Chapter Ten: Lunchtime gathering. or- I miss my 'woo-woos'. Ariel gets shanghied into helping Pinky and Vin, and they all enjoy a good lunch.
I stand there, entranced by the dual absurdity and gracefulness of the scene before me. His back is to me, so I get to see that gorgeous behind shake in time to the song, before he goes into a grand solo flourish complete with spin. That’s when he notices that I’m standing there, and does a quick bow.
“Hey Eddie, Pinky wants me to grab you, kicking and screaming, and tear you away from here long enuff to shove a few sandwiches into you. I told her that I was only too happy to oblige, what with the grabbing part at least.” With that, I walk over and envelope him in a hug. He returns the hug, and takes his hand, lifts my chin, and proceeds to softly kiss me.
“We shouldn’t keep her waiting then, huh? Might come over to find out what’s taking so long, and catch us doing this.” He smiles, and spins me around, and starts to dance with me. Yeah, it is NOT in time with the music, but, it IS romantic in its’ own way. No one has ever just spun me and spontaneously started dancing with me before like this. “Wait, what’d you call me just now? Eddie?”
“Yeah, as in ‘Van Halen’. DUH.” I laugh, as I lead the way down the hall to go outside, and back over to Pinky’s home away from home. “That was some pretty awesome air guitar earlier. Do you play a real one, or are you a ‘RockBand’ master?”
“Oh, there are video games that I occasionally play, but that’s not one of them. I’ve played guitar since I was 8 or 9. My uncle gave me his old one at some point in time, and although I’ve never taken any lessons, I can hold my own. I just mess around with it mostly.” He shrugs, and then perks up. “I could show you later tonite, if you’d like. I brought two of mine with me, just so I wouldn’t get rusty while I was down here.”
“That sounds like a plan. I’ll make dinner, and you can serenade me afterwards,” I reply. We make our way onto the porch of Pinky’s new temp home, and take a seat at the small table she has already set up for three. Just then, Pinky comes out with a tray laden with four different types of lunchmeats, cheeses, lettuce and sliced tomatoes. There’s a basket of bread already on the table, along with bowls of potato salad, macaroni salad, and chips. A big pitcher of sun tea completes the feast.
“Dig in you two, can’t have either of my worker bees complain that I don’t feed them,” she says, as she starts fixing her own plate. “But it IS self-serve around here.”
We all dig in, and it is silent save for the sound of spoons ladening salads onto our plates, and a quick ‘can you pass me the mayo’ or ‘do you need a napkin dearie?’ We all stuff ourselves silly, and then sit back in our chairs to let our stomachs settle a bit.
“So, Ariel, while we wait here to get our energy back up, why don’t you tell me a little about yourself. Not that Leeni hasn’t filled me in a bit, mind you, but I’d like to hear it straight from the source, so to speak,” Pinky addresses me with a gleam in her eye.
Vin sits back, looking like the cat that ate the canary. Yeah, I just bet he wants to hear all my dirty laundry from the past too. GREAT.
“Ok, I guess. I don’t really like talking about it, but I’ll give you both the condensed version, to spare you the nasty details-“ I reply
“But it’s the nasty details that I live for, dearie. I don’t get much action anymore.” Pinky smiles at me as she says this.
“Well then, here goes. Right after high school, I was living with my then boyfriend, and his sister in this great house for a few years. We all spent most of our extra money after the bills on fixing it up, and the landlord was really cool about it. If we gave him the receipts for the things we did, he knocked it off that months’ rent. He got off easy, because we did it all, redid the kitchen, bathrooms, landscaping. It looked awesome. But, my boyfriend cheated on me when I went away for a weekend. His sister relished in the fact that she got to tell me this when I got home, because her and I never got along that well.” I took a sip of my tea, and continue on with my tale.
“So, one day soon after, while both of them are at work, I pack up all my stuff, and with the help of two good friends from school, I move out in less than an hour. I get this really cool job at the mall, which was the thing to do around there, and a few months later I meet Jake. Oh, I fell head over heels. He said all the right things, he did all the little things to woo me; I was so smitten. We started dating, and six years later, I found myself at the county courthouse saying ‘I do’. The first few years of being married were great. We traveled, always first class. When it came time to buy a house, tho, that’s when the fights started. He wanted this big McMansion in this hoity toity neighborhood, so he could impress his co-workers. House the size of a small hotel, on no land. I wanted to buy my parents’ rental place. It was smaller, but it had a nice sized backyard, and it was in a good school district. I was looking ahead, because I had just found out I was pregnant. So, I played that card, and won the fight. We bought the house, and soon after Suzi came along.”
“That would be the precious little girl that Leeni showed me a picture of yesterday, right?” Pinky was practically on the edge of her seat.
“Yeah, my princess. I quit working, because Jake’s salary was more than enough to support us for me to stay home with the baby. But, he started going on all these business trips. Extended ones, that would keep him away for 4 or 5 weeks at a time. And, each time he would come home, he would be so stressed, he would hook up the boat to his truck, and take off for the weekend by himself. I would argue with him, that we needed to spend time as a family, but he would be so mean to me. Saying very hurtful things, and even accusing me of cheating on him all the time. If I had any sense then, I would have realized that HE was the one cheating on me, and was saying those things to deflect anything I may have thought. As it was, I started thinking that I was no good, that I wouldn’t ever amount to anything more than a frumpy housewife. So, several years of the mental abuse, and a few arguments where he actually slapped me around a few times later, I found ‘the letter’.” I have tears in my eyes at this point, and try to discreetly dab them with my napkin. Shaking it off, I trudge on.
