Stella Payne is forty-two, divorced, a high-powered investment analyst, mother of eleven-year-old Quincy- and she does it all. In fact, if she doesn't do it, it doesn't get done, from Little League carpool duty to analyzing portfolios to folding the laundry and bringing home the bacon. She does it all well, too, if her chic house, personal trainer, BMW, and her loving son are any indication. So what if there's been no one to share her bed with lately, let alone rock her world Stella doesn't mind it too much; she probably wouldn't have the energy for love - and all of love's nasty fallout - anyway.But when Stella takes a spur-of-the-moment vacation to Jamaica, her world gets rocked to the core - not just by the relaxing effects of the sun and sea and an island full of attractive men, but by one man in particular. He's tall, lean, soft-spoken, Jamaican, smells of citrus and the ocean - and is half her age. The tropics have cast their spell and Stella soon realizes she has come to a cataclysmic juncture: not only must she confront her hopes and fears about love, she must question all of her expectations, passions, and ideas about life and the way she has lived it.
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October 19, 2003
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Excerpt from How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan
I HADN'T PLANNED on going anywhere. All I knew was that as much as I loved my son, I was glad to see him disappear after those doors to Gate 3 closed this morning. Quincy's on his way to Colorado Springs to visit his daddy and now I have the house all to myself. Finally, some peace and quiet. And three whole weeks of it. Of course there are a million things I want to do and now I can do them without being distracted. Without hearing "Mom, can I...?!" every fifteen seconds.
Thank God it's Saturday. And thank God it's summertime. School's out. No more three-day-a-week Little League practice (rain or shine) or those long-ass games. No week-on/week-off revolving carpooling and forgetting it's my week and being afraid to call the parents of the abandoned children who are all standing in the rain for an hour after I forgot them because they are all -- including my own son -- too dumb to call somebody else. And thank the Lord there's nowhere I have to be: no can't-wait portfolios to review and I don't have to pay attention to any of the four computers in my office, I mean I can actually be off-line for a change and I have no meetings no planes to catch, nada.
I've got about a hundred books I've been meaning to read since last year and I figure now I can probably read them all. I've got a house full of trees and straggly vines that need to be transplanted which is what I'm planning to do today but of course when I go out to the garage I have no big pots and just a drop of potting soil and not a single pair of those gloves with the little rubber dots on the fingertips, all of which means I have to go to Home Depot. I hate going to Home Depot because I always end up going down the plant rug toilet or sink aisles when I have enough plants rugs toilets and sinks already. But by the time I get to the checkout I usually have to exchange my cart for one of those flatbed numbers and then I realize I didn't drive the truck so I have to have them put my stuff to the side until I come back and as I'm driving home it occurs to me that they're probably going to switch some of my merchandise and not think I'll notice but by the time I pull the truck up to their automatic doors I'm usually totally pissed at myself for buying all this shit I don't need because despite the fact that I am not a landscaper handywoman or carpenter I have all these useful new tools with which to express my fantasies of do-it-yourselfness and what is really bothering me is that I have most likely spent somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand bucks which seems to be my going rate here and at Costco and which is also why I am right this minute changing my mind about going today. I'll go tomorrow. With a list and the promise to buy only what's on it.
I look around the house and realize that the housekeeper does a pretty good job -- for a sixty-one-year-old Peruvian man -- of keeping it clean. He fixes everything that breaks around here, and since he is ultrareligious and I think maybe even a participating Buddhist, out of respect I sort of watch my mouth in my own home. He cleans under and behind everything which is the main reason I have no Saturday morning cleaning to do. I believe from the bottom of my heart that dusting polishing and vacuuming are entirely too tedious never-ending and boring tasks and there are so many other things I would rather be doing which is why I hired Paco in the first place. He is worth the money.