How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


My FIFTH Blogoversary Gala

Join in. All welcome. There’s plenty for everyone. Make yourselves comfortable; a server will hand you a glass of champagne in a second.

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Blogging friends, neighbors, countrymen…

I’ve enjoyed FIVE fabulous years with you, far beyond anything I might have imagined. Some friendships have stuck from the beginning. Wow! Five years. Who would have thought? Not me. Without YOU to read,  comment, and share, I would not be here now.

Many, many thanks for your help, support, and stories shared. I’ve learned new things from each of you and am grateful for the community spirit here. How dare anyone whisper bloggers are not real people. You are all real to ME and I am grateful for your friendships.

* * *

I have another announcement.

School’s out. My grand kids need me and I won’t fib. I also have a pile of unfinished writing I need to attend to and hope to take care of both. See you in September? Have a wonderful summer!  Mw-aah.  XX

I will still be available to anyone with whom I’ve made previous arrangements. and can still  be reached through my  Contact tab—especially if I should I win a lottery.

Comments are currently turned off. Sorry.

Happy 4th of July to my American friends, Monday!


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More Brigus and Petty Harbour

The weather had become humid and heavy with rain since before lunch.

Francis said we were on our own for supper, but I recalled the plans had been changed because we wouldn’t see whales and puffins per our itinerary. This last, added tour was too late in the season. An e-mail notice had mentioned we’d be treated to dinner instead. I asked Mary to dig up the email on her iPad. As we read it, Francis retracted his announcement. Another free meal. Yay.

Before we leave the little town of Brigus, I have a couple more interesting tidbits. We walked down the road to Brigus Tunnel. Granddaddy Abram Bartlett (to Captain Bob) had this tunnel built to avoid a busy, crowded harbor. This accommodated his trips to Labrador for summer fishing and to offload his catch without crowding when he returned.

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Once we walked through the tunnel, this is what awaited where Abram unloaded his ship.:

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On our way back to the bus, we came upon these yellow flowers. According to Norm, a member of our party, they are from the snapdragon family: called butter and eggs. The more I looked at them, the more the name fit.

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Once on the bus, Francis popped in a DVD about the resettlement from Paradise Bay. The government at work again. Sigh.

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/politics/resettlement-program.php

Return to Paradise for the Pomeroy Family:

Petty Harbour:

I took a gazillion photos. It’s a small world as they say. We met some people from Sarnia vacationing in Petty Harbour in a house off the harbor. Two couples in our group were also from the same city and soon all ended up chatting together.

It’s a pretty place, but we didn’t see any fish arriving nor fisherman unloading them.

Storage containers each hold 2,000 pounds of cod.They are about a yard square and so well insulated, our guide bought an old one, cut a door in it, put on a peaked roof, and his dog is comfy all winter.

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Petty Harbour Quick Facts:

  • Images of Petty Harbour
  • Gordon Pinsent made many movies here
  • Orca the Killer Whale movie made here
  • Alan Doyle (singer, actor) was in movie in his hometown Petty Harbour
  • Houses along Petty Harbour Road are more upscale, modern, vinyl-covered
  • Few houses in wood
  • Ziplining: See here and here popular (off the cliffs, Petty Harbour Road)
  • Fastest growing area
  • Building a city within a city: Costco, huge theatre
  • Areas set aside for seniors’ centers and industrial areas
  • All dairy farms around here
  • Grow cattle corn because too expensive to bring in feed
  • No railway to supplement the hay
  • Sign on the way to St. John’s: Irish Loop Drive (because it reminded them of home)
  • Reminds you why the Irish settled on the coast = looked so much like home)
  • ABC = Anyone but Conservatives (last ruling government)

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* * *

On the Lighter Side:

Mary felt her husband’s hands wander over her body. “Oh, John. I didn’t know you were feeling so romantic.”

“Go to sleep, Mary. I was looking for the remote.”

* * *

Next time: Cape Spear and Signal Hill

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page

 


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Lunch and a Visit to Brigus

Lunch awaited at Skipper Ben’s Restaurant in Cupids, which is also a bed and breakfast for only a couple people at a time. Francis says he’d stayed overnight in the past. The food had been pre-ordered and arrived hot soon after we were seated. How the cook managed, I cannot imagine. The kitchen was teeny-tiny. I like a large island or lots of counter space to work on, neither of which were evident. If I hadn’t checked out the washrooms, I wouldn’t have seen the work space.

