Some thoughts from me while it’s still Monday in my part of the world!
a) Does this ever happen to you? Twice now I’ve been in a restaurant where there is just one person who has the type of voice that carries so loudly and clearly that I can hear every word they are saying as if they were at my table. And they’re not even sitting that close to me.
All the other 50 or 60 people’s voices are normal. I mean, I know there are conversations at each table, but nothing that interferes with the conversation at our table. It drives me bonkers because I just cannot tune out that one voice and I really, really don’t care about the details of their life/recipe/school/shopping trip/work/whatever! Do people really not realize how loud they are speaking?
b) I apparently give off some vibes that make me seem approachable. Relative strangers tell me personal things. All the time. The gym where I go to work out early in the day has a wide variety of people from young adults to older couples. This very nice older Indian woman has been talking to me for a few weeks now as we’re there at the same time most days. Her oldest daughter is in her late 30s and lives in a western state. She is either divorced or never married, but has at least one son who is a teenager.
The problem is she hits up her older parents who are retired for money all the time. It sounds like they’ve sent her literally thousands of dollars over the years. The latest story is that the daughter lost her job because of the heat wave and she became dehydrated and had to spend time in the hospital. Now, I don’t think that would actually happen because I’m pretty sure you can’t fire someone for having to miss work while in the hospital, but these parents don’t want to believe their daughter might be lying to them.
She tells them she won’t move back with them, they can’t visit her because it’s never a good time, but if they don’t continue to send money they will come back in the next life as cockroaches. The cockroach thing seems to bother my new friend a lot as she’s mentioned it to me more than once.
I gently suggested they go out and surprise her anyway, talk to a counselor here for some advice or pull a tough love move and tell her, sorry, they can’t afford to send her anything more. I get how easy it is to feel guilty, especially as a parent, but it sounds like the daughter is a master manipulator and I’m out of ideas.
c) I’m trying to get back to writing fiction, but it’s been very difficult for me to be creative lately. I’m just not motivated and nothing comes to mind that seems worth writing. I’m still hoping for that inspiration to just hit me!
d) The weather here is so gorgeous for the middle of August. It’s low eighties, sunny, breezy — and I think I’ll just go outside…
Smart aleck kids. That’ll fix ’em!
You can find earlier excerpts from The Reunion here
“Brian, I do understand, but Casey’s what, 18, 19? And she is going to be out from under her parents’ roofs pretty soon anyway. You won’t have a lot of say so when she’s away at school, especially what she’s doing at night or on the weekends. It sounds like you did a great job raising her and now you’ll have to trust her to make good choices.“
Whoops, she knew she’d really stepped into it when his smile thinned and his eyes narrowed. “And you know this from your vast experience with child rearing?”
“Wow, sorry, of course not. No kids here. I didn’t mean to overstep. I haven’t even seen you in years and here I am giving you advice on your teenager –“
“No, I’m the one who’s sorry. I just apologized for how I treated you years ago and I’m being an ass again. Of course you’ve got opinions about how teenaged girls act. You were one. Your ideas are probably worth more than mine.” He looked up at her and she could see the sadness in his eyes. “It seems like Casey’s gone from being Daddy’s little girl to this almost grown up overnight and I hate it. I mean, she used to care what I thought and talk to me about everything!”
“Oh, Brian, I’m sure she still cares. Maybe it’s different for girls, this breaking away from being someone’s child and learning to live on their own. I know it was like some huge declaration of independence for me. It’s why I wanted to go out of state to college – get as far away from the little town and my parents as I could. Otherwise, I’d always just be mom and dad’s little girl.”
He looked down at his dinner plate and struggled to regain his composure. Just thinking about the recent issues with Casey was enough to drive him crazy. And here at dinner with Jen was not the place. He should be focusing on her.
“Forget I said anything about it. I’m sure she’ll come around.” With an effort, he changed the subject. “So tell me what you did after you went away to school.”
And Jen proceeded to tell him about how his not taking her to prom was actually a good thing because it had served as a catalyst to get her to change her life, come out of her shell, take care of herself by eating better and exercising and caring about her appearance. And that led to a boyfriend and then another whom she married after graduation and lived with in the Chicago area. But the marriage only lasted four years and even though she dated now on and off, it seemed as though she’d not found anyone she wanted to keep seeing.
“So it’s just you and Jack now?” he asked, his eyes teasing.
“Oh, yeah, and he’s a sweetheart for sure. And the perfect speed, too. He’ll do walks around the block or the neighborhood, but then he’s more than happy to snooze next to me on the couch while we watch a movie. He’s a real snuggler.”
“A real snagger is more the word I was thinking,” Brian laughed. “I still can’t believe he stole my underwear while I was coming out of the shower.”
“He does love a good game of chase!” Jen laughed. And when she saw the glint in Brian’s eyes her breath caught. Apparently he wasn’t upset with her anymore.
“Well, who doesn’t love a good game of chase?” he leaned forward and casually picked up one of her hands, running his fingers over hers. She was aware of how much larger and harder his fingers were, a little roughened from the carpentry work, obviously stronger than hers. Now that she thought about it, everything about him was larger and stronger than she remembered.