Saturday, July 31, 2010

Voicing my Frustrations

This post is not good, it does not have a funny story, it will not make you smile or leave you any happier than it found you. There is a good chance it will do the opposite. If you don't stop reading right now, there is a good chance you will leave this post more angry and hurt than you had planned on. For safety sake, you might want to leave this post right now.

I am awake at 1:30 in the morning because I cannot shut my brain up. I have been a nurse for a little while..well 7 years now. I have taken care of Kidney Transplant patients (my preferred area), Nursing Home patients, Critical Care patients, and patients with hideous wounds when I was a Wound Care Nurse. I have been a Manager and an employee. I have worked in a Family Practice office and I have given "Alternative Medicine" infusions. I have bathed, medicated, soothed, and loved alot of patients. I have been the only one there when some of them died. I have heard many last words. I am used to my job....or at least I thought I was.

Since I have started at the ER where I am currently working, I have twice experienced horrible incidents with children. Both of them left me angry, fearful and terrified. Both times I could not sleep. One of the children died in a house fire, the other had been run over by a car...twice. I have always known that I am not a Peds Nurse. I knew before I went into Nursing that I would never be blessed with that calling simply because I cannot stand to see children hurt. I was not prepared for the first child, the one from the house fire. It is something I wished I'd never seen and know that I will never be able to forget.

The second child was a toddler, still in diapers, that ran out behind a car and was backed over, then run over again when the adult pulled forward to find out what had been struck. This child died at another facility the next day, but I will not be able to rid my memory of that baby or the sound of his Mother's wails.

I try to tell myself that I will toughen up, but part of me doesn't want to toughen up. I do want to be able to do my job and still function in normal society, but there is a part of me that pushes back from being desensitized to that pain and suffering.

Today was a new experience altogether. I can't even bring myself to talk about it for fear that I will breach confidentiality, but suffice it to say that evidence had to be collected and that two small girls were the patients.

I am at a loss.

How do you experience something like this, something this raw, and come home and act like it's just another day at work??

How do you leave it at work and come home and talk to your spouse about vacation plans?

How do you close your eyes and not see these children and the heart-wrenching injuries?


I know that there aren't any real answers. I know that all I can do is give these children to God and pray for peace, but so far that is not helping me get any sleep.

I don't have any answers. I just want some sleep.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Still Alive

It has been 9 days since I've blogged.

That kinda sounded like a confession or an AA greeting.

I have nooo idea where I've been for 9 days. I only remember work, sleep, eat, repeat. I have had days off, they just fly by in such a blur it's like they didn't actually happen. Hubby and I took the boys to see Toy Story 3. That was fun. At least I remember it.

I don't really remember anything else. I have been dealing with a twisted knee and a run-on neck muscle spasm, but these are random things. I have had some majorly intense relationship moments in the last couple weeks though. I think all the women I know have lost their cotton-pickin' minds frankly. Now I remember why all my high school friends were guys and contrary to popular belief it had nothing to with my bra size. I totally get why men are so mystified by women....ya'll there is a very thin line between sane and insane and we pretty much crisscross back and forth at will.

One prior friend, one current friend, one of my sisters and my boss have been taking turns freaking out on me. The prior friend discussion is closed. The tiff with my sister: resolved. My boss is probably not over...I did learn a little something about her during all this that will be helpful in the future. CYA. To non-medical folks thats a handy little abbreviation that we like to call Cover Your Ass...because no one else is going to cover it for you and no one will notice you under that big ass bus.

The situation with my current friend is really the only one that I genuinely care about and am praying comes to a good end. Sometimes technology sucks because even if you are perfectly literate you cannot discern tone of voice or body language through the written word and sometimes you need to know those things, ya know?

My very handsome son, The Sweet One , got his driver's permit today. Yay! You should all Thank God that you don't live in our town. Oh. My. Goodness. I took him for his first driver's lesson this evening. Let's just say there was screaming and sweaty palms and white knuckles plus he was nervous too.

Hubby and I are kinda trying to plan a 4-day trip for the middle of August for my birthday and our anniversary, which are one day apart. I'm still counting down to my Girl's Cruise in September.

