“Jeanie your grandmother wants to go shopping this weekend.”  “Ugh, I am not spending time with that sad old woman.”  Her daughter replied.  “No good Jean, I’ve been trying that one for years.”  Her sister added.  “Shut up Andrea, she doesn’t even like you.”  The older girl glanced back to her mother a resolute quality to her words, “I’m not going, I’m busy.”  The subject was dropped.

     The girls pushed their lasagna across their plates.  The red mush became more and more unidentifiable with each contact from the fork.  “Geez mom, this is so fattening.” Andrea commented.  If the girls weren’t going to eat then now was as good a time as any to broach the issue.

     “Girls I got a call from school today.”  Raised eyebrows and indifferent glances were returned in reply.  “Apparently you’ve been truant quite a few times this past month.” The mother continued, still no answer.  Andrea put a napkin on top of her plate signifying she was done.  “I hope this isn’t affecting your grades.  Jeanie you’ve got honor role to think about.”

     “None of your business mom, don’t worry about it.”  The girls rose and Andrea left the dining room leaving her plate on the table.  That would have been unacceptable had her father been home.  Jeanie remained a genial look on her made up face. 

     “Looking hot mom.”  “Thanks girlie.”  Jean turned to leave.  Her napkin resting crumpled next to her full plate.  She stopped and turned to face her mother before reaching the hall.  “Don’t think that any chemical youth serum is going to make you as attractive as me. “  Mrs. Pine was abashed at the change of tone in her daughter’s voice.

     “You may think that nipping and tucking can imbue dad with desire for you again but we both know better.  You know why he never brings you on business trips.  You know he’ll never look at you like that again.  So if you think that you can improve your sex life by trying to look like your daughters, then think again.”

     Mrs. Pine watched her daughter exit the dining room.  She sat in her place at the table while she heard the jangling of keys and the slamming of the front door.  Her daughter’s outburst was shocking.

     The defiant attitude shouldn’t have been alarming.  It was a part of growing up she rationalized, something that all teenagers experienced.  She was glad that her daughter had undergone the procedure so that she could experience this part of life.

     At Jeanie’s age Mrs. Pine had fought with her mother.  It would be hypocritical to expect anything different from her daughters.  The teenager’s hurtful words may have been accurate.  Botox might not be the best way to rejuvenate her life.  She knew that Jeanie always encouraged her to accept herself as she was.

    Still the girl had always helped her dye the ever increasing grey hairs every few months.  Perhaps she now had the courage to tell her mother how she truly felt.  She assured herself that her daughter’s behavior was typical. 

     Yet she wanted to be entirely sure.  Mrs. Pine dialed the doctor’s number and waited for the receptionist, or was it nurse, to answer the call.  She received the same stock answers that could be read on any website advertising the procedure. 

     “I understand the behavioral changes but she has become so belligerent, almost threatening.”  The mother queried.  Her voice shaking slightly as the morsel of fear registered in her brain.  “I assure you Ma’am It’s all part of adjusting to her new personality it can take anywhere from two to twelve months for her to balance out.”

     A clammy hand set the wireless phone back into its cradle to charge.  There was nothing wrong with her daughter.  She told herself this over and over again.  The words silently collided with her curious anxieties. They made little progress to comfort her.  “Something’s wrong with my daughter.”She whispered her fear and then returned the dirty plates to the kitchen where a half emptied bottle of Pinot Noir was waiting for her.

The End

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