I have found true happiness." She got up from her chair, straightened her sheer silk bathrobe, glanced into the mirror to be sure her hair was all right, and went across the room to her own little son.
     "I have found true happiness," she repeated in her mind, then declaimed it in her best Hollywood-trained voice as a warm feeling spread through her pale soft pink body.