We entered through the cute side door with a plaque. The front of the building was on the other side.

Inside there were just enough tables to accommodate our reduced group of 22. Three people left on Day 7 and 6 on Day 8).

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Mary and I had been too busy talking and I forgot to take pictures of the food. We both ordered fish cakes and vegetables but didn’t taste the cod for the mashed potatoes that glued the cakes together. A fellow across from me, smiled from ear to ear, smacked his lips and said in a loud voice, “You can’t even taste any potato in these fish cakes.” I wonder if he was being facetious.

Dessert: a crepe wrapped around fruit with  phony whipped cream. I’m glad I don’t take to sweets.

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The Town of Brigus

  • Best blueberry pies anywhere
  • A popular tourist spot now
  • Quiet, quaint, colorful, and well-kept

Captain Bob Bartlett was raised in Brigus, enjoyed fishing, sealing and exploring. During one of his expeditions, his ship, the Karluk became stuck in the ice. When he realized his ship had to be given up, he played all his classical records one by one and threw each into the sea. The last one he played was the Funeral March.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63B2y5RxbNs (a song about his adventures – Enjoy)

He traveled 700 miles to Alaska by sledge, obtained another ship, returned in five months and saved his crew. He lost not one man.

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The Bartlett family lived in Hawthorne Cottage between 1885 and 1946. Due to his many expeditions, and other as a child, I can’t imagine how much time he spent living in this house.

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Named for the hawthorn trees planted around the house.

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John Leamon Museum (Could not find much information about it.)

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Brigus Seafaring Families Plaque:

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Some of the delightful street names in Brigus:

Irishtown Road South Street Conception Bay Highway
Magistrate’s Hill Beaver Road Station Road
Jane’s Hill Forge Road Quigley Bay
Barrach’s Road Chapel Lane Spacklin Lane
Church Hill Station Line Keating Road
Vindicator Lane School Street Ridge Road
Water Street Blueberry Place The Old Road

* * *

On the Lighter Side:

A guy comes into a bar and orders three beers, goes to a table, and drinks them one after another. One night, he orders only two and the bartender asks if one of his brothers died.

“Oh, no. I gave up drinking.”

* * *

Next on July 1st – More Brigus and Petty Harbor

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page


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#BlogBattle – Week 63

Prompt: Hero

Words:  1461

Genre: Drama

Check out the rules:  https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/

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Image by Pixaby. No  attribution required.

Butterfingers

The family reunion lurched into full swing.

Will Bailey’s back dug into the battered picnic table Stick-like joints folded elbows to knees like a grasshopper enjoying the sun. They unfurled with a snap, a closed fist smashing a wayward volleyball from shattering his head. Crack.

“Wow. Did you see that, guys?” A crimson-cheeked fat kid raced forward, slack-jawed.

Perspiring teenage boys and girls milled around Will, anxious hands patted his back and shoulders. A hand still at half-mast, his booming laugh replaced a self-satisfied grin. ”It’s nothing. Back to your game boys and girls. Which side is winning again?”

The boys, rowdy and energetic, high-fived. A reedy boy leaned forward. “I can’t believe the girls whooped that wild ball so hard, Uncle Will.” Adam’s apple bobbing, he smirked at his friends. “Surprise. Surprise.”

A raven-haired girl fought her way through the throng and crossed her arms. “The girls? It only takes one, buster, and that would be me—Penny.” She poked a thumb into her chest. “Little old me.” Hoisting herself to full height, the curvy girl stood no more than four feet from naked heels to the top of her head. The boys snickered and shook their heads.

“You do have a mean serve, girlie. Maybe you’ll learn to straighten it before you kill somebody?” He pointed at his nephew. Intermittent gasps sputtered in the crowd. A couple girls whispered, heads bowed, stealing glances at his hand. “When’s the last time you hit the ball half that hard?” He churned the air with open palms. “Go on and play fair.” The boys shuffled off elbowing each other. Will folded his gangly form once more, eyes closed, face to the sun.

