The Hunting by Kerry Peresta
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Release Date: November 24, 2013
Isabelle Lewis, top advertising salesperson at the Chatbrook Springs Sentinel newspaper, has a habit of falling in and out of marriage.
After her last divorce, she shoved the emotional pain into a compartment in her brain to deal with later.
With three teenagers to raise, bills to pay, and sales quotas to meet, introspection was a luxury she could not afford. Her mind needed a happy place.
When Isabelle (Izzy) discovered online dating, it immediately became her favorite stress reliever and best friend. Often, she'd steal into the night after her kids were asleep to meet someone new.
One fateful evening, the hunt for the perfect guy took a sinister turn when the mystery man she met turned out to be her worst nightmare! Reluctantly pulled into a web of lies, Izzy is forced to confront her demons.
The Original Posers
I have always thought “pose” a nice word - firm, artistic, even stately. For instance, one poses for a photograph. One poses to model clothing, or for an artist’s brush.
A few years ago, my kids started using the word “poser.” Being the inquisitive and sharp-witted person that I am, I quickly picked up on the sarcastic nuance. Further scrutiny revealed that “poser” meant one who pretends to be something he is not.
So I kind of got used to that.
But last Thursday changed everything. I stumbled over the true meaning of the word when I accidentally took a yoga class.
I went to the gym anticipating an interval-cardio class, but I’d looked at the wrong schedule. The class about to begin was “Bodyflow” which is actually yoga with a few other things thrown in that I cannot pronounce. It included mats and bare feet.
I had already invested significant workout-preparation time and did not want to have to do it all over again the next day, so I untied my shoes and pulled them off along with cute, matching Nike socks and threw them in a heap against the wall. If I wanted to work out in the time frame allotted I had no choice but to do it barefoot. Such is life.
I lectured myself about holding plans loosely and letting go of expectations, trying to ignore the fact that the guy behind me looked like an emaciated prune and most of the granola-esque women seemed quite comfortable in bare feet.
The lights dimmed.
I was thinking, why are the lights dimming? The music began. Very new age-y with slight hints of Chinese water lilies. Or maybe Japanese water lilies. My exercise routine goes back as far as Jane Fonda and Jazzercise, which are two very different workout streams, but the point is I am comfortable with lots of upbeat music; yelled, chirpy encouragement, and pounding dance moves. I had no clue what massage music had to do with working out, but I was game.
The music wafted eerily through the darkened room. The instructor, eyes half-closed, arched both arms upward, hands tilted in prayer and drawn down in front of the chest. We repeated this in different variations for approximately twenty minutes. Then we were told to perform the Tree Pose.
The instructor drew a foot up the side of one leg and held it firmly against her knee. I wobbled a little, but managed to imitate a respectable tree. Then the instructor told us to perform the “Downward-Facing Dog Pose,” his voice soft as velvet. Who comes up with these names? I had never seen a dog pose this way. I had actually never seen anything pose this way, except maybe in the game “Twister.”
I obligingly threw my head upside down, planted my hands on the floor and thrust my hindquarters high. I wondered what the wizened prune-guy behind me thought, but he wheezed so hard he probably didn’t pay attention to anything but his own Downward-Facing Dog. Lung-Impaired version.
With a seductive whisper, the instructor told us to whoosh one leg forward and plant a foot under our chins, thereby accomplishing a lunge, which I do not think constitutes a pose, but I am not sure. From the lunge position we were supposed to smoothly transition into the Warrior Pose, roughly resembling a mother with outstretched arms between two young children desperately trying to keep them from scratching each other’s eyes out.
At one point we all wobbled mightily on one leg while attempting to stretch the other straight out in front of us and cross it over the knee on the other side. I made a pitiful attempt. Each participant struggled to hold the poses indefinitely, red faces, muffled grunting and heavy breathing all around.
People actually enjoy this?
I quickly mastered the “Happy Baby Pose.” I almost sucked my thumb. The “Lotus Pose” was totally a breeze, too - basically we sat, Indian-style and wondered about lotuses. Loti. Whatever. The yoga experience included lots of time to wonder about stuff.
Names of the poses are too delicious. For instance: Half-Moon Pose (The pose for men who have, developed a huge paunch. It is performed standing, hands on top of said paunch with woeful gaze downward at their own personal half-moon); Half-Frog Pose (Are these frogs cut in half? Are they standing on one leg? And more importantly, is this where frog legs come from?); Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Lord of the Fishes? Seriously?
Is a Lord of the Fishes a whale? If not, what is a Lord of the Fishes and why is there only half of one?); Corpse Pose (I thought exercise was geared to prevent the premature occurrence of this pose, but what do I know?); Cow Face Pose (the pose for really, really ugly people); Reclining Big Toe Pose (I did not know that big toes actually…um…reclined, but I would certainly like to see this phenomenon); Firefly Pose (the pose for the young at heart and accompanied by a quart jar with holes punched in the lid)…I could go on. The list of poses is lengthy, but I am seriously over-posed at this point, and suspicious of an entire discipline dedicated to posing.
Maybe I have become jaded.
The wizened prune guy approached me after class and demonstrated how to properly perform a Warrior Pose. Then he told me I should buy a yoga mat, as I cannot be a tree and other assorted landscape items or creatures without it. I smiled, thanked him, and ran for the door. Like Yoda with yoga wisdom, he tracked me, sniffing a potential convert. I made it to my car, wiping sweat off my brow, glancing over my shoulder. I ignored his disappointed expression and zoomed off before he decided to demonstrate the Cow Face Pose at my window.
I found out later that yoga has its roots in Buddhism, a religion that seeks to unite individual consciousness with universal consciousness. I am not sure what a universal consciousness is, but I am pretty sure it has something to do with frogs and fireflies and trees and dogs and lotus. Loti. Whatever.
I’ll stick to cardio and strength training, and let the Yoda people get up close and personal with yoga.
Besides, I do not think I have much in common with people who actively pursue a Corpse Pose.
Kerry Peresta's publishing credits include a popular newspaper and e-zine humor column, The Lighter Side, and short stories in the published anthology, That One Left Shoe, and her debut novel, The Hunting, contemporary women's fiction, released by Pen-L Publishing.
She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, and copywriter before deciding to devote more of her time to writing.
She is currently working on her second novel, participating in writing conferences, and serving on the leadership team of the Maryland Writers' Association. Kerry was a single mother for many years to four great kids, all grown and successfully carving out their own unique paths. She and her husband live in the Baltimore metro area.
Her novel, The Hunting, is available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble (bn.com), and her website.