By the time those things come around I am definitely going to need the vacation, cause ya'll may I just say, I am one tired lady.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Underneath it all I'm really a 12 yr. old boy

The T-shirt below can be bought at a cool new website that I just found called BustedTees .
I am not in anyway, shape or form getting reimbursed for this advertising (hint hint guys!), I just found the site to be so hilarious that I wanted to share. Finding the site was completely a fluke by the way. I found it through a give-away blog that I follow. The first shirt below is by far the most hilarious for the obvious reason that I am a nurse, and yes most people seem to be more scared of catching swine flu than they actually are of STD's, as evidenced by the amount of them being treated nowadays. I want to buy this shirt and wear it to work...everyday. Originally I wanted to link each shirt to it's respective page, but I'm way too lazy for that. So, the link to the home page will do because they can all be found on that page.

This one is super funny for the reasons I listed above. It's my favorite and I think I will buy it!

In case you are at a sign-language-alphabet deficit, it says 'You Suck'.

Rock, Paper, Scissors...what more can I say??

This one set me to laughing loud enough to draw Hubby's attention. Shout out to my girl, Crazy Texas Mommy - this one's for you :)

I am a big enough dork to find this one to be pretty darn funny. Sad, isn't it?

Indeed, is there anything Jesus won't do?

This one is personal...I are dyslexic.

Oh snap....I'm showing my age. Insert random 'Oregon Trail' reference here.

And finally, my friends....
Thank you and Good Night :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Funeral Worker

He pulled up to the back door and rang the bell. The weary supervisor trudged down the silent hall and saw him standing on the other side of the fortified glass window. He smiled his toothy smile, pushed his oversized glasses up his nose and waved.
"Evening Ms. Pearl", he said in a chipper way.
"Evening Rolly", she wheezed as she hefted the door open enough for him to squeeze in.
"He's almost still warm tonight", he offered.
"Pfft" was all that Pearl said to him.
Rolly had been bringing bodies to the hospital morgue for several months. He offered his ID to her and she waved him off.
"Rolly, I don't need to see your ID every time."
"I know Ms. Pearl, but I'm supposed to show you so I do."
She held the door open for him and he went back down to the car and brought back a gurney with a dark body bag strapped to the top. He followed her back down the silent hallway and to the unmarked door by the electrical room. She used her gigantic keyring with ease as she unlocked the morgue. He rolled his burden passed her and she helped him put the poor dead man into a cold drawer.
She handed him the sign in log and a pen. He signed his name and handed it back.
"Goodnight Pearl", he called
"Night Rolly".
The next night Pearl noticed that no one had claimed the body she helped Rolly load. She called the funeral home he worked for only to be told that no one named Rolly worked for them. She thanked the man for his help and slowly hung up the phone confused.
Just then she saw Rolly's face on the TV that hung in the ER waiting room.
The caption read, " Serial Killer caught after 7 month Spree".
Pearl dropped her gigantic keyring.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Countdown Begins!

I can finally talk about it...the long awaited Girls' Cruise Countdown has begun.

Two of my sisters (I have three), E & T, have invited me and a friend to join them and three of their friends on a 5 day cruise to Mexico :)

Let me say that again: :) :)

I'm super excited. I've never been on a cruise and, much to Hubby's disappointment, my first one won't be with him at my side. He did pout, for a moment, but finally my pouting was more unbearable than his pouting and I won the right to travel into international waters without him. Funny how when men pout it doesn't work nearly as well as when women do it...hmm.

Anyway, I have a new gadget to help with the countdown. I'm super excited about that too. I'm just a bundle of joy tonight. Getting off of work early and not having to work the next two days might account for part of it, but I digress.

We are bunking like its summer camp, bunk beds and all, so that we can all afford the trip on last minute notice, but from what I hear (from seasoned cruisers) you rarely sleep at night anyway. That is what the pool is for the next day. I don't care if I have to sleep on the floor, as long as they let me on the boat.

I didn't post about it earlier because I wanted to make sure that the trip was final beforehand, and tonight the last passenger paid the final balance. Mexico here we come!

We will be leaving Sept. 6th and spending a day each in Cozumel and Calica. I will not..NOT... be doing any fancy excursions without my dear Hubby, but a girl's gotta shop so I will be at least going into the port. I cannot wait.

5 days without children, spouse, laundry, cell phones, text messages or work.

I hear a sundeck chair and a frozen drink calling my name.

I'm coming my love. I'm coming.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pandering to the Mental Illness

I love that Blogger lets you 'pick' an identity.