Hot and limp from chasing the ball, someone threw a T-shirt heavenwards. “Last one in lake is a loser.” Bare feet pounded the sand, churning it in all directions as they passed organizers filling the park’s stone barbeque surfaces with meat. The sound and smell of sizzling burgers already worked on their appetites. Soggy tees soared like damaged birds only to nose-dive with a thump. Unzipped shorts followed, marking a wide trail to water’s edge. Dozing sunbathers and excited children at play in the sand slowed the rambunctious flock. They wove in and out around them, pushing and tugging, shouting and squealing at the top of their lungs.

Will ran a hand through thinning white hair and smiled. He dropped his hand and studied it. After all these years, he still wasn’t used to it. He turned with a start at the light hand on his shoulder. “I didn’t hear you come up, Josh.”

The reedy nephew pleated himself on the bench beside him. “Dad’s always saying I look more like you than him. Weird, isn’t it.”

Will studied the seventeen-year-old, a corner of his mouth twitching. “Seems so. A hardship, is it?”

“No-o. A comment—is all.” Josh toed the patch grass. “Good to see you. It’s been a long year since the last family picnic. We never see you.”

“You know I can’t drive, right? Can’t afford one of them fancy cars, neither. Even if I had a license, they probably wouldn’t renew it at my age. Something on your mind, Josh?”

“Not really. Wanted to talk without interruption. How you been keeping?” He squinted over his shoulder, breathing in through his nose. “I’m famished. Given the opportunity, I’d eat a whole cow not just a couple burgers. Why does food always smell so good outside?”

Will chuckled, pushing hands against the bench to rearrange his lean rump on the hard surface. “Fresh air and exercise, I suppose. I’m good for an old geezer and the shape I’m in. Thanks for asking. What I’ve missed—can’t lie—was playing sports and the freedom to do as I pleased.” He lowered reflective sunglasses to peer over the top. “Is that your mother bringing food?”

Changed to a dry Tee, Josh rubbed his chest and belly. “That’s mom. Bless her.”

“Son, my hat—is it under the table? The dang sun is frying my brains like steak.” The high-pitched clang of an iron dinner bell pealed in the distance. “Thanks. That feels better already.” He raised a hand in salute to Josh’s mother.

“Why don’t we move you and your chair into the shade? High noon. It’s hot enough to fry bacon on my nose.”

“About time you put your hat back on and moved out of the sun. Can’t chat—don’t want a stampede. The young ones are over eager now the food’s ready.” She chuckled, a buttery sound. “Later, Will.” Plates smacked down, she was gone.

“More comfortable in the chair, Uncle Will? Let’s eat.” Half the burger disappeared in one bite. He chewed, a look of bliss on his face. A raspy noise like someone coughing up sandpaper forced his eyes open. “What?” He bit off another hunk.

“It’s a pleasure to watch you eat. I used to put it away too when I was your age. Don’t want much nowadays.”

“Why do you come to these reunions? Nobody pays attention to you. I don’t even know half my cousins—there’s new ones every year—you can’t know many. The older people are busy cooking, serving and packing up again. Why do you bother to come so far to sit ignored?”

Will chewed and looked away. “You’re all the family I have. No fun living alone in the retirement home. Still enjoy counting the additions to this huge family every year. My friends are gone or dying. I’ll be gone soon, too.”

“Are you sick? Why don’t you live with us? Never understood why you didn’t in the first place. You wouldn’t be lonely in our house. Guaranteed.” Josh leaned over the plate in his lap, earnest brown eyes studying the man he wanted to know.

“Your father has badgered me for years. Can’t do it, son.”

“Why not? You’re Dad’s only brother. Why the heck not?” A crimson river of heat rushed from his chest, over his face, to the roots of his pale blond brush-cut.

“You have your hands full with six aunts and cousins, never mind your mother’s side of the family. I have good 12-hour care. I’m good.” A quick wink and he speared a forkful of potato salad. “You’re right. Food tastes a hundred times better outside.”

