Well the first week of school was long and grueling, but we got through it. Hopefully things will smooth out soon, though I must say it actually went rather well. Getting back into the schedule is challenging though.
Anyway...I thought I'd post an excerpt and I'm going to use my random scrolling method because I have trouble choosing. Here we are in Chapter 6, Ellen has learned that Doug is engaged to his girlfriend. Ellen, Stephanie and Jessie are in the master bedroom as Matt arrives home from his best friend's house.
Matt walked in to the sounds of a boom box blaring angry rocker chick music and what sounded like the total destruction of something, coming from his parents’ bedroom. Putting his helmet back on, he went to investigate. Shock was the only way to describe his reaction to the scene. From what he could tell his mother and older sister had finally lost it, at least he hoped they had; this certainly didn’t look like sane behavior to him. They were covered in dust and singing along with the music, making up their own words. Huge holes punctuated the walls like some giant abstract dot-to-dot.
Ellen was hitting the wall with a sledgehammer while Stephanie took a swig from a bottle of something that had to be alcoholic. Ellen reached her “hammer arm” out to Stephanie. “Your turn.” Stephanie took the instrument of destruction and attacked the remaining plaster with so much enthusiasm that Matt was afraid she wouldn’t stop there, but would smash all the walls in the house. He was definitely locking his bedroom door tonight.
In the midst of the mayhem Jessie sat calmly in a chair reading a cooking magazine, mouth and nose covered with a mask like they wear at hospitals.
Crossing to her, Matt shouted. “What’s going on?”
She pulled her mask down long enough to shout back “What’s it look
Unsatisfied, he grasped the cord on the boom box and pulled.
All three women stared at him. Ellen spoke. “Sorry about the noise sweetheart, are we disturbing you?”
Matt looked at all three of them in turn and back again, then gestured at the wall. “What—?”
“I’m doing some redecorating.” The elastic band on the goggles smooshed her hair down, making her look reminiscent of an ’80s rocker.
Matt stared for another full minute, not saying anything.
Jessie turned another page and addressed him without looking up.
“Well young man? Are you going to stand there all night?”
He turned and left the room, shaking his head. The sound of laughter followed him all the way up the stairs and to his room.
Ellen took another swallow from the bottle. “This is good wine.”
“And this,” Stephanie declared, “is for making me take tap dancing.” A
terrific spray of plaster and dust demonstrated the frustration she’d buried for thirteen years. She handed the sledgehammer back to her mother.
“And this,” Ellen swung the hammer back, “is for all those times he forgot my birthday.” More plaster, more dust—their hair was so covered that they could have gone to a party in seventeenth century France. “You sure you don’t want to join us, Jess?”
“No thanks. I still have to drive home.”
Stephanie put the bottle down. “But don’t you want to take a swing? Don’t you ever just want to hit something?”
“Oh, Lord yes! But then I remember that I’ll just have to clean it up later.”
Ellen blew out an exasperated breath. “For crying out loud, Jessie, we won’t make you clean it up.”
She turned another page. “Nope. If I help make the mess, I’m going to help clean it up. Go on back to your fun, girls. Don’t mind me.”
Not too much later Ellen and Stephanie collapsed, laughing on the floor. “We should do this more often.”
“What, get drunk or destroy the house?” Stephanie giggled.
“I don’t know.” Ellen closed her eyes. “How about both?”
“Okay.” Stephanie started giggling again.
Jessie got up. “I take it you’re done playing demolition now. Are you
two going to be all right if I go home now?”
“We’ll be good, Jessie.” Ellen assured her.
“Promise.” Stephanie managed to gasp between fits of laughter.
Jessie put her coat on and slung her purse over her shoulder. She smiled as she said “Thank you both for a lovely evening.”
They were dimly aware of hearing the front door close and Jessie’s car pulling out of the drive. The mirth slowly gave way to pensiveness.
“Dad is despicable.”
“I know. He even cleaned out the safe. Left two hundred measly dollars.”
“No, that was me.”
“What did you need all of that for?”
“I didn’t. I just didn’t want him to have it—or great-grandma’s ring.”
Ellen wrapped an arm around her daughter’s shoulder and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “I’m so proud of you, Stephanie Victoria.”
“You look like the ghost of Christmas past.”
Ellen laughed. “That must make you the ghost of Christmas yet to come.”
“Maybe I should go pay a visit to Ebenezer Pritchard.”
They both started laughing again.
♦ ♦ ♦
Matt was sitting at the table eating his second bowl of cereal when two moaning figures entered the room shielding their eyes from the morning light. “Good morning.” He said louder than necessary. The two figures both groaned and mumbled responses. Moving sluggishly, Ellen started the coffee while Stephanie sat down, laying her head down on the smooth cool surface of the kitchen table.
“And you guys are supposed to be role models.”
Stephanie rolled her head sideways long enough to mutter “Matt? Shut up.”
He waited a few more minutes, until they both had steaming mugs of coffee in their hands before trying again. “So, who wants to go to church?”
Identical groans made him smile. This was
too much fun. For once he had the upper hand. A moment or two was spent planning amusing schemes to increase his mother and sister’s discomfort but in the end he decided against them. Matt was creative, but he’d never been cruel. He grabbed his helmet and pads and said “I’ll be at Steve’s.”
Ellen waved him off and sniffed the steam rising from her mug.
The back door banged shut behind him making both women hold their
“I feel like that wall.” Stephanie moaned.
“I feel like the sledgehammer.” Ellen countered.
Their eyes met and they smiled, and then started chuckling, but that caused more pain. So they settled for sitting in silence, drinking their coffee, each vowing never to do something like that again—at least not with the wine.