Sandy sipped her bold dark coffee. The phrase " Samantha...No Twitching" stared back at her . Darren had been so controlling - or tried to be in that series. Endora was constantly helping her daughter slip the bonds of mundane restraint. Endora rocked. Maurice was even better. But was it so much that Darren asked of his wife? It was after all ONE thing.
She paged through email after email on the screen in front of her. One was from an old roomate. She read it several times before taking a deep breath, then another sip of the cooling brew. He had done something that she considered unethical-perhaps even illegal. He had been cleared of the charges but only, she felt on a technicality. That the adverse party had over stepped authority and proceedure . Except for that ONE thing-he would not have done so well ,Fate had smiled on him-this time. He wanted to see if they could be friends again-he wanted her to listen. She did not answer but filed it into a work pending folder on her computer. This would take thought.
Her plans this weekend were many. She had decided to try some new recipes,had ordered fall pants and shirts from clearance online mostly in her standard black or red or cranberry. She had ordered the books to prepare for her GRE in literature-which was a mere year away. Having ordered them, she felt as if she had signed a contract in blood. That the commitment had been made. She slid a biography on Mary Shelley into her olive messsenger bag. The Alcott biography returned to her bookshelves in the second bedroom that she used as a home office. She showerd and dressed. Saturday would be too short-it always was.
Fall was seeping into the last of summer. It was in the air in the tinges of coolness that blew through the mugginess of the early Tennessee morning. A flock of Canadian geese v'de their way mostly nowhere for most of them stayed locally in the green areas. " Something told the wild geese, it was time to go. Though the fields lay golden, something whispered Snow..." Memory from her fourth grade . Her friend Royal's mother had been a permanent substitute when their teacher had begun maternity leave. That year had been good in school. At home , that was the year that the rules that her father and his family had eaten her mother alive . Her mother was a lady then, all too gentle and educated for her father's world.
Down the hill, left turn at the roller rink, then the very next right to the main street. She had never been to a Waffle Hut. She was going today. If she hated it, then she need never go back. She had errands in that neighborhood. And she needed breakfast. It was one thing when done that would get one more completed as well.
Time slipped from her hands quietly as she took her purchases back home. Her recipes called for white wine, cognac and tequila. Everything was available in Tennessee but not at the same place. Three different bottles for three different recipes. She washed her face, reapplied her makeup and heated a cup of that morning's coffee. She took her break at her computer. Her fingers sought out the email. She read it for the second time.
Her reply was that she would listen BUT she asked of him just one thing, That what was said between them would remain between them alone . That he would keep his own counsel. Their parting had not been pretty . She was not the person that he had known. Perhaps it was also true on his side. She said that there could be no new friendship without clearing the muck of the past. Then she finished her coffee, rinsed out the cup , grabbed her bag and headed down the hill to the right to the bus stop. She was a hunter in search of cheese.
It was early afternoon when she returned from the cheese shop in the better neighborhood as well as the farmer's market in the worse one. There was an email for her. It read that he had thought that they would always be friends because they had been to Hell in the most Christian sense and back together. He swore that the words between them would be kept private. She wrote back and told him that was good. She reminded him of 1 of the times of trouble-of his rage and her fear. And sent it.
It was midafternoon when she finally stopped . She had been to the grocery store for the meats. Her cleaning supplies for her Sunday ritual sat on the dining room table like good soldiers being called to battle. She checked the computer-and there was no reply. She ran the cilantro scented dishpowder through the dishwasher one time. The red envelope from Netflix was opened- the story of Bodica brave warrior queen played its tale like a dutiful storyteller from the dvd.
Morning was bright and warm. Saturday had evaporated as it always did. Fresh coffee filled her Samantha cup . The computer warmed and came to life. There was a reply- an apology. It was pretty words but then there had always been pretty words and tearful regrets. Change would have to manifest in a corporeal form to be believed. This time , she had determined, would not be like the rest-words would not be enough. Action was necessary. This would not be rushed-it was important that this not be just one more scheduled thing to be checked off and forgotten. She did not reply.
