Author: Demetria Foster Gray
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
The death of Nyla's husband comes as a shock to everyone except Nyla. What’s shocking to Nyla is her inability to grieve his death like a typical loving wife should grieve. But Nyla isn't a typical loving wife. She's a woman in desperate need to breathe. The oxygen in her life has long gone, and the astonishing thing she feels from her husband's death is relief, not grief. Even more astonishing is the rare and unexpected friendship which develops between Nyla and her dead husband's mistress. However, Nyla isn’t aware her new best friend is a former mistress. And as their friendship deepens into an unshakable bond, Nyla is forced to face secrets her husband took with him to his grave. This means she has to sift through mud to unravel the truth. A truth that’s better off dead. Yet through it all, the one thing which makes Nyla violently breathless, is the exact same thing that causes her to finally breathe.
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Nathan is in the family room watching sports on TV. My handbag and car keys are on the foyer table next to the flower arrangement I sent myself yesterday for our twentieth wedding anniversary. I grab my keys, my handbag, and open the front door. I pause in the doorway to look back over my shoulder, at the life I lived here. Then silently, almost invisibly, I walk out the door.
I have no idea where I’m going. All I feel is the overwhelming burden of where I’ve been. The toll and heaviness of an undesired life. For now, a hotel will have to do. One where no one can find me, and has big, fluffy pillows to hold my tears and muffle my screams. Tomorrow, when Nathan’s at work, I’ll go back for a few personal things. All I have now are the clothes on my back—clothes which are hanging wearily from my marriage-torn body.
The truth of the matter is, I’m a murderer. I’ve killed the one person who could’ve saved me—myself. I’ve traveled down this lifeless road for far too long, and now I’m stuck in blandness. I miss the flavor of life. The pleasure and joy of actually feeling feelings, instead of faking feelings. Faking joy, faking happiness.
But thank God the dead has now risen, and it’s time for me to take back my life. To absolve my death. Which is precisely what I did over dinner this evening while Nathan was eating in front of the TV, and I was dining alone at the kitchen table. I asked myself two questions: (1) How much longer can I play a role that’s no longer suited for me?, and (2) How much longer can I hold my breath when all I want to do is breathe? The answers to those questions are what caused me to rise from the table, grab my handbag, and walk out the door.
The thing is, I don’t know how to love my husband anymore. Or if I ever loved him at all. It seems I did. I must have. But I just don’t know anymore. It’s exhausting spinning your wheels in a marriage that doesn’t seem to move. Not forward, not backwards, just stalled. Stagnant. A lot of bitterness accompanies stagnation. A lot of anger. A lot of slicing each other apart, and chewing each other up. It’s treacherous. It’s sad. It’s time to move on.
After driving for a half hour to the next town, I find a nice hotel with clean, spacious rooms, a deep Jacuzzi tub, fresh linens, and a complimentary hot breakfast in the morning. Nathan will be calling me when it becomes the middle of the night and I haven’t returned home. He’ll wonder where I am with a slight bit of concern. Or perhaps he’ll sleep like a log through the night and never give my absence a second thought. Either way, I’ve turned off my cell phone. His concern or lack of concern is no longer an issue for me.