CHAPTER THREE: Meanwhile, Back Home…
“Well, you’re in a happy mood,” I told Grandma as I shut the front door, plopped my purse into its usual corner, and wheeled up to the sofa table where my mail is piled high. I hardly ever open my mail; mostly junk stuff, anyways. I turned my chair to look at Grandma, working in the kitchen like she hasn’t a care in the world. She’s pulling a casserole out of the oven, humming a tune from her hymnal, with a slight smile on her round, chubby-cheeked face. She’s so cute when she’s content.
“I am happy, Tasha. I just got a letter from your cousin and she’s going to spend her Thanksgiving vacation with us!”
“Great,” I said, but what I’m thinking is grrr ea AAT; ‘Lil Bitch is coming to visit. Of course, that’s not her real name; just her real personality. Her name is May Atkins – her mother – my older sister – didn’t put the birth father’s name on the certificate, so like it or not we shared the same last name. She’s a not-so-adorable fourteen-going-on-I-know-it-all teen, moody as hell, who craves drama whenever and wherever she can find it. Add to that she talks non-stop and you’ve got just the opposite of me. I hate drama, can’t stand social media hype, and a ‘chatty Cathy’ I’m not. Maybe her brother Joe will come with her. That would balance things out a little. He’s eighteen and totally normal.
“I was thinking…” Grandma said, turning to face me. “I was thinking that maybe we could ask May to stay with us for both her school holidays – Thanksgiving and Christmas!” Grandma’s face beamed with excitement. “Wouldn’t that be great? What do you think, Tasha?”
For sixty-five, she’s really naïve to think this would be a good thing. I’m thinking she really doesn’t want to know what I think – because it would make her sad. But I’d just love to tell her how I feel about it. Joe? Yeah, he’s okay. But May? Being around that girl could turn the Dali Lama into a serial killer.
“That would be great,” I agreed. I just can’t burst this woman’s happy bubble.
“So, how was your day, dear?”
This I can truthfully answer. “It was okay until I got to work,” I say. “Then this guy in a red corvette comes ripping around the corner and I guess I cut him off when I turned into my parking space because he honked his horn at me – three times!”
“Were you daydreaming, again?” Her quiet question irks me. “I might have been, but that doesn’t make it okay for him to scare me out of my wits with his horn!”
“That’s what horns are for, dear; to warn other drivers so an accident doesn’t happen.”
Okay, okay; you’re right.
“But he’s such a douche ... a dummy.”
Grandma looked at me for an explanation but I had none.
“Okay, I’m the dummy,” I admitted. He’s the douche-bag.
Grandma patted me on the shoulder. “Now don’t you feel better? It’s always best to admit when you’re at fault.”
Another ‘pearl of wisdom’, one I don’t like. I may have cut him off without meaning to, but he threatened me with a ticket. Until I showed him the error of his ways. I smiled.
“See? Now you’re smiling,” Grandma says.
I rolled past the kitchen and into my bedroom. Curtains had been pulled open to let in the early evening light. I loved the holidays; why does my cousin have to come and ruin it all?
I stared out the bay windows, rolling as close as I could get to the window seat, and lifted the lid. It’s like a storage bench but built into the wall underneath the window. Getting out my journal I closed the seat’s top, moved my chair’s armrest aside, and hoisted myself onto the window seat, pulling my legs up so they'd be stretched out and comfy. I leaned back on the fluffy toss pillow and stared outside. So nice. The sun’s barely hanging by a purple thread in the sky, all artsy and glowee in hues of pinks and oranges, as it slowly lowered itself below the horizon, like a ballerina taking her final curtain call. Sunset is my favorite time of day.
Suddenly I saw it – a really huge dog that's been coming onto the edge of our property for the past week - just to sit. Our backyard is quite large for the neighborhood, bordered by a small woodsy area that goes who-knows-where or how far. The dog was facing the house from the furthest edge of the yard, like it can see me sitting here, at my window, looking at it. This makes the third or fourth time I’ve seen it in the past week. While I’m glad it isn’t barking it’s head off, I’ve got to wonder how big a pooper-scooper we're going to need to clean up his messes. I’m thinking really big. The animal has never ventured close enough for me to see what breed it is, but it’s size is mammoth! Grandma should go talk to our neighbors; Mrs. Owens had mentioned she was getting a dog from the pound. The mutt must be theirs.
Sunset's over; the sun dipped in a final bow below the horizon, leaving the landscape draped in purplish navy blues. The mutt turned its head upwards, watching the darkening sky. I heard the knock on my bedroom door that signaled supper’s ready. I used to love casseroles until Grandma decided to try out some vegan recipes. I know this is mostly for May’s sake because that’s her new thing: protect all animals … animals are our friends … you can’t have a pet and eat it, too. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
“Be out in a jiff,” I yelled, laying my journal aside. I transfered myself from window seat to wheelchair and glanced one more time to the edge of the backyard before drawing the bedroom curtains closed. Nothing there.
The meatless supper smelled pretty spectacular considering it was meatless. I can’t blame Grandma for practicing vegetarian cooking since it’s May’s newest phase and she’s coming for Thanksgiving. Grandma’s all about consideration of others. Then it hit me: Thanksgiving! No! I want smoked turkey, my brain screamed.