Josh dove into the salad and bit into the second burger, thoughtful, eyes assessing his uncle. He swallowed and cleared his throat. “How come no one talks about what happened to you? I want to know, but Dad always makes excuses. I’m not talking about idle curiosity, understand?”

“Nothing to tell.”

“You’re a hero and nobody talks about it. I don’t understand.”

Will heaved a deep breath, wiping his face and hands with a crumpled paper serviette. Like I said, nothing to tell, but if I can answer, I will. What do you want to know?”

Josh grinned scraping together the last of the salad on his plate. “Easy one to start. Why does no one call you Bill Bailey? Why only Will?”

The coughing-sandpaper sound began low and grew in volume. “It’s nothing to do with the song. I was named William, shortened it to Will by my teens. Once I heard about the song, I made it clear my name was Will and nothing else. I’ve had the song hummed enough times to lose my sanity.”

The boy slapped the folded paper plate against his knee, then grew serious. What happened to your legs? Dad says you never married.”

It was the Vietnam War, son. I drove a jeep over a landmine… End of story. About not marrying—why sentence a young woman to a life of caretaking when she can do better?” A shadow of sadness flickered across his face and vanished. He handed the half-finished plate to the boy. “I’m done.”

“And the finger? What happened to the top half? Do you mind if I ask?” Nervous hands slid up and down his thighs.

This time, Will honked when he laughed. His nephew heaved his webbed sun chair closer, exhaling.

“That’s a funny story—stupid if you want to know. About 20 years ago, I worked a table saw, moved the wrong way, put my hand out to catch my balance, and well, lobbed it off. Passed out—don’t know how long. Afterwards no one could find it.” He shook his head. “Dumb accident.”

Neither of them spoke for long minutes.

“I want you to promise you will come visit more often and stay over a few nights.”

 

Once Josh’s friends knew him better, they liked hanging around Will. No one noticed the wheelchair after a while. His habit of stabbing the air with a finger when excited was another matter.

The End

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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The First English Settlement and Oil

The day began with a disappointing fog, thick as porridge and I worried about the drive. On the bright side, the road wasn’t as winding as the previous day, but visibility wasn’t good. Soon, a fine drizzle drifted in. Mary and I weren’t in the front seat anymore, but back a couple seats. Yay.

The bus stopped in Whitbourne at Robyn’s Donut Shop for hot coffee and a stretch. It’s similar to Timmy’s in Ontario, but this establishment was takeout only. Two interesting travelers were pushing off as we exited. I wanted to ask about their biking adventures but didn’t want to run after them, nor come across as a stalker.

First English settlement

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In 1610 John Guy arrived from England with 39 men and meager supplies. They wintered in Cupids Cove (Plantation) and began building houses. The area was rocky and covered with mulberry, pine, spruce and fir trees. He returned to England the following year and came back with 16 women. Building started in earnest and more settlers followed. He attempted to establish trade with the Beothuks. In 1613 he left again never to return but became a Member of Parliament in his native land.

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We moved on to Cupids Legacy Centre, a building chock full of old collections, which took me down memory lane. Here’s a look inside and out.

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Some displays inside Legacy Centre:

Offshore Oil Quick Facts:

  • Hibernia 315 km from St. John’s
  • 200 miles offshore
  • 240 feet high / 224 meters
  • 33 meters higher than Calgary
  • Pumping 120,000 barrels a day
  • Cost $6 Billion
  • 1985 accord signed. Government wanted full control.
  • Why should Newfoundland be treated any different from Alberta?
  • Argued until PM Mulroney got in. Gulf oil bowed out.
  • Most oil fields have around a 20-year lifespan
  • Latest News June 17, 2016

Hebron Facts:

  • Hebron Project
  • Drilling begun 1981
  • 4 major fields: ExonMobil, Suncor, Statoil, Nalcor
  • Coming in a year or so (after 2015)
  • Contains 1.2 billion barrels of oil
  • Good for 20 years or more
  • Negotiated better deals than Alberta
  • Province gets 1%
  • After all costs paid, Newfoundland gets super royalty over the 30% they usually get
  • Funds go into general coffers
  • Hope a fund is set up for renewable resources

~ * ~

On the Lighter Side:

A young couple who tried to conceive met their old parish priest while walking down the street.

