A NOTE BEFORE READING: I began sharing weekly excerpts from my novel, The Somebody Who, on June 26, 2010. If you want to begin at the beginning, go here. If you want to read the book in its entirety, head over to Amazon and purchase a copy. (There’s a button on the left that will take you there).
“Wow, so you were the ‘real Mom’ type,” Ashley comments, having learned (because she asked) that Evelyn had never had a job or career, but rather had put all her energy into raising the kids, volunteering at their schools and in the community, and keeping the house in order.
“I don’t know about that title,” Evelyn offers. “Real Mom. I’m not sure if my kids would agree.”
“And how are your kids? Do you have grandchildren?”
“Five grandchildren from two of my children. Patrick and his wife have three—”
“Oh, God! Patrick!” Ashley blurts out. “Sorry to interrupt,” she adds quickly, “I think I met him. How old is he?”
“He turned forty-four this year.”
“Right,” Ashley says, entertaining the smile that comes with reminiscence. “I remember meeting him once. And I developed an instant crush.”
“Really?” asks Evelyn, simultaneously amused and intrigued.
“I’m sure it was some sort of transference. I mean, first I had a crush on Dr. Bennett, and of course, I wasn’t the only girl in that school who did…
“I’m sorry,” Ashley says then. “Is this inappropriate?”
“No!” Evelyn answers, touched by her guest’s ability to disclose personal information in such a considerate manner.
“Anyway,” Ashley says, shaking her head, “it was an interesting crush.”
“The one on my husband or the one on my son?”
“The one on Dr. Bennett,” Ashley answers, not knowing, at this point, that she could be referring to either one of them. “It was weird: I was completely in touch with the fact that I had a crush on him. And I was okay with that. But, the part I could never figure out was, did I want him to be my husband or did I want him to be my father?”
As Evelyn smiles at her guest, she feels a strange sense of subconscious progress, as if she and Ashley are sitting through a spontaneous therapy session, each playing dual roles. She also appreciates that Ashley has no need to fill every silence with chatter.
Their shared peace is interrupted by the opening of the sliding glass door, through which Davy and The Krosk are entering the kitchen, the calisthenics session apparently having come to an end. Although it is Mrs. Krosky’s intention to march Davy upstairs immediately, so that he might shower and change into whatever tee shirt he will be sporting for the rest of the day, the drawings on the counter distract him. And Evelyn and Ashley both watch, from their seats in the family room, as Davy studies the art to which he once signed his name.
“Oh, my,” they hear him say. “These are really something. These are—”
“Come along, Mr. Bennett,” The Krosk says.
“No,” he says quietly, waving her off in a nonthreatening manner. “No, I am here.”
“Mr. Bennett!” The Krosk says, more firmly. “You must take your shower now, Mr. Bennett!”
“It’s Dr. Bennett,” Ashley interjects quietly, rising from her chair and entering the kitchen. “It’s Doctor Bennett,” she repeats to Mrs. Krosky, not raising her voice, but clearly capable of matching and besting The Krosk’s stubborn ways. “And he drew these amazing pieces. So I think that if he wants to look at his work, he should have the right to do that.”
The Krosk knows better than to turn to Evelyn for support. Instead, she retreats to another part of the house, where she might find a bed to make or some rug that needs to be vacuumed.
And Evelyn stays put in the family room. From her chair, she can see the backs of two artists—her husband and the woman who once had a crush on him. And she can see, without having access to their faces, that they are currently celebrating an appreciation they share. They are celebrating their common appreciation for detail.
* * *
to be continued on February 26th .
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.