The next day after school as promised Melody and Jeff camped out at our house right through dinner. Which was expected for Jeff, but very unexpected for Melody. Usually she and her mom had dinner at 5:30. You could set your clock by their dinner seating.
Despite sitting at the kitchen table for more than five hours, including dinner, the rule about doing homework was apparently laid aside. There were more stories than science, more mischief than math. The tone was light, with no mention of Beverly, cancer, death, or Carolyn. At first I wasn't paying attention, really, just listening to the wonderful Bainbridge Island stories. And then it hit me, Mom's controlling the content. To test my theory I hit her big, “So Mom, did the sale of the Marché house go through while you were there?”
Immediately conversations eased, as if everyone leaned in to hear her quietly answer, “No.”
“Will you have to go back to handle any more details, regarding the house?”
This time she let out a sigh before answering, “No, the lawyer will handle it.”
“But aren't you the Executor of Beverly's Estate?”
“Ummm.... Sarah, I really don't want to talk about this now.” Then smiling towards Jeff and Melody she continued, “Our friends are here. Let's enjoy their company.”
Shut down.What was she afraid to tell us? Did she think, that time would heal all wounds? Whatever the changes that were in the air, wouldn't it be better to plot and plan? While I stewed, the rest of the crew, even Molly, were chatting about beaches and ferries, seeing the Space Needle lit up at night and sighting Orca whales in the Sound. I was almost homesick. Almost.
Melody might have noticed when she asked, “Hey, what's wrong?”
“Nothing always means something,” added Jeff. The open Algebra book laid in front of him at the kitchen table, all but forgotten.
“Maybe we should get to our homework?” I suggested. Thinking bringing the focus back to Stockbridge might help my mental state.
“Maybe we should eat more cookies?” was Jeff's response. Cookies would work too. Especially Mom's freshly baked chocolate chips, before dinner. Yes Mom was home. The house smelled of sugar and chocolate. Lucky us.
Cookies inhaled. Washed down with cold milk. Dinner, American chop suey, nibbled. Filling the little stomach space not occupied by sweets. It was time for Jeff and Melody to make their way home. For Jeff it was an easy half mile walk to the top of the road, a cul de sac that ended at his gated driveway. Melody was a different story. Dad offered to drive her. Actually he made the same offer to Jeff, but he decline. Opting to walk and work off a few cookies.
Hugs distributed, dad and Melody in the car backing down the driveway, I turned to Mom to get a few details. “Mom,” that was all I got out before being cut off.
“Sweetheart, it's complicated. Can I have one more day to think before putting the cards on the table?” It was a question, but really it was a statement that we would talk about it tomorrow, Saturday.
Late Night Text
Melody: Great having your mom home.
Did you guys talk?
Why the delay?
Who knows... details so horrific that they can't be discussed. Frightening.
Jeff's happy your mom is home.
Oh yeah! He might actually pass algebra.
BTW ans to 3...
(2x + y)(3x + 7y)