When I leave a comment it asks me to pick my identity. It's my turn to decide who I am. Do I use my real name, make one up, use my URL? The options are limitless. Of course, it goes without saying that if I plan on commenting frequently on the same blog it's probably a good idea to be consistent.

Also, I can be a different person on each blog if I so choose. All roads lead to Rome as the saying goes because clicking on my name leads to my profile, which in turn will lead a curious seeker to my blog.

I am sorely tempted by the possibilities. Who doesn't want an alternate ego once in a while??

Blogging already affords the creative person with the joy of anonymity if they so choose, but allowing space for different identities really is icing on the cake.

Just one more reason I love my caters quite nicely to my undiagnosed multiple personality disorder.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July!!

Today is not July 4th, but I am going to be too busy tomorrow to post so here is my 4th of July post.
I will be with friends tomorrow, drinking a cold drink (preferably a frozen one if I can help it), eating charred food and watching my kids swim. I will not be far away from my family. I will not be in a foreign country. I will not be dirty, hungry or tired, I don't think so anyway. I will not be wearing Kevlar. But...I know someone who will. My friend Kim's son Luke is in Iraq. This is his second deployment. He has a young wife and a beautiful baby girl to celebrate with his mom in his absence. I have met Luke just a couple of times, but I know from his very proud mama what an extraordinary young man he is. He is in the 82nd Airborne, a prestigious assignment, and he has already achieved so many accolades in his short time in the Army. I know her heart aches for him to come home safely and from what I hear he lacks only a few weeks before that happens. So today as I barbeque with friends and play with fireworks and tomorrow while I drink my frozen drink and watch my children safely play where I can see them, I will say many prayers. Prayers for Luke and his fellow soldiers, prayers for all soldiers anywhere, prayers for Kim and Luke's wife and baby, prayers that I never share in Kim's fear for her son's life and prayers for our government, which always need the prayers. If you think about it tommorrow, say a prayer too. Everyone needs a little prayer.
Happy 4th of July everyone! Be safe!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jared: Chapter 3

* Chapter 3 of Jared...this is as far as I got, but shorter than the other 2 chapters. I am actually not happy at all with this chapter...feels forced to me.*

The dinner was elegant. The best restaurant in town, in the heart of the old “Spanish” district. Pensacola’s historic district was one of the oldest remnants of the Spanish settlement of Florida. The very first European settlement in the United States. Over the centuries it had been controlled by at least five different governments. The City of Five Flags. Jared had learned all about the city’s history in his 4th grade Florida History class. Pensacola natives were proud of their heritage, proud of the age of the city, proud to still have ties to Spain, proud to house the world famous pilots of the Navy’s Blue Angels. There were always celebrations and parades in Pensacola. Jared never got to attend any of them and he certainly had never gotten to see the Blue Angels fly, but he had read plenty about them.

Chancellor’s was for the crème de la crème. He had only just heard the name. He had certainly never seen a picture or an advertisement for them. Such fancy restaurants didn’t need the publicity. Word of mouth and a very long waiting list was all that they needed. He didn’t bother asking his mom how in the world she had managed such a reservation. Even if he did, he knew that she wouldn’t tell him. Truth be told, he had fully expected to be turned away at the door. He had pictured the snotty hostess looking down at her book and, with an extraordinarily nasal voice, saying, “I’m sorry ma’am, but we have a SIX MONTH waiting list. You understand I’m sure. Now please step aside”. However, nothing of the sort had happened. They had entered, Danielle had given her last name, the hostess smiled broadly and they were ushered to a table at the very center of the room. Jared was already dizzy from this strange night, so he just took this in stride like it happened all the time.

 What stunned him more was how incredibly comfortable his mother was in this environment. He was about to break out into hives from nervousness. He was petrified that he was going to bump into something, say something stupid or make a noise and display for all the world to see that he was a nobody., that he didn’t have the slightest clue what he was doing and that he didn’t belong here. Danielle on the other hand was so at ease with her surroundings. It was baffling really. How did she know how to act? Wasn’t she nervous too?

