When I came downstairs the next morning, Bettany was just serving up French toast and a pot of coffee.
"Morning, Carla! Thought I'd surprise you with a hot breakfast!"
I knew this was typical abusive remorse behaviour, but damn if I didn't crumble like a cracker for that French toast with maple syrup. She sat down with me and, as I had expected, apologized.
As apologies go, it wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst I'd heard either. She was genuinely sorry for her behaviour last night -- and over the past weeks -- but she didn't want to hear anything about change.
"Bettany, I think it's important for you to find out about welfare and getting your own place, not to mention enrolling Michael in kindergarten," I suggested. "Maybe you could go down to the library or city hall today and look into it?"
She could hardly say no to that, so she didn't really try. When I got home that night, the house was spotless, and I could smell a hot meal cooking, but Bettany said she hadn't had time to leave the house, what with laundry, cleaning, and cooking.
With anyone else, I'd have been tough, but I was afraid to push her. I really didn't want another scene -- for my sake or Michael's. So I let it pass and made some sympathetic noises.
Just the same, I sure as heck didn't want or need a housewife. I was quite content on my own and enjoyed the small amount of effort it took to keep my place clean and my tummy full, so that evening I sketched out a to-do list for getting Bettany (and Michael) out of my house.
At work the next day, I called city hall, filled in some of the details, and jotted them onto a sheet of notepaper.
When I gave Bettany the information, I expected her to be appreciative, but she took it like an eviction notice, a rejection. A, by now predictable, scene followed. No throwing of objects this time, but plenty of shouting and accusations. I left the house while she was in mid-yell and went for a walk.
I wound up at a coffee shop, reading a tabloid. Baseball scores, political peccadilloes, sensational stories.
Some guy had been found rotting in his house two weeks after his death. As a woman who (usually) lived alone, this was one of my nightmares: what if no one noticed I had died? But this guy had been married, and they said the circumstances looked suspicious. They were looking for a young woman accompanied by a preschool boy.
The hair on my neck stood on end, and I ran to the bathroom to vomit.
The Talking Heads were playing.
No visible means of support and you have not seen nuthin' yetFor previous entries, visit my Fiction Friday page.
Everything's stuck together
I don't know what you expect staring into the TV set
Fighting fire with fire