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.







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