“How’s the family?”

“None. Can’t”

“I’m on my way to Rome. I’ll light a candle for you.”

Five years later, Mary was heavily pregnant when she met the priest again.

“I see it’s all working out for you.”

“Don’t talk, Father. Shortly after you said you were going to Rome and would light a candle, I had twins. After, I had another one. Now again.

“Good. Good. By the way, where is John?”

“He’s gone to Rome to blow out the candle.”

* * *

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page


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Bonavista

 

Mary and I won the daily draw for the front seat kitty-corner from the driver. We face huge front windows—a panoramic view—three steps above Shawn, our driver. On our way to Bonavista, the road had wide curves. He slowed, careful not to tip the bus. I hoped tilting too far wasn’t possible.

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I found the ride awfully bumpy for a one-year-old modern bus. Something wrong with the suspension, I wondered? “Mamma,” I said when we hit a particular curve. Said is a weak description. I believe I yelped or screeched loud enough for the driver and our tour guide across the aisle to hear. Shawn’s eyes caught mine in the rearview mirror, a wicked grin on his face. “These aren’t government roads,” he said.

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I hadn’t noticed there were no signs anywhere warning of sharp turns or anything else.

Bonavista Quick Facts:

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  • Rivals St. John’s in early days of fishery
  • Tourism is big here
  • Dungeon Provincial Park is a phenomena
  • Small puffin colony established at the top of the cliffs
  • Lots of cemeteries on both sides of the road
  • Cemeteries: Anglican (large one); Pentecostal, United, Jehovah’s Witness, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, more and some new ones
  • Nine windmills produce enough energy for 600 houses

A fishing vessel, Ryan’s Commander, ran into a storm in 2004 after dropping off fish. Empty, it capsized. Four crew were saved; two lost their lives. A helicopter had to release one survivor to the ocean because he would have smashed into the cliff. This was also at night. The pilot thought he saw a glimmer. One of the survivors was on the cliff—the glimmer was his watch—saved him.

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At Dungeon Provincial Park, we stopped for photo opportunities.

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What you want to know about puffins:

  • Puffins: Images
  • Puffins can dive 200 feet to get a capelin
  • Their nest has two chambers, one for the chick, the other as the lavatory
  • They mate for life
  • Live for 20 year and do not come on shore
  • Come to land to nest in June when capelins come
  • Leave chicks on the cliff
  • Literally throw the chicks into the water at night. Use moon as guidance system.
  • They cannot lift off land
  • 500 young birds landed on pavement
  • Puffin Patrol has saved 3,000 – 4,000 puffins
  • No longer throw puffins in air because black seagulls wait and attack them
  • Saved, recorded, and thrown into the water instead

The cod au gratin was dry at lunch, a little better in the center. My disappointment overpowered anything positive. Wow. The salad was generous with raspberry dressing on the side. A large slice of fresh white bread and butter accompanied the lunch. The coffee was delicious and the service great!

After lunch, the Interpretation Center (a self-guided tour) was opened just for our tour group.

A legendary appetite:

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Ryan Premises National Historic Site of Canada: only the dining room had furniture and crystal glasses on shelves. Almost every room had a fireplace. It was built in 1869 and has shifted at least a couple inches on the side = cracked walls and sagging stuck doors. I must learn to check pictures have turned out before assuming the click took when I snapped a picture. I am missing all the pictures taken in this house.

While we waited for the group to congregate at the bus afterwards by mid-afternoon, Shawn said the temperature had soared to 26 degrees Celsius. He received a phone call shortly afterwards and crossed the road. A car stopped; he handed a package to a young lady passenger. On his heels beside the sidewalk, they had an animated conversation for several minutes. I paid no attention to the driver. Oh, the wonders of the 21st century.

We passed a church with a wedding in progress, but the bride and groom were not in sight.

Headed to the hotel, Francis popped a Daniel O’Donald music DVD for our ride back. By 4:30, we were about a half-hour from the hotel but stopped at an Ultramar Gas station for drinks and whatnot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_KmYHaf58Q

Mary and I had supper at the hotel dining room with Ann, who was traveling alone with our tour. She’s so reedy, a light breeze might blow her over. Our eyes bulged when she ordered a seafood platter: 8 mussels, shrimps, crab, and rice. She also enjoyed a large glass of red wine.