Jared was fidgeting with his napkin when his mother, very lightly, cleared her throat. He looked up to see her looking at him. “Relax, Jared. Watch”, she said as she smoothly unfolded her napkin. In one silent, swift move she fluttered it open and placed it on her lap. He tried to replicate her movement but unfortunately with his recent lankiness his “flutter” looked more like he was attempting to throw it across the table to her. He colored red as the napkin finally came to rest on his lap. He looked across the table and not for the first time that day thought to himself, Who are you?

Danielle handled the ordering, thank the Lord, because Jared would not have know what in the world to order and did not trust his voice to do anything other than squeak tonight. The food had the most delicious flavors that he could have imagined and his mom did a wonderful job of keeping him occupied so that his eyes didn’t wander rudely and his mouth didn’t have time to gape at the opulence of the place. He had never seen so many crisp, clean, glittering, twinkling things in one room before in his life. Linen, china, crystal, silver, flowers, gold, waiters in tuxedos, guests in business suits and fancy dresses. Now he understood why his mom had bought him the tie. It would have been required.

She keep the chatter light. No talking about Tommy, no money, no school. She just simply talked to him, in a way that she never had before. What were his favorite books? Why? Did he like art? Which ones? What sort of music was his favorite? Did he ever think about playing an instrument? It was almost like they were meeting for the first time and in a way they were. Jared, this is Danielle. Danielle, meet Jared. It was wonderful.

As dinner drew to a close, she opted for a rich chocolate dessert. He declined dessert but did taste hers at her insistence. It too was perfect, just like everything had been all evening. She beckoned for the check and the ended their field trip to the other side of life. She asked the waiter to have a cab called for them and he went off to secure it without once giving her a sideways glance. “Well I guess it’s a common request in these parts“, Jared quipped while his mom gathered up her clutch and rose from the table. She smiled and winked at him and said, “Of course, how do you think all these people will get home tonight?” He realized then what he had failed to see earlier. The tiny parking lot to the side of the building could hold no more than 25 or 30 cars and there were certainly more people here than that. The parking lot was probably more for employees than guests, he supposed.

The cab was waiting for them as soon as they stepped outside and there was a valet to usher them into their seats. Jared figured the cabbies probably hung around this neighborhood so they could provide prompt service to these rich people. They probably got the best tips from the Chancellor’s customers. He couldn’t blame them really. If they were going to be driving someone home tonight anyway, why not drive someone home who could fatten your pockets? The ride back to the parking lot was quicker than the ride over to the restaurant. It almost felt like the story of Cinderella, where the clock struck midnight and the coach turned into a pumpkin, only in this story the pumpkin was a dingy yellow car.

The two of them rode home in silence, Danielle only humming along to the radio this time. She wore a funny little smile. Jared fell asleep as they were hitting the interstate. The bump into their driveway jostled him awake. He could see the headlights bouncing up and down on their house and suddenly the sight of it was painful. How he wished they could have driven home to a cute apartment or at least a yard with grass. However disappointed he was when they drove back to the car tonight, it was officially doubled by house they were arriving home to.






Jared: Chapter 2

* Second chapter of Jared...also rediculously long for a blog post*

It took her longer than usual to ready herself to leave the house. Usually she just pulled her hair back or tucked it behind her ears, put moisturizer on her face, threw on some random pair of jeans and a shirt and bolted out the door. Danielle was not someone who ever worried about her appearance. It was another part of her inherent “unawareness”. In fact Jared rarely if ever saw her look at her own reflection in the mirror. “Girly” was not a phrase that he had ever connected with his Mom. That is until she came out of the bathroom this afternoon. She had been in there for what seemed like an extraordinary amount of time.

He didn’t bother her today by knocking and asking if she was ok. They had established earlier that she was not ok. He could hear her bumping around in there though. The blow dryer was on for a while, then nothing, then the sound of plastic bags rustling around, more silence, and finally she had emerged from her tiny haven to reveal the finished product. When he heard the doorknob click open he didn’t get up; he didn’t even turn his head toward the sound. She walked out and turned a little circle and said softly, “Ta-Da!” He looked up from his reverie and was instantly in awe. He believed prior to today that his mother could not possibly be any more beautiful. He was mistaken.


