Sixteen of Seventy Six
| Second Street
Danny ate his breakfast in silence and soon went and dressed. Soon enough he was off to look in on old Damion, leaving without a word. Andy cleaned up the breakfast mess and got dressed for the day. A sweater and jeans were sufficient for her plans for the day.
The tree was a top priority this morning. Andy started with stringing the lights, around the interior and ending up outside. Just like Charlie’s. She got a small ladder and completed the lighting to the top on to the ornaments, placing some deep inside and others out on the tips.
She thought for a moment and went to the kitchen. She got out an old kettle and poured some oil in and heated it. Popcorn, was what was on her mind. She made a big pot of it and as it cooled, she got out her sewing supplies and some cranberries and strung them in synchronicity, her mind elsewhere after such a mundane task.
It took her an hour or so but once done and applied to the tree was just a beautiful touch.
There was a knock on the door and Andy worried that it may be that creepy brother in law. She went to the door and opened it to find a nice surprise, her daughter, Charlene.
Oh honey, hello, so nice to see you as she hugged her girl. You’re just in time to help, if you have some time? We can chat as we decorate? Well sure mom, I’d be glad to help and do need to speak with you, Charlene said.
Charlene grabbed a few cookies from the table as she walked by. They went to the living room and Charlene said, oh mom, it is beautiful as she first viewed the tree! I just adore the popcorn and berries! The very same feeling of when we were kids. Love it!
Andy and Charlene, applied more ornaments as they chatted, mother to daughter.
Charlene said to Andy, I need to have surgery on my back. The doctors told me that I could become incontinent if I don’t have this surgery. I never want to be like that. Having my lover changing my diapers!
Mom, I am not sure what to do? Andy stopped what she was doing and took her daughters hands in hers. Honey this is no easy decision. You need to have more than one doctor’s opinion. This is serious stuff. Make sure you know exactly what it is you’re getting into. Be sure and fully committed about your decision leave no room for second guessing.
I’ll support your decisions and be there for you always. Just think things through and do not trust one person’s thoughts or abilities.
She promised she would and they continued with their work,
Charlene pilfering two more cookies from the dining table. Andy smiled and said, that’s why I have to make seven hundred and the two women laughed.
Andy had purchased some flocking and handed Charlene a can and told her how to go about applying it. Soon enough they had the tree snow covered just right., They finished and sat on the sofa admiring their work. Mom, it’s simply marvelous.
Charlene was aware of Andy’s situation with Danny and asked; anything better lately?
No sweetie, never will be but did I tell you I had a new friend?
Charlene, excitedly said spill the beans, smiling broadly.
Well a new guy moved next door and Danny of course invited him over for dinner.
Is he cute, Charlene asked? Andy relayed all the after-dinner conversations and the lunch and tree trimming becoming a bit more excited as the tale continued.
Charlene could see the excitement on her mom’s face. Then she proceeded to tell of Jim and how things were heating up between the two it was hard to see who was more excited.
They chatted a few more minutes and Charlene said she had to get home. They kissed each other and hugged goodbye. Andy watched as her daughter walked to her car. She looked next door for a sign of life but no luck.
Jim was upset by Danny’s treatment of Andy and his latest email asked if she wanted to stay with her husband.
She got on messenger and looked for Jim to talk to. He was there for her and they talked at length with him finally asking if she would like to leave Danny and come and live with him?
She was a bit taken aback by his offer and not quite sure what to say so she bluffed and told him she needed to think about it and they would need to talk further about it.
In the depths of her mind and heart she was exceedingly excited and hopeful! It seemed there was light at the end of the tunnel, a silver lining, blue skies after the storm. The storm her droll life had been for years.
Jim was a thousand miles away and she kept thinking of her children. They were all grown and didn’t really need her as young children do but she would miss them terribly.
Jim had assured her she could talk to them by telephone every day as well as keep in touch by computer. She decided she would have conversations with each of her sisters and children.
It would take time but she would feel better about it that way. Her son Roger would be the most skeptical due to his protective nature towards her. She would also have to be about for Charlene’s surgery if she went ahead with it. She could not leave her alone with that happening. Charlene would need help with everyday situations and mental support at least for awhile. The back surgery would require months of rehab.
Andy went about the rest of her day, cleaning house, baking more cookies, laundry, thinking about what to make for dinner. She knew she would probably have two more to feed with Danny at Damion’s house, he would probably come back with Danny and Don was sure to show up around dinner time.
She finished her chores and decided to go for a nice brisk walk. The air was cold and she bundled up, hat, scarf, gloves and heavy coat. She headed towards the park, enjoying being out of that house. She passed all the closed stores and came to the park.
There were a few mothers and young children building snowmen, making snow angels all giggling and just as happy as could be. Some others being pulled on saucers, enjoying the ride at mom’s expense. The perverts must have found it too cold to make their appearances today. She was glad for that and just enjoyed watching the children, remembering her own at that age and how she loved that time.
Andy stayed about forty minutes and headed back towards home. As she walked, ambulances and police cars went screaming by, sirens blaring, lights ablaze and again a few minutes later and more. This was just another day for this part of town and she thought nothing more of it.
She arrived back home and saw her house had not been set on fire so it was a good day she thought.
She headed for the kitchen and started putting together mac and cheese for dinner. She made her dish with loads of cheese, Parmesan, Cheddar, Mozzarella and even Asiago, some finely diced onion, steak sauce and topped with fresh cut tomato slices, baked to a bubbling golden finish.
She made some salad made with red leaf lettuce, scallions, mushrooms, handmade toasted croutons, hard boiled eggs, tomato, bean sprouts and topped with parmesan cheese.
The salad was almost a meal by itself, but with the three men around it would not be wasted. She would be fortunate to have some left for lunch tomorrow.
The phone rang as she waited for the casserole to bake. It was her sister Darla calling to give her a daily dose of feminine chatter. Andy took the opportunity with Danny not home to talk to Darla about Jim.
Darla was none surprised, knowing the history with Danny and his abusive ways. She had always tried to stay out of Andy’s business simply offering moral support and being family.
At least Andy had started the conversation and was glad about that. One down, several to go.
There was a knock on the door. It was Don, carrying a six pack of beer. Come on in and set a spell Andy told him. Danny should be home soon. He’s just up at Damion’s helping the old man with some furniture he wants to take to flea market.
Don sat and talked with Andy. They liked one another. Don was usually on Andy’s side in matters related to Danny, he knew what an idiot he could be and never pulled punches when telling him so.
The door opened and in came Danny, Damion in tow, the dogs going crazy. Is dinner ready he said? Not hello or how are you, not how was your day, just is dinner ready.
Don just shook his head but said nothing.
Damion said, Hello Andy, how are you? Are you enjoying the season?
Andy took Damion and Don by the arm and steered them to the living room to show them her handiwork. Damion, took a big gulp of air and said, oh how beautiful Andy! Did you do all this by yourself?
She grinned and patted him on the back. Don gave her a hug and said nice job, Danny still in the kitchen fussing with the dogs. Andy said come on guys let’s eat. I made a nice warm dinner for you. They sat and she served them a large portion except for Damion knowing his appetite was small. Salad served with an oil and vinegar dressing. Everyone dug in and were very pleased. All the food soon disappeared.