At the time it was a splurge for us—thirty dollars—but how could we resist? Turns out the shop owner had just polished its brass base that very morning before putting it in the shop window. "I knew it would go quickly," he said, chuckling. The shop is gone now. Still, I'm sure he'd be happy to know it's given us many years of joy. Every time I hear its version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," I have to smile.
I love this scene because it says a lot about my heroine, Donna's, relationship with her oldest child, twelve-year-old Mary. And since this book is all about the cause and effect of trust and love, it's a perfect scene to share with you.
I hope you enjoy it!
did you first start having sex?” Mary asks.
question causes me to swipe the nail polish brush over her pinky toe, and the
one beside it.
Day Eight of my lockdown. I was wrong to presume that time would pass quicker
if I painted my nails a different color each day. Initially I was able to
coerce both Mary and Trisha to join me for my daily pampering session, but
yesterday Trisha dropped out, despite the fact that the colour de jour was Disney Villain’s Cruella De Vil.
excuse: “Mommy, Cruella is a meanie. Besides, my toes miss being plain old
pink.” That was her way of telling me I need a new hobby.
I know it.
the subject at hand, I’m okay that today it’s just Mary and me. But let’s face
it, she’s asked a loaded question. Girls have sex so much earlier than we did.
(Well, than I did…) If I answer honestly, she may think I was a slut. Or a
Either way, I come off as a loser.
GPS security bracelet on my ankle, coupled with freshly painted toes on my left
foot, hobble me as I stumble over to the French doors that separate the sunroom
from the media room. I lied and told the kids the bracelet was from my doctor,
to strengthen my ankle against some imaginary tendonitis.
I have a bigger issue to fib about: Sex.
closing the doors so that my ten-year-old son, Jeff, and his pals, Cheever Bing
and Morton Smith, can’t listen in on our discussion. If anything can tear them
away from Minecraft, it’s a discussion about S-E-X by two people of the
opposite sex, especially if one is Jeff’s older sister.
settle back down onto the couch and try to collect my thoughts before speaking.
“I waited until I knew I was with ‘the one’.”
lying, of course. Who the hell knows a guy is “the one” when they’re seventeen?
Or twenty-seven, for that matter.
guess the proof I guessed wrong was when Carl left me with three kids.
yes, I presumed he was “the one.” What I didn’t count on was his also being Public Enemy Number One.
Mary tries to find meaning in my dodge, I add, “Why exactly do you want to
she pauses. “No reason. I was just wondering.”
is twelve going on twenty, and that freaks me out. Her quote-unquote steady is
a cute kid named Trevor Smith, the captain of the Hilldale Middle School
varsity basketball team. Right now, I want to break both his arms before he
does something to Mary that he’ll regret, and she will, too.
is different from love, Mary.”
Mom!” Mary rolls her eyes. “I know that!”
I’ll take your word for it. So, tell me: why are they different?”
stops to think about it. Then: “When you date, some guys only want to see how
far they can get with you. You know…they don’t really treat you as a person.”
She shakes her head sadly. “I don’t want to be that kind of girl.”
nod, but say nothing. Inside I’m doing a happy dance because she actually knows
I think it’s exciting when a boy—a guy—is
just as sweet on you as you are on him.”
can see that.” I try to keep my tone nonchalant as I drench a cotton ball in
polish remover and wipe off yesterday’s sparkly turquoise from Mary’s left
foot. “But love is different, at different ages and stages of life. And so is
dating. That’s why it’s smart to date more than one guy, so you have some other
experiences for comparison. The good guys always show respect, and never push you
to—to do anything that doesn’t seem right.”
you date a lot, before you met Dad?”
I’d dated some, but I wasn’t that experienced.” I’m sure the color of my cheeks
is almost as dark and purple as the polish I’m applying to her nails. “I was
twenty when we met, and I was in college. We married within a year, after I
you feel you should have waited?”
At least, not at the time.”
in hindsight, would you have liked to have had more experiences?”
I wish I had. It’s hard to know what’s right for you if you’ve had too few
experiences, or have only experienced one relationship that is not really
working for you.”
looks up sharply. “But Dad wasn’t wrong for you, was he?”
yet another trick question. “Dad has changed a lot over the years. Then again,
I have, too. “You see, Mary, not only must you both grow, you can’t have grown
Dad was gone all that time, did you grow apart?”
question rips a tiny tear in my heart. Does she suspect that Jack isn’t Carl
Stone, her father?
search her face for the answer. What I see is innocence and curiosity.
why I can answer her from the bottom of my heart. “To stay in love, you need
respect, and passion, and above all, trust. All the time I waited for him, I
trusted he would come home again.”
never really came home.
the other hand, Jack has proven to me he is worth the wait.
comprehension comes with a slow nod. “Mom, I think Trevor likes me as much as I
like him, but sometimes I catch him looking at other girls, and that makes me
jealous. So I don’t know about the ‘trust’ part. At least, not yet.”
find true love at such a young age is a rare thing. If it’s real, he’ll wait
until you grow into the woman you were meant to be, and he’ll grow up, too.
You’ll stay friends, but have other friends as well: people who make you laugh,
and who you can count on to be there for you, and who will prove their
friendship through trust. If he stays
your friend, he will be all that, and more.”
waits until her toes dry, then she kisses me on the cheek and murmurs, “Don’t
worry, Mom. I’m not ready for ‘that’ yet. I’m only asking because I know you’ll
always tell me the truth.”
The truth. Yes, it’s what
we strive to know.
pray she never learns the truth about her father.
she adds, “when the time comes, you’ll be the first to know.”
kisses me on the forehead then runs upstairs to do her homework.
And no matter
where that first boy hides, I will track him down.
© 2013 Josie Brown. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Author.
The Housewife Assassin's
Relationship Survival Guide
(Book 4 of The Housewife Assassin series)
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