She stood in the kitchen of their broken and slanting house, surrounded by furnishings and belongs which had almost always come from thrift stores or yard sales, and she looked like the most out of place person Jared could imagine. She had obviously been shopping while he was at school. The dress she wore, which was new, was a sleeveless number with an ivory sheer outer layer, peppered with wispy roses, floating over a deep rose-colored opaque layer underneath. It had a fluttery hem that slanted deeply from her left knee to her right calf and fit her so well he couldn’t remember ever having seen her wear anything else. She had new shoes to accompany, of course. Cream colored sandals with a low heel and thin straps that wound over the tops of her feet and stopped just above her delicate ankles. Her newly coppered hair was not pulled back, not was it tucked hurriedly behind her ears. Today she had taken the time to blow dry it into a soft, slightly wavy style that he’d never seen her wear before.

After the initial shock of the recently acquired clothes and shoes wore off and he had taken his eyes off her lustrous hair, he settled on her face. If he had been breathing he would have stopped. As it was, his heart nearly stopped beating. She was wearing make-up. In all of his life, Jared had not one time seen his mother wear cosmetics. This very obviously must be the reason for that. She was devastating… almost painful to look at. Her face shone with a brightness he’d never seen, her skin taking on a flawless creamy shade. Her hazel eyes seemed liquid and her lashes appeared almost like feathers they were so long and thick. The color she had chosen for her lips, and she had chosen well, was the palest whisper of rose in keeping with her dress and newly tinted cheeks.

It took only a split second for Jared to absorb what he was seeing, yet another full minute before he could speak to her. He saw a slightly worried look start to creep onto her face and he forced himself to say something before she could start assuming the wrong things. He stood and went to stand in front of her. “Mom…wow!”, he breathed. She bit her lip and looked down at her outfit. “ I don’t look stupid do I?”, she asked him quietly. Jared stifled the urge to be angry with her unawareness for the millionth time and quickly reassured her that she looked great. “Really? I mean, I don’t normally do dresses, but then again I don’t normally do blow dryers or make up or hair color either, huh?” She nervously started picking at her cuticles.

 He swallowed hard, trying to keep his voice from cracking, as it affected him more when he was anxious. “No, Mom … I mean … you’re beautiful”, he finally heard himself say. “Why are you staring at me like that, Jared? You’re acting like you’ve never seen me! Good Lord, Son, is it that bad?”, she said as she looked down at her dress, “Should I change?” He couldn’t speak fast enough then. “NO! Mom, it’s not bad, it’s just that, well, I’ve never seen you wear a dress or wear your hair that way…or wear make-up.”, he added hesitantly, “Give me a minute, Ok? It’s great, you’re beautiful…just different that’s all. She looked at him through squinted eyes, obviously suspicious of her son.

Another minute passed unnoticed by them as they stood and faced each other. Finally, he stepped forward and hugged her. She stood quite still with her hands out at her sides, unsure of how to act at the moment. Slowly, she hugged back. “ What brought that on, Jared? You’re acting so strangely today”, she said while they embraced. He pulled back so that he could see her face and looked at her incredulously. “I’m acting strange?? Mom, I’ve never seen you do more strange things in one day in my life! You’re home in the middle of day, you’ve colored your hair red, you bought a new dress, you’re wearing make up, you blow dried your hair…do you want me to go on? Is all of this because Tommy left?” She looked at him for second and said, “Yes.” He hadn’t expected the truth from her and it stunned him.

They studied each other for a while and then she said, “Where do you want to eat tonight?”, like it was the most normal thing in the world to ask. She was smiling at him like she was going to burst all of a sudden. More mischievousness. Who is this woman?, he thought to himself. Asking her questions was getting him nowhere. He was going to have to play her game…for a while anyway. “Got a place in mind?”, he asked her. She smiled bigger and said, “Yep, but you’re going to have to change your clothes.” He was the one looking down at himself now. Suddenly, in comparison to his mother, he saw what he was dressed in as shabby and poor. No wonder people looked at him the way they did. He was wearing a battered pair of blue jeans, with scuffs on the knees and frayed threads around the bottoms from walking on the hems, an old pair of tattered sneakers and a faded t-shirt that advertised a festival that he’d never even been to in another state.

