Deirdre’s husband gets home from dropping the boys, and gives her bad news. His job is sending him out of town for a couple of weeks. Not happy, but resigned to it, she accepts it.
Fred laughed, giving her a kiss. “I love you, Mrs. Partridge.”
“I love you, Mr. Partridge. Call me when you take lunch.”
They kissed again, not wanting to let go.
“I’ll miss you,” he whispered. “Shit,” he hissed.
Deirdre laughed at him, she knew what was wrong. “Didn’t we take care of that problem?”
“Apparently not. Dammit, behave!” he addressed his zipper and what was behind it. “Not gonna happen, not with my lovely wife in my arms. Gotta go. Bye!” he kissed her nose and darted out the door.
Once she was alone, Deirdre went back to her computer. She did a few tasks, checked her Facebook page, shared some posts and finally put on some music. With a quick click, she opened a new document and sat there, starting at the blank page. Absolutely nothing came to mind. She tried a few sentences, but after one trite, hokey quote after another, she gave up.
A glass of wine, that was what she needed. Didn’t Hemingway say to write drunk and edit sober? She wouldn’t get drunk. She had to pick up the boys, but maybe one drink would limber her up. When she actually typed, It was a dark and stormy night, she knew she had to stop.
Flipping through the how-to-write books didn’t help. They didn’t give any suggestions on how not to sound like a complete idiot. She would have to figure that out on her own. It was almost time to go get her boys, so she made a pit stop, grabbed her purse and headed to the garage. Her bright red Jeep sat there, looking happy and perky—odd words to describe a Jeep, but it was one of the new ones, which were a long step away from the original. She still wasn’t sure she liked it, preferring her old Bronco, but Fred decided she needed an upgrade from the old standard shift vehicle.
Aiden was driving, Burl had his learner’s permit, and they couldn’t handle standard. Aiden had tried, and nearly stripped the gears. More to the point, she couldn’t handle teaching them how to shift. Since Fred had protested the very idea of teaching their sons to drive, the job fell to her. All those fun jobs fell to her, like talking to them about puberty. By the time she got to Corin, she knew better what to say, but the conversation with Aiden had scarred them both for life.
The drive to school wasn’t too bad. She arrived early enough to get a good spot, right at the curb, and far enough up the line that getting out wouldn’t be too difficult. She sent a text to the boys, telling them where to look for her, and sat back with some Nirvana on her satellite radio. She did appreciate that feature of the car, because she listened to music all the time. A teen of the 90s, she loved bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Metallica.
She’d brought a notebook with her, and scribbled some ideas in it, still at odds with herself. Every helpful book she’d read, told her to outline. For the life of her, she couldn’t remember how. Not only that, she found herself putting in too many details. Outlines were supposed to be hints and suggestions—subject headings to be filled in later. She remembered that much from school. She was spending so much time on the outline, she couldn’t figure out how to write the book itself. By the time the boys hopped in the car, she’d given up and was writing her grocery list.
“How was school?” she asked, when they were settled.
“How is it usually?” Aiden asked, checking the mirrors as if he were the one driving.
True to her word, Deirdre made a hole and cut ahead of a Lexus. That earned her a honk and a finger. She waved her own finger out the window.
“Shit, Mom!” Corin yelped. “You can’t flip off people in the car line!”
The Lexus rushed up behind her, slamming on his brakes just in time.
“I swear, that asshole is doing it on purpose.” She glared at her mirror.
“If he hits you, it’s his fault,” Burl said. “We learned that in driver’s ed.”
“I’m aware. But your father would have a piglet.”
“He’d have a whole litter,” Corin corrected. “Did you know one collective name for pigs is a drove?”
“Did you know that I don’t care?” Aiden tossed over his shoulder. “I swear, Cor, you know the weirdest shit, that no one else gives a f**k about.”
“At least I know more than you do. Mom, do you know what they call a bunch of crows?”
“Who cares?” Aiden yelled.
“It’s called a Murder,” Deirdre replied. “Aiden, you yell in my car again, and you won’t drive for a month. Also, a shrewdness of apes, a bellowing of bullfinches and a kaleidoscope of butterflies. Collective names are fascinating.”
“Correction, only you, and Mom, care,” Aiden snarled.
“I care,” Burl added, “but you never include me, because I’m invisible.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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