A NOTE BEFORE READING: I began sharing weekly excerpts from my novel, The Somebody Who, on June 26th. If you want to begin at the beginning, go here. If you want to read more sooner, head over to Amazon and purchase a copy. (There’s a button on the left that will take you there).
Evelyn and Judy’s drive to the city is uneventful. The traffic is relatively light, as is the conversation…
“So, I understand Zoe lost another tooth?”
“Oh, God, that girl looks like a losing prize fighter these days.”
“The six-year-old smile,” Evelyn says, herself smiling. “So proud and also so vacant. Hmm… So, what does the tooth fairy pay these days? A dollar?”
“A dollar?” Judy laughs, remembering her own twenty-five cent reward for lost teeth. “Oh my God, the tooth fairy would be run out of town if he or she did not leave at least a five.”
“Interesting,” comments Evelyn, playfully. “So there’s a lot of money to be made in lost teeth. Maybe I should pass that info along to Marilyn.”
Evelyn is baiting Judy, and she knows it’s wrong. She should not involve her daughter-in-law in her daughter’s alleged dilemma. But, she’s been thinking since the conversation yesterday… Maybe Marilyn could get into real estate. Maybe Judy could help make that happen.
Judy doesn’t bite, not even with the obvious Is Marilyn looking for work? Judy’s too smart for that. She simply provides an echo. “You’d better believe it—there’s a lot of money to be made in lost teeth.”
After the concert—a celebration of Baroque music that both Evelyn and Judy find tranquilizing—the pair go to a nearby café for dessert and coffee, Evelyn’s treat. They sit in the outdoor terrace area and enjoy the breeze of pedestrians hurriedly passing by.
Judy smiles and throws back her head with pleasure. “God, I love being in the city! It’s so alive.” She then looks directly at her mother-in-law. “Thanks for inviting me, Evelyn.”
“Oh, Judy,” Evelyn feels energized by Judy’s enthusiasm. “Thank you for coming. I really appreciate your filling in on such late notice!”
The waitress places their lattes on the table, and both women acknowledge her. As Judy then reaches for a packet of Splenda, she asks, “So what’s happened with Angie? Isn’t this a standing date you two have?”
“I thought it was. But, I don’t know. She seems to be ‘going through’ something right now.”
“That’s too bad,” is all that Judy can say.
Judy’s lack of a poker face resonates with Evelyn. Evelyn knows that Judy is paying attention. Evelyn knows that Judy has observed reactions—to Davy, to the situation in the Bennett household, maybe even to Evelyn’s own plight.
Judy has observed. But Judy—being an in-law—has not spoken up.
When the tiramisu is delivered (they each had ordered one), it gives Evelyn a chance to change the subject. “Tiramisu! Joy’s favorite!”
“How is Joy?” Judy asks. “God, I haven’t seen her in ages!”
“Ah, well,” Evelyn says, exhaling thoughtfully while scooping up a forkful of the delicious concoction before her. “Joy is Joy. Always into something new.”
“Is she still living in Brooklyn?”
“Yes. She’s still in that apartment in Fort Greene."
“Do she and Adam get together much?”
“You’d think they would. I mean, it’s not like they don’t get along. But…” Evelyn continues, her voice assuming the lilt that comes when one is reiterating rationale from another party, “Brooklyn and Washington Heights are pretty far apart. Adam is actually closer to us!”
“Has she been up to visit you and Davy?”
“Not recently. She doesn’t get to Westchester much.”
Evelyn begins to play with the tiramisu pieces on her plate, moving them about as if they might prefer one side of the plate over another. “But it’s interesting. Of all the kids, she seems most interested in Davy’s condition.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, she calls me with leads on groups that might help. Of course, they’re all—I don’t know—kind of new age, I guess. Or, she’ll read an article and call me with names and phone numbers. You know—groups, doctors, healers.” Evelyn looks up from her latte and states what she sincerely believes. “She really is trying to be helpful.”
“But she hasn’t visited.”
“No. She’s busy. Really busy, I suppose. I don’t know— she has something called poetry jams. She goes to workshops and something called drum circles. I don’t know. A full life, I guess.”
Evelyn looks at what’s left of her tiramisu and wonders if it could possibly still be Joy’s favorite… Where are the whole grains? The electrolytes?
“I don’t even try anymore to keep track of her activities,” Evelyn tells Judy, “but it is nice when she calls. It is nice that she’s thinking about Davy.”
* * *
to be continued on September 4th.
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.