Mary chose linguini with vegetables, but I had little appetite and chose Caesar salad with chicken. I can’t believe the truckload of croutons in this dish.

* * *

On the lighter side:

A guy calls the hospital to asked about Sammy Jones, a patient in Room 302. “Sure, connect me to the Nurses’ Station.”

“He’s eaten three meals today, and doing fine. If he keeps improving, he will be discharged Wednesday. Are you family?”

“No, not family. I’m a friend—no, I’m Sammy Jones in 302. Nobody tells me anything!”

* * *

Next on June 17th – The First English Settlement

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page


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#BlogBattle – Week 62

Prompt:  Photograph

Genre:  Drama

Check out the rules:  https://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

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Image by Pixaby. No  attribution required.

Broken

Shoulders curled, Marlene dropped a wobbly chin. “How has it come to this?” Leaning back into the kitchen counter, her voice dropped to a whisper.

“Shocking and a long time coming, but I’m not surprised—are you? Hey, this is a nice place. ” Alice peeked into the living room.

Marlene’s chin shot up, brown eyes bulging, accusing. “What are you saying? Not surprised.”

“Easy, sweetie. You have to admit Charlie has been mutating for years—even before you thought he might be fooling around.” Alice flicked pensive, Barbie-Doll lashes over her girlfriend’s anaemic complexion. Child-like hands dropped to narrow hips.

“Mutating.” She sniffed. “Good word. In equal parts, I’m tired of thinking about him and can’t stop. If I wasn’t eligible for the government pension… If my son hadn’t found this place and moved me in to help cut expenses… I don’t deserve this.”

“Nobody does, sweetie.” Alice reached for her sturdier friend. “The kids are grown and making their own way. You will too. The worst is over.” The women hugged; neither spoke. Alice pulled back. “Tea? Sit.”

“Remember the first little house we bought. Charlie was so house proud. Tore down and put up walls, painted, cleaned. And then… Marlene’s mouth quivered. “The babies kept coming and a prouder father you’ve never seen until…” Resolute tears drifted to her chin though she swabbed them with a shirtsleeve. “When did he begin to resent them? Us?”

“Hey. Change of subject—what did the discovery process shake out?” Alice grinned and helped herself to a sip of tea, pushing back into the kitchen chair rails.

“He’s ignoring e-mails, letters, and telephone calls. My lawyer says a court order will force him to hand over financials. Don’t know if he’s hired his own yet. Did I tell you Breann found a wad of bills stuffed into a jar in the basement rafters? I should have pocketed all of it.”

“What?” Alice set the mug on the kitchen table with a thwack. “You didn’t? Not like you—what about for decent groceries for you and Breann?”

“I mock-handed him the jar after I lifted all but $100.00 wrapped around strips of newsprint—I’m no saint.” She snorted into a palm. “Thought he’d have a stroke. Reminded him the stove didn’t work, the furnace needed replacing—it hadn’t worked for three winters—the ensuite toilet didn’t work… Thought he’d hit me. Grabbed the jar hard enough to break but didn’t, and slammed out of the house.”

“I’m your best friend. You never said. What an actress. I wondered why we met in spurts, in coffee shops—how did you stay warm?”

“Electric heaters. Expensive, but I wasn’t paying the stupid bills. The kids left one by one before the first winter was half over. Breann was the last.”

“What if he skips town?” Alice paced the narrow kitchen, her short legs stabbed at the floor like chopsticks at an empty plate.

Marlene shook her head. “He’s hanging on to the house, though it’s falling down in pieces.”

The other woman stopped, hands in her hair. “I’m amazed you hung in so long. What made you cave?”

Marlene rose to plug in the kettle again. Back turned, she shook her head, running plump, ringed fingers over the electrical cord. The silence stretched until the kettle’s noisy heating element sputtered. “I died a little after every lie and every calculated promise till I didn’t recognize him anymore, or me. The screaming fights—you don’t want to know.”

“I knew you were having problems—doesn’t every couple—why didn’t you say? Did you talk to anyone?”

