“Now, I want you to call Mom and have her over tomorrow night at eight o’clock. Turn on channel 13. I don’t want you to miss it, so for God’s sake have a decent TV in the house…one that won’t go off in the middle of the show.” He was remembering his last visit when they missed the final play of the football game.
“Wouldn’t be the first time in two years you decided to visit when you had to miss your Chicago Bears lose, poor boy.”
“Hey, that wasn’t just any game. It was the play off.”
“Well, the TV is okay, new since you’ve been here. What’s on at eight?” She was still a little miffed that he remembered his last visit by a football game.
“You’ll see. Boy,will you see.” Excitement rose in his voice. “Gotta run. I’ll call you right after the show. Don’t forget to invite Mom. I’m sure she won’t want to miss it. Bye.”
“Ted, you stupe, you didn’t even tell me…” She looked at annoyance at the phone that buzzed in her hand, “Jim, will you check the paper to see what’s on tomorrow night at eight”?” She glanced at Jim and Trish who were whispering with their heads together. His was still wet from the shower.
Jim looked up and shook his head, “You do it, Jen. I’m so tired I don’t even want supper.” He sat wearily on the sofa, stretched his legs out, and was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
Trish pulled off his shoes and covered him with an afghan. It was getting to be a way of life. He worked long hours and was hardly in the right frame of mind for conversation.
“Looks like it’s the two of us for supper again,” Jenny complained. “I don’t know how he keeps going. He hardly eats. I’ll dish up, Trish.”
“Not hungry. I was in late lunch today.” Trish was gone to her room in the next few seconds.
Jenny sighed and paused over Jim. She spoke to no one in particular. “Wish you would come from work some night and stay awake long enough to talk to me. Trish, don’t ever think you’re ready to marry right after high school. You miss so much in life.” She quickly glanced through the newspaper. “Why, it’s a quiz show. That’s why Ted wants me to call mother.Her face livened up and she glanced at Jim. He was fast asleep.”
The meal she had prepared went into the garbage can. She didn’t even feel guilty at throwing out the ‘leftovers.’ Heating it up in the oven dried it out anyway.
“What’s the use,” she ran her hand over her slender backside and stared out of the kitchen window where the philodendron climbed around the macrame hanger. It was very warm for October and she opened the window a little higher. Soon daylight saving time would change all this and it would be dark all evening. Tears welled in her eyes and she blew her nose loudly in a Kleenex tissue. Her face and long shapely legs might make her look young, but she felt old, used up. Jog your mind, clear your head, she said to herself. She felt like a house drudge, unappreciated and unglamorous. Life was passing her by. Then a thought struck her. “I need a party,” she said aloud. “Tomorrow night we’re going to have a party for Ted’s surprise. That’s what I need, some fun.” She felt the wine bring warmth and calm to her nerves and she took another sip. Tomorrow she would buy some gin and make martinis for the party. Maybe then she would be appreciated.