The faculty room was located near the front entrance to the school, but far down the hall from the cafeteria. Although the building was forty years old and in dire need of renovation, Justine was grateful to the original architect for realizing that teachers needed a space that free from noise and frequent interruptions.
With a plastic fork, Justine cut a small slit in the plastic lining of her frozen meal. She knew this wasn't real food, and that it was probably bad for her even if it was one of those diet meals. She envied her colleagues who had the time and money to cook well, the ones with the perfect manicures and pricey handbags who always looked so damned professional when they came into the school.
One of her colleagues had had the idea to get people to start bringing in old issues of women's magazines to keep in the faculty room. Justine flipped through a July issue of Redbook while she waited for her lunch to heat up. Make-up tips, sex tips, cooking tips, pictures of impossibly skinny models wearing $1,500 pants and heels so high they would reduce any normal woman's feet into hamburger. Celebrities she wasn't familiar with, because who had time to watch television these days? It occurred to Justine that women who regularly subscribed to these magazines were masochists, adding impossible tasks to their impossibly long to-do lists.
The door opened and three of her colleagues walked in-- one of them a social studies teacher on her eighth grade team, the other two English teachers from the sixth and seventh grades. All three of them were perfectly nice women who liked to discuss soup recipes, family vacations, date nights with their husbands, and, of course, their young children. Always their young children.