“Yeah. The oldest, Cathy, the one with all the kids. Forcing my children out was the worst. I wanted to leave, but where could I go—no money of my own? Remember when Charlie, Jr. came out? I told you, right?”

Alice nodded, fading copper curls bounced around her creased, waif-like face.

“That man went crazy roaring this was no son of his. Tore up the house, broke everything in his path if it wasn’t already broken.”

“But Junior is his splitting image. What did he have in mind? Send the boy back?” Alice cackled and slapped her knee.

“Worse. My fault, he said. Wished my boy had never been born.” Eyes dull, bruised half-moons sagging underneath, Marlene stared into the distance. “Broke young Charlie’s heart.

“Computers saved me. I took classes at the library. Printed out reams of his chats and he still lied to my face. To. My. Face. My kids were gone, nothing in the house worked, only a microwave for frozen dinners. I’d had it. With only the clothes on my back, I took a cab to Cathy’s and her houseful. Where else could I go?”

“I’m starving. Anything to eat? You’re no mouse. What took you so long?” Marlene stuck her head in the fridge. “Not much here. Let’s order pizza.”

Lips compressed, Marlene gathered bleached hair, snapping on the elastic from her wrist. “Avoiding temptation. Sorry.”

“Oh? Expecting young Charlie for supper?” Alice opened cupboards till she found dinner plates.

“Don’t know. We’re free spirits. Wine?” Not waiting for an answer, she sauntered into the living room. Alice found wine glasses and pulled out her cell for pizza delivery.

 

“So, how is it on your own—I mean with Charlie, Junior?” Alice grabbed the wine bottle on her way to the living room.

“Fine. You bet I’m mad, though. This isn’t the life I’d pictured.” She snatched the remote and plopped into a chair. “CNN, okay?”

“Wait. Your couch, right? Coffee table. How’d you get them out?” Alice appraised the room and chortled.

“He changed the locks, but the kids and I broke in while he was at work. Took what I needed.”

Alice smiled wide. “Oh-oh. Trouble’s coming. Does the lawyer know?” She leaned to fill her friend’s offered glass.

“Funny enough, I have his blessing. No one suggested we were splitting up before I left. He locked me out. Simple.”

Alice poured what little was left in the bottle and tossed it off. I have a couple bottles in my overnight bag. “Girls’ night. Wait there.” She grabbed her bag by the front door.

“Use the back bedroom on the left, second door.” She heaved herself out of the chair, followed Alice down the hall, and gave her a tour of the rest of the house. Another bottle relieved of its cork, they settled back in front of the television.

Alice swung round as if struck by lightning. “Shh. Turn it up.”

“What?” Marlene sloshed wine over the back of a hand in her haste. She licked it up and thumbed the volume button until the sound blared too loud. She thumbed it down. “No way.” Mesmerized by the image on the screen, she tore her attention away and centered on her friend. Tears obscured her vision though she made no sound. Mascara streaked her cheeks. Alice set down her glass. Grabbing Marlene’s hand, she unpeeled her fingers from the goblet and set it down, too.

“Where’d they get that photograph? Wait. Cathy took it of her father on our 25th anniversary. I thought she’d burned it.” Marlene wavered and would have sunk to the floor had Alice not pushed her into the sofa. Mouth flapping without words, she turned her attention to the television screen.

The words tumbled out of the excited news reporter as if he had to tell it all in five seconds.

This just in. Police stopped a suspicious driver on old Highway 99 as his car wandered from one ditch to the other.  No additional traffic on the road at the time. Incoherent when apprehended, his blood alcohol level was well below the limit. On checking the car for drugs, a dead body—not yet in rigor mortis—was heaped like rubbish in the trunk of this man’s Mustang.

A close-up of Charlie in his best suit filled the screen, hair fuller by six years and eyes clearer and present.

“Crap. What about our divorce?”

Alice pursed her lips. “And your assets? He’s given you the shaft again, hasn’t he?”

“No way. I want a divorce before his case goes to trial.”

“Call your lawyer. Now.”

The End

I have been challenged by  Gary here, another #BlogBattler, to  capture the wife’s POV following Week 61 found here.

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

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