It was noon when she headed down the hill one more time to have her hair cut. Easy walk straight down all the way to the bottom. On her way back she bought her creams and salves to hold together her fifty plus face and body. Magic potions promising delayed , if not eternal youth. Some mornings, she thought them a miracle-others just more snake oil. Sometimes, she saw Sandy as she knew her to be,probably a bit over 15-sometimes her mother and even once in a while, her mother's mother. Those were not good signs-She practiced her counter magic with all she had in her arsenal. Some days ,it was enough. She picked up the Nice and Easy on her way back. It touted that it hid the grey. Hid but did not make it go away. She remembered that Huxley had said that "Ignoring facts do not make them go away."
In her kitchen, she pared,chopped and sliced. Beef stock bubbled . Vegetables cooked.Meat chunks sizzled as they browned. Steam filled the kitchen countered by the heat from the oven as an dark and light Angel food cake baked. The dishwasher pounded pans and bowls alike, preparing them for the next battle to be fought. The small apartment smelled of tarragon,paprika, thyme,garlic and onions.Try as she might- for all of her cooking ability, she had never been able to create that one culinary smell of the safety of her youth. It had permeated the stairwell walls in that ancient apartment, in which they lived ,when she was little. The best that she could manage was the smell of accomplishment that made up her memory of her maternal grandmother's kitchen. When her parents moved from the apartment ,in Dorchester,she had lost that smell in the hall.
An email from her best friend waited for her , when she finally put the kitchen to bed. It read " I think that he is doing better. This does not sound like him." Attached to her email was a forwarded copy of his apology to her complaint of his past behavior , which , now away from it bordered on abuse. She had run from him , Run all the way to Tennessee. Made a new life for herself. Not one day but his shallow promise had been shattered. She filed the email from her best friend. She replied to his apology with a second complaint, explaining that the old crap had to be resolved.
When she awoke in the morning, there was a new email from her exroommate. It was nasty and accusatory. It sounded just like him. He told her that he did not remember the things that he had done. Either she forgave him . Or that she was a Bitch with a vendetta. Deep breath filled her lungs. She braced herself with a slug of the hot coffee from her cup. She called her best friend and told her that the emails that prompted this were being forwarded to her to arm her against frustrated accusations. It was true, Sandy was no longer who she used to be.
Then she faced the offending electronic letter,her outrage framed her reply. "PRETTY WORDS FOR SOMEONE WHO CANNOT KEEP HIS WORD FOR EVEN A DAY. YOU SEE, I KNEW THAT YOU HAD DONE WHAT YOU ALWAYS DO - SAY WHAT YOU THINK I WANT TO HEAR THEN DO AS YOU PLEASE . NOT THIS TIME. YOU ARE DISMISSED. LIAR. AND THE ONE THAT YOU OUGHT TO HAVE ANGER WITH IS YOURSELF NOT SUSAN- SHE WAS UNAWARE THAT YOU HAD VOWED TO SILENCE. YOU, ON THE OTHER HAND,KNEW AND DECIDED TO ACCUSE ME OF VENDETTA? AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE DECIDED TO PAINT ME IN THE DARKEST LIGHT-UNJUSTLY AND TRY TO CHARM YOUR WAY OUT OF ANY RESPONSIBLITY FOR YOUR DEPLORABLE BEHAVIOR. I WOULD HAVE FORGIVEN YOU IF YOU HAD ADMITTED IT TO ME ! TOO LATE- YOU ARE DISMISSED - I DON'T NEED YOUR ABUSIVE BULLSHIT IN MY LIFE. IF I CANNOT TRUST YOU TO KEEP YOUR WORD-I CANNOT TRUST YOU AT ALL. YOU ARE DISMISSED-YOU HAVE KILLED ANY HOPE OF RECONCILLATION ALL BY YOURSELF. LIVE WITH IT!
DO NOT CONTACT ME OR MINE AGAIN." It was signed and sent.
It was over. Sandy knew that she was not just one more thing but in claiming her affirmation to her new life-she knew that she had become everything important in her life.