Saturday, April 23, 2016

Chapter 11 (4/23/16)

Short post #2 for the week!  Enjoy :)

I was out of the house by 10 the next morning, ready for the 3 and a half hour drive down to my parents’ house.  I was ready for the drive, and to be out of Kevin’s house, but I was not ready to see my family.  Needless to say, I didn’t speed on my way.  Sorry to the people behind me!
My mom didn’t waste any time.  I made it about 2 steps inside when she said, “Well, you look exhausted.”
I bit my tongue to keep from saying, “That’s because I was getting off repeatedly until the wee hours of the morning,” and instead just said, “It was a long drive, Mom.”
She gave me a look that clearly meant she didn’t believe me.  I sighed and dragged my stuff to my old room.  When I opened the door, I saw that it had been repainted, had new furniture, and had all new linens.  “Mom!” I called down the hall.  “What happened to my room?”
I heard her footsteps, then she appeared in the doorway.  “Well it’s not really your room anymore, is it?” she asked.  Then she looked slightly horrified.  “Jenna, you’re not going to end up moving back in here, are you?”
“No, Mom!” I exclaimed, exasperated.  “Why the hell would I do that?  Especially now, after you said it like that?”
“Well, I don’t know,” she said.  “I moved back in with my parents after my first divorce.”
I stared at her blankly, making the good choice to not say any of the things that popped into my head after that.  Instead I just said, “Well, you could have warned me.”
“I’ll keep that in mind for next time!” she replied cheerfully, turning and heading back down the hallway.  I rolled my eyes at her back and got settled.  I took longer than I needed to, just because I wasn’t ready to face my mom again yet. 
Once I emerged, though, she was fine.  She was her normal self, asking about work and my friends and not bringing up my divorce.  When my dad got home from work, he hugged me and didn’t say a word about my divorce.  I liked it better that way. 

The next day, we completed our usual Christmas Eve traditions: Christmas Eve lasagna, a movie, and driving around looking at Christmas lights.  I was disappointed with the lights this year.  It seemed like every year the displays were getting less and less exciting.  After we made our way home, we played several games of Yahtzee and drank wine until bedtime.  Not a super exciting Christmas Eve, but it’s what we do every year, and it was nice to have something be normal.
In the morning, my dad and I made breakfast together.  While we were cooking, he said, “You know, Jenna, if you need anything…”
“I know, Dad,” I assured him.  “I don’t need anything right now.  I just need to find a new place to live.”
“Do you need money?  Do you need help with a down payment?”  I bit my lip and shook my head.  Help with a down payment could get me into a nicer house faster, but I really, really wanted to do this on my own.  I felt like I had something to prove.
“No, but thank you,” I said firmly. 
My dad regarded me carefully, taking his eyes off the omelet he’d just flipped.  “Okay, well if you change your mind, you know where to find us.”
“Yeah,” I said, cracking a smile.  “I know where you live!”  My dad laughed too, and we went back to focusing on breakfast. 
After breakfast, we opened gifts.  My parents were more generous than usual, probably out of pity or something.  I made out pretty well, and I wasn’t mad about it.  Then my mom told me my choices were clean or get out of her way.  As tempted as I was to just get out of her way, I helped her clean while my dad got the turkey in the oven for dinner.
“Who’s coming?” I asked, as I ran a dust rag over the windowsill. 
“Just your grandparents and Uncle Jim,” my mom said.  “Your cousin is staying in North Carolina for Christmas this year.”  My cousin Allie moved to North Carolina 4 years ago and seemed to come back for Christmas about every other year.  Then she frowned at me.  “Don’t forget the baseboards, Jenna Marie,” she scolded. 
“I won’t forget the baseboards, Mother,” I replied, rolling my eyes when my back was turned.  Did she think I made it through 18 years of living with her only to forget how she liked the house cleaned? 
“I know you’re rolling your eyes,” she commented blithely. 
I laughed.  “Me?  I’d never.” 
Now it was my mom’s turn to laugh. “Shut up and dust the damn baseboards, Jenna,” she responded, still laughing.  Just to be a pain, I finished the rest of the dusting first while my mom rolled her eyes. 
By the time it was time for me to shower and get ready, I was anxious.  I was not looking forward to seeing my extended family and fielding questions about my divorce.  They were nosy, so I was sure it would be the main attraction of Christmas dinner conversation.  In my head, I rehearsed answers that were vague, brief, and at least somewhat polite. 
I felt fairly relaxed and prepared by dinnertime.  But I was not prepared for the first question my grandmother asked.  “Where’s Kevin?”  Of all the questions I’d imagined, this was not one of them.
“Um, what do you mean?” I asked. 
“Your husband, sweetheart.  Is he here?” she repeated, looking at me like I was crazy. 
It took me several seconds to process this, but then I looked at my mom, whose face was red.  “You didn’t tell them?” I hissed. 
“I’m sorry,” she whispered back, looking pained.  I glared at her in disbelief.  “I didn’t know what to say to them and then I honestly just forgot.”
“You didn’t know what to say?” I parroted.  I was pissed.   But, the logical part of my brain woke up and alerted me to the fact that 3 of my extended family members were standing in front of us, looking very confused, so I reeled in my anger.  I looked back at my grandma and said, “He’s not here.  We’re divorced.  I’m sorry we didn’t tell you.  I don’t want to talk about it.”  Then I turned on my heel and hightailed it into the kitchen.


  1. Jenna is so immature and self-absorbed. It is so painful to read about her.

    1. Based on what??? If you're gonna complain, back it up. I have exchanges like the one she had with her mom all the time and I've been out of the house for ages. I could seriously relate to some of this Olivia. It made me laugh a bit. ;-)

    2. Just to clarify I mean painful on a good way. I'm always impressed with the way this author can express different voices.

    3. I don't see that at all. I think her response to her very painful divorce is very appropriate actually. Do you just expect her to not have feelings and act like nothing has happened? I'd like to see how you react in crisis.

  2. i don't agree with the immature and self-absorbed part but I also have a hard time reading about her for some reason...not sure why though! I still love your writing and your blog!! S.

  3. This blog is fabulous and real. I've had 2 different friends who have been divorced and it sounds so familiar to their stories