 He looked back at her, and while doing a mental tally of the contents of his closet, said, “What am I supposed to change into?” He thought for sure that her face was going to split open like an over-ripe melon from the size of the grin she was showing. “Come here”, was all she said. Curious, he followed her as she turned and headed back to the bathroom. She bent down to the bags that he had heard her going through earlier. With a flair, she pulled out several things at once. Some were on hangers and some were in packages. When his eyes landed on the objects in her hands he realized that she had been shopping for him too. She stood there holding a new outfit for him complete with slacks, button down shirt, tie, socks, belt, underwear and undershirt. “Mom! These are awesome!”, he said with a smile that rivaled hers. “But, what about…”, before he could finish his sentence she had bent down and retrieved a box that had been hiding on the other side of the toilet. “…shoes”, he said, finished his thought. Still grinning, he took the box from her and opened it gently as if he might jostle the shoes too much and spoil them. Inside he found the most perfect pair of shiny patent leather dress shoes he’d ever seen. He was speechless. He kept looking from the shoes to her and back to the shoes in silence. “Oh, for goodness’ sake, Jared, try them on! Let’s see if they fit you. I might have to take them back, I wasn’t sure of the size…I mean I’ve never bought you dress shoes before.” She was rambling. He looked up at her and said, “I don’t remember having any shoes that were brand new before.”

For what seemed like the tenth time this afternoon, they were staring at each other again. The grin slid off of his face and hers too. “Where?”, he asked her. “Where what?”, she asked back. “Where did you get the money for all of this?”, he clarified. “Jared, for Pete’s Sake! What kind of question is that? I’m you’re mother…I don’t need to answer…” He cut her off. “Where Mom?”, he persisted, knowing that she would answer him sooner or later. She looked down and fiddled with the laces on his new shoes. “Well, we have one less mouth to feed around here and..” He continued staring at her as she fiddled. She wouldn’t meet his gaze.

“Jared, there is a lot you don’t know about me, Son. I’ve always known that this day would come - in some form or another. I wasn’t quite sure if it would be me that would leave or him, but I always knew in my heart that this day would come. That being said, your mother is not quite as ‘simple’ as people think she is. I’ve been saving. I know that might upset you because we’ve…well, we’ve never had very much money and life has been pretty rough for you, but you have to realize that a woman has to fend for herself in this world. It might not seem fair to you…” He cut her off, “How much, Mom?” “Well, Jared, I really can’t just …” She looked petrified of him for a split second, like the roles were reversed just this once and she was the child confessing to a parent about a hidden thing.

He put his hand on her hand again. She had fiddled until the laces of his new shoes were knotted up. “How much?”, he said slowly. She took a deep breath and without looking him in the eye, softly said, “Almost $40,000.” He felt the breath leave his lungs involuntarily. It took a moment for them to willingly re-inflate again. He was dumb-struck.

She was chewing her lip and worrying her cuticles, not looking at him, when he finally said, “Oh, Mom! Mom! Do you know what this means?”, he grabbed her by the shoulders, “Mom, this means that we can get out of this dump! We can leave here and start over! Oh, Mom!”, he launched himself at her and very nearly knocked her over hugging her. “You’re not mad?”, she laughed as she hugged him back. “Mad? Mad?! Mom, oh my goodness, this is awesome! Tommy’s gone, you’re beautiful, we’re rich… what’s to be mad at!” He let go of her and started running and shouting and dancing like a touchdown-scoring football player. She was breathless and speechless all at the same time.

“Jared, come here…calm down and come here…come here!” She was practically shouting at this point, but laughing at his antics at the same time. She finally got him to calm down and come back to her. He was breathless too by the time she settled him down. She was laughing at him and he was smiling at her with the biggest, widest grin she’d seen on his face since he was a toddler. “Jared… Jared, sweetie, we’re not ‘rich’. We’re not even close to rich…” “$40,000 Mom!”, he interrupted. “Jared, I said almost $40,000. It’s really more like $38,000 and change and that’s really not a huge amount of money.” He was gaping at her. “ I’m being real with you Jared”, she said, “It’s enough money to start living a little better, but it’s not like I won the lottery or anything! I’m not going to be able to stay at home, for instance, and start being a lady of leisure by any means.” With the smile still plastered dumbly on his face he said, “I know that, Mom, but think about what it does mean! It means that you won’t have to work doubles anymore. It’ll just be you and me and you’ll be home more and things will be great!”