“Yeah, ‘the letter’ from his latest girlfriend. It was in his jacket pocket, and when I was going thru them to get ready to take the suit to the dry cleaners I found it. She was very graphic in it about the things they were going to do that weekend, when he was supposed to be going on the next business trip. Instead, he was going to be taking her to some B&B up in Vermont. That’s when I called Roy and Leeni and accepted the offer of me and Suzi going to the ocean with them for the week. He saw me packing, we fought, he left, and I haven’t seen him since. Good riddance, I say. The only contact Suzi and I have from him is thru my lawyer, when he calls to tell me each month that the child support check arrived at his office, and he had deposited it into the account we set up for Suzi’s college fund. I don’t use any of it for monthly stuff. I can support the both of us just fine off what I got from the divorce, and with my job. The house is paid for, and as of right now, my old Bronco is running fine, knock wood, so we’re doing just fine. And, that’s my story.”
“Well, good for you. No man is worth losing your own self for. In my younger days, I volunteered at the local YWCA, and let me tell you sweety, some of the women that came in there were really abused. Makes my blood boil just remembering some of them, they were so beat up on by their ‘loved ones’. It always made my day when we got them out of the situations, but I always came home crying more than smiling, because more times than not, they always went back. “ Pinky just shook her head, as she lost herself in her memories. “So, now, I think it’s time for you two to go get cleaned up, and head on over to the hospital for awhile. Now, no arguments from either of you. You both have done enough for the day, it IS the weekend. Besides, George needs some of my homemade soup. God knows that hospital food isn’t doing him any good, and Leeni took off outta here too early this morning for me to have her deliver it.”
Just then, my cell phone rings. “Excuse me, I have to take this,” I say, as I get up from the table. “Well, hello my Little butterbean. How are you?” I say into the phone, as I lean on the porch railing. It was Suzi on the other end.
“Mommy, guess what? We went to the carnival last nite, and I won three fishies!! And, I saw Allison and Tiffany and their mommy, so we all rode the zipper together, and I didn’t puke, not once. Then, Mom-Mom let me have a sleepover party, and we never went to bed all night until six this morning. We’re making pancakes, cause we actually just woke up. Then, we’re going to go to the mall, and see a movie. “ All of this was said in about 3.8 seconds.
“Wow, you’ve had a busy weekend. And, you have off school all this week for spring break. Don’t do everything all at once, you’ll run out of things to do by Tuesday, sweety. I miss you terrible. Do you miss me?” I switched the phone to my other ear, and awaited her reply.
“Yeah, I do. I miss our nitetime routine. Mom-mom just doesn’t get the ‘woo woo’ right. She tries, but it’s not the same as when you do it.” Suzi sounded a little sad with that.
“Well, my little butterbean, I will be home before you know it. And I’ll do all the woo-woos you want.” With that remark, both Vin and Pinky just couldn’t fake not listening. Both got a huge grin on their faces at the ‘woo-woos’ remark. I wave my hand at them, and wiggle a finger like ‘I’ll explain later’. “Is Mom-mom there, or is she busy making those pancakes? I’d like to talk to her for a minute.”
“Sure, she’s right here, but when you’re done, I need to talk to you again, ok mommy?” Suzi answered.
“Okey dokley.” I talk with my ex mother in-law, and fill her in on George’s progress, and how much longer I expected to be down here. “It looks like at least til the end of the week, which is not what I wanted. I was planning on taking Suzi for a day trip while she has spring break, but I guess it’ll have to wait til summer now. Oh well. Are you ok with keeping her that long?”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way. Besides, your mom called yesterday, and offered to switch off, if I needed a break. So, we’ll see. Just take the time, and do what needs to be done down there. Everything’s fine here,” she replies.
“Ok then, let me say goodbye to my baby.” She puts Suzi back on, and after a minute or two of going back and forth of who was going to hang up first, we both counted to three and ended the call.
Taking a deep, calming breath, I straighten up my shoulders, and turn to face my new companions. “Woo-woos is the name for our nightly ritual, that started when she was going from her crib to big girl bed. I came up with this whole game, about settling down, and getting tucked in so that she wouldn’t fall out of the bed. It worked, and kinda stuck. There are parts that have been added as the years went on, so now it’s almost a full five minutes. But, its ours, and I will continue to do it with her for as long as she will let me.”
“I, for one, would love to witness this routine. I bet it is just something to behold firsthand. Alas, how would one go about that? Hmmmm..” Ms. Esther gushed.
I look from her to Vin, who just shrugs his shoulders. “Do not question the ramblings of the ole bitty. But, don’t be surprised to find her at your door one night, just about at bedtime, ready with a video camera. She’s good at things like that.”
I laugh, “oh great. Thanks for the warning.”
“No problem there, baby.” He comes over to the railing and stands in front of me. “You do realize, of course, that she will more than likely ask Paul or myself to accompany her, seeing as it is farther than Savannah. She doesn’t like to go anywhere without her male protection.”
“I am duly forewarned. Maybe Paul and I will hit it off-“ I was cut off right there by a surprise kiss.
“I will be her chaperone.” Five words. Delivered so succinctly, there was no argument whatsoever. He turns away, and said “Give me 15 minutes for a shower, and I will meet you back here for a ride to the hospital.”