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Living Fiction - Chapter 48
Here's where Chapter 47 left you:
“Mom, seriously. C’mon, let’s go get coffee and celebrate anyway.”
She started to open her car door. I put my hand on her arm and stopped her. “Did you even hear a single word I just said? There is nothing I feel like celebrating right now!”
“Yes, Mom. I heard every, single world you said. But we are going inside. We are going to order coffee and when it comes we’re having a toast.”
She was really starting to irritate me. I don’t think she had listened at all. “Jessie? Why would we have a toast? There is nothing to toast, believe me.”
She looked me straight in the eye.
“Oh yes there is, Mom. For starters, we’re celebrating the first honest conversation we’ve had since I became an adult!”
And now, Chapter 48 Continues.
I sat in the car. I was a grown woman and I certainly wasn’t going to let my daughter boss me around like this. “I’ll teach her,” I thought and reached down to turn my car back on. Drat! I forgot she had taken the keys.
From the corner of my eye, I saw her digging in her purse. She rapped on the window to show me my keys (what a brat!) and then motioned for me to get out of the car.
Fine! Just fine! I’d go into the coffee shop but I wasn’t doing any celebrating…first honest conversation or not. The bell did its irritating merry jingle as I went through the shop door a few steps behind my daughter. It was crowded in the sunny little space. Jessie was already at the counter looking over the menu board. She turned toward me, “Mom? Whatta you want? My treat.”
“Well give me a second and…” I started to say, when all the sudden the guy behind the counter turned around. It was Griffin! And he gave me a big smile! “Pearl? Right? How’ve ya been? What’s going on? How’s your blog going?”
Geez. I was shocked. How had he remembered all that stuff? I must have looked surprised, because he quickly explained, “I never forget a face…and, besides, any friend of Jay’s is a friend of mine! How’s he doin’ anyway? I haven’t seen him in here lately?”
Before I could answer, Griffin motioned to the short line that had formed behind Jessie and me. “Listen, ladies, go ahead and have a seat and I’ll bring your coffees over.”
Jessie just stood there. I pulled her arm. “C’mon Jess, let’s get a seat, it’s getting crowded in here.”
“But Mom? Who was that? He didn’t even take an order from us. How can he bring coffees to our table if we didn’t order?”
“That,” I said, “Is Griffin. He is going to school from something like…ummm… well…media…ummm…Social…ummm…okay, I can’t remember exactly what he’s going to school for. He likes to guess what people like to drink and…”
Oh my gosh. Was she already back to repeating my name over and over again?
“Just wait a second, okay. You watch. I bet he’ll pick a coffee drink you’ll love!”
“So…Mom. I really thought you had made up the whole thing about coming to the coffee shop and everything.”
I was offended.
Did the girl think I lied about everything?
Thank goodness Griffin approached our little table then with two steaming coffee drinks and a little plate of tiny muffins. Yum. “Pearl, for you I made a caramel pumpkin latte with a little extra spice,” he said with a wink and an exaggerated bow. I really liked Griffin. If he was older and didn’t have all those tattoos and…well…silly me. Just never mind.
Griffin, however, seemed to be flirting with my daughter, “And for this beautiful lady I prepared a cappuccino with an extra shot of expresso AND one packet of sweetener. And for both of you I brought a selection of our mini-muffins…blueberry, pumpkin and lemon poppyseed.”
He laid our check on the table and gave us another wink. “I’d love to stay and chat, but there’s a line…so just give me a whistle if you need anything.”
Without even glancing at my daughter, I said, “Close your mouth, Jessie. Don’t look so surprised. I know a few people around this town. Is that what you usually order?”
Jessie was still staring after Griffin. “Mom, he’s kind of cute, isn’t he? Does he have a girlfriend? How old is he anyway? What do you think of those tat’s?”
I stirred my latte and spooned up a bit of the frothy topping. Delicious! That spicy pumpkin aroma just made my mouth water. I found one of the bite-sized pumpkin muffins to enjoy with it.
“I heard you, Jess. I was just thinking. He is cute. And I think his tattoos are kind of pretty. He seems really nice and for some reason I don’t think he has a girlfriend…but I could be wrong. Is that your usual coffee drink or not?”
Jessie grinned and nodded.
We sipped and munched and just enjoyed the murmur of the crowded coffee shop. The sun cast a golden glow over the wood tables.
It was nice to sit quietly. It was especially nice to not have to explain myself. I glanced around the coffee shop and noticed a thin, younger man with chaotic brown hair looking back at me. He certainly looked familiar, but I just couldn’t place him.
As I watched him push his chair back and approach our table, I struggled to remember where I had met him before.
“Pearl? Is it Pearl?”
“Well…hi…ummm…gosh, it’s been so long since I’ve … ummm…”
“You don’t remember me, do you?” he asked in a gentle voice. “I’m Bob. We met at the Carnegie Library. You left in a hurry and I never got a moment to talk to you. How are you?”
“Bob, I’m fine, thank you. What a good memory you have. This is my daughter, Jessie. Jessie…meet Bob. Bob runs…well, he runs one of the grief support meetings at the Carnegie Library.”
“So listen, Pearl. Let me give you my card. You can give me a call if you want to find out about upcoming meetings, or…well…just call me if you need to talk.”
I thanked him and pocketed the card.
“Jessie, it’s no big deal. I promise I’ll go back to a meeting there soon.”
“It’s not that,” Jessie replied solemnly, “I thought you had lied about the grief meetings, too.”
Obviously the girl DID think I lied about everything.
“Look, can we just get one thing clear here?” I asked her in a firm voice. “I didn’t lie about everything. I already explained that I was trying to protect you. Can we just let this go? Can we just quit with the inquisition and have a conversation?”
“That’s all I ever wanted, Mom. I just want to know how you are. Really. Do you want another coffee?”
To be continued on Tuesday, August 30.
(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
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