She couldn’t help it, she adopted the sloppy smile of her son and put her hands on either side of his face. “How can you possibly be so happy? You come home to a missing parent and a mother whose cheese has slid off her cracker and this is the happiest I’ve seen you in years? Why?” He placed his hands on top of hers on his cheek and said, “Because this is the happiest I’ve ever seen you, you’re the most beautiful mom on the planet, no one is ever going to hurt you again and you are taking me to dinner.” Tears started to form in her eyes and her chin started to tremble as she looked in to the eyes of her nearly-grown, only son and said, “ Dear sweet Jesus, what did I do…what could I have ever done…to deserve this child?”

Jared emerged from his bedroom , dressed more elegantly than he had ever been before. The breath caught in his mother’s throat. She smiled a slight smile and trying not to embarrass him, which was becoming harder the older he got, she just nodded her head as if to say, Very nice. He fiddled with the buttons on his new shirt and shifted his weight from one foot to another while they stood silently in the kitchen, looking at each other. If he had not grown up in an essentially silent home this might have been awkward. The truth was, he did grow up in a silent home. His parents didn’t talk to each other, he didn’t talk to Tommy unless he had to, his mother was never home to talk to him…silence was the only brother he’d ever known. Danielle broke the silence with the question of the evening, “Ready to go to dinner?”

The family’s only vehicle, a dyspeptic yellow sedan that hadn’t had fabric on the ceiling since they’d owned it, was chugging along loudly as they made their way to the mystery restaurant. Danielle still hadn’t told Jared where they were going. It’s ok, he thought to himself, I can play her game. They drove along, but this time not in silence. Surprisingly enough the radio still worked in this car…even if the defrost and A/C didn’t. As they cruised down the road at a door-rattling 55 mph, his mom sang out to her favorite songs from the local country station. Her voice really was top-notch. He always loved her voice, but like everything else about his mother, he didn’t dare compliment it. In fact, if he even let her know he was listening she would have stopped right then, in true Danielle Marshall fashion. She sang all the way to Pensacola. It was odd that they had lived near the coast all of his life, but hardly ever ventured down to the city or the beach. For one, Jared’s mom worked all the doggone time and for another, they never had extra gas money. It was only an hour trip but they only made it a handful of times per year. One year they went to the beach three times. That was the record.

Growing up in Northern Florida was a little bit of an oxymoron to Jared. Technically they were Florida residents, true, but they spent more time in Alabama because that’s where his mom worked, that’s where the local bank and grocery store were and other than school, it was the only place to go. In fact, the school really was the only thing in the little township that they lived in. Trees and grass were the only landmarks here. The school Jared went to was K-12 because there wouldn’t have been enough students to split up into separate schools and it would cost too much to bus them all the way over to the other end of the county. Sometimes, Jared thought that the town was as invisible as him.

The drive down to the city was a nice one. The warm summer evening was pleasant and the traffic was light. Jared was slightly worried about how fancy their dinner would feel when they drove up the restaurant in the dilapidated car. As if reading his mind, Danielle suddenly said out loud, “We are going to ditch this car, Jared. Is that ok with you?” “Um, sure, I guess”, he stumbled. They smoothly crossed lanes and exited the interstate until they were winding their way through side streets in the historic district. Without explanation, Danielle pulled into a business parking lot, the kind you had to pay for by the hour. They gathered their things and Jared felt sure that they were going to walk somewhere. His mom didn’t move to leave the parking lot though. Instead she stood at the entrance to the lot, and glanced at her watch. Almost telepathically, a cab pulled to the curb. A sweaty man in shirtsleeves pushed his head out of the window and yelled out to them, “ You Mrs. Marshall?”. Danielle nodded with a smile and did not meet her son’s gaze as she walked to the cab confidently as if she did so every day. She paused at the door and glanced up at her son. “Oh. Sorry, Mom”, he offered as he rushed to open her door. She smirked sideways at him and slid in and across the seat to leave room for him. Mental note, he thought to himself, Ladies first…be a gentleman. He would do his best to make sure that he played the part tonight, as it may be the once chance he had to do it.

Gracefully, Danielle slid forward and said, “ Chancellor’s please”. “Sure thing, Ma’am”, said their driver. It was almost like a scene from a movie. Jared’s head was getting dizzy. He leaned back and rested his head on the stiff leather seat and watched the city lights pass. It was the second time that day that he had let his eyes go unfocused at the scenery. The bus ride home seemed like the distant past. Funny, that. You live the same day over and over your entire life and one afternoon can make it seem like just a memory. He smiled at this absently and that was the last time he thought about it.


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