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).
When the telephone rings late that afternoon, Evelyn and Davy are both napping in the family room. Not wanting The Krosk to answer it, Evelyn reaches for the handset immediately, after the first ring awakens her.
“Hello?” she says quietly.
“I’m really worried about Sara,” is Marilyn’s salutation.
“Hi Marilyn. What’s going on?”
“She was out four times this past week. She bolts out of here after dinner and doesn’t come home until midnight.”
“On school nights?” Evelyn asks.
“Well, two of them were school nights.”
“Is she getting her homework done?”
“She says she is.”
“Then she probably is,” comments Evelyn. “How have her grades been so far this year?”
“Pretty good. B’s, mostly.”
Evelyn, who always sensed that Sara was quite smart, believes Sara could be getting A’s mostly, but she doesn’t feel it is her business to make that comment. She also wonders if “B’s mostly” means that the rest are C’s. Otherwise, wouldn’t Marilyn have said “A’s and B’s”?
“Do you know what she’s doing when she’s out?” Evelyn asks. “Who she’s out with?”
“Hanging out at Brenda’s. There’s a small group of them. They play music.”
“That sounds tame,” Evelyn responds, envisioning a record player, spinning 45s.
“Yeah, well, Brenda has a lot of equipment, I guess, and Sara apparently is pretty good on keyboards.”
“Oh,” Evelyn says, amused and confused by her daughter’s absurdly displaced disapproval, “so they’re making music.”
“I’m just worried, though,” Marilyn states. “You know, they never did solve those murder cases.”
Evelyn shakes her head. If I can ever predict what Marilyn will say next, she thinks, please lock me up and throw away the key!
“They were teenage girls, you know; the ones who were murdered,” Marilyn continues. “At least three of them. All in Westchester.”
“I remember. Did they have instruments?”
“I’m sorry. A little black humor.”
“That isn’t funny! I am very upset! My daughter is out four nights a week!” Marilyn’s tone is now bordering on hysteria. Evelyn can sense that her daughter’s eyes are tearing up, that if the conversation is not reversed somehow, Marilyn will begin to cry, and once she begins crying, she will move on to other topics that upset her—Barry; the fact that they don’t own a house; the fact that she doesn’t think she can find a job.
“Marilyn,” Evelyn says, as calmly as possible. “Why don’t you ask Sara if you can join her some night? Tell her you’d like to hear the girls play.”
“I am sure she doesn’t want me there.”
“Could they practice at your house one night a week?” Evelyn suggests.
“Our house is hardly big enough for a band studio. Besides, I doubt if they would want to lug everything over here.
“And,” Marilyn adds, “I don’t think Barry would appreciate the disruption.”
Evelyn is always amazed at the number of reasons Marilyn can come up with to not do something.
“I just get worried, you know,” Marilyn says then, her voice faltering. “I think about those murders, and I just get worried.”
“Marilyn, sweetheart, I appreciate a mother’s worry,” Evelyn says. “I think, though, that you’re making unrealistic connections, and you are only hurting yourself by doing so. It sounds to me like Sara is doing fine. She’s expending her sixteen-year-old energy in a productive, creative way with productive, creative friends. She’s not a mallrat. She’s not drinking or doing drugs. She’s just being a teenager.”
Evelyn waits for Marilyn’s response, and when it is not forthcoming, she realizes that she’s being asked—silently, passively—to keep talking.
But I don’t want to keep talking! she thinks, amazed by her daughter’s ability to steal her energy without even being in the room.
“Marilyn,” Evelyn says finally, “I don’t know what else to tell you. All I can say is, I think it’s okay.”
“I don’t know. Maybe. Well. I should probably go. I should probably get dinner started.”
“Is Sara there now?”
“She’s upstairs doing her homework.”
Evelyn shakes her head and rolls her eyes. What a delinquent! she thinks. Upstairs doing her homework!
“Anyway,” Marilyn says. “Thanks for listening.”
“Anytime, dear. Have a good night.”
Evelyn returns the handset to its cradle and looks over at her sleeping husband. “Next time, Davy, I want you to talk to her!”
Davy doesn’t stir.
* * *
to be continued on March 5th .
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.