- It’s good to see you Bernice
- A handy blade
- I need a crowd to get lost in
TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #21
I pushed open the door and stood inside letting my eyes adjust to the lower light level that was in the restaurant. The hostess greeted me.
“Good evening, sir, how many in your party?”
“I’m not sure,” I answered, “I’m supposed to be meeting someone. Can I go in and look around?”
She nodded, and turned her attention back to the iphone that rested on her podium. Sticking my head around the divider that separated the dining area from the entry, I scanned the tables. There she was at the other side of the room. Waving, bouncing up and down in her chair, I expected her to yell or whistle. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. I crossed the room and slid into the chair opposite her; she took my hand.
“Thanks for coming, David.”
“It’s good to see you, Bernice. What’s up?”
“It’s Danielle. I think she’s…”
That was when the waiter showed up, demanding our immediate attention in order to recite a litany of menu items we could order that were not on the board. Bernice ordered a Bouillabaisse and a glass of Chardonnay. I settled on a long neck beer and a cheese Panini because it was the closest thing to a grilled cheese sandwich that I was going to get here.
As the waiter turned to leave and go bother another group of diners I took the time to look at Bernice. She was a handsome woman and I had been her second husband. Our relationship, while it lasted had been solely physical. We couldn’t keep our hands off one another. Danielle had been the product of her first marriage: her marriage to Chet.
She had enjoyed the company of two additional husbands since she had left me. Danielle was her only child and had been two years old during my brief marriage to her mother. That seemed to have been a long time ago.
Danielle was the reason I had stayed with Bernice for almost a year. After the shine, the gloss, of the physical relationship wore down we both realized that we had nothing in common. We had nothing to talk about, except for the fact that we both adored her daughter. I used to delight in taking Danielle down to the park to feed the ducks in the pond, or push her on the swing. She loved the swings, I think she would have happily spent her life on the swings. I had stayed in touch with Danielle but maintained only limited contact with her mother over the ensuing years.
“Are you listening to me, David?” Bernice trilled. “Did you hear what I just said?”
“Of course, I heard you,” I answered.
“Well, what should we do about it?”
“Do about what?”
“Honestly, you haven’t changed, and you’re such a shit, you’re not listening to me at all. I said that I think Danielle is pregnant.”
“Pregnant? Are you sure?”
“I’m pretty sure. A woman can recognize the signs, you know.”
“Have you asked her?”
“I was hoping you would do that.”
“Sure, I’ll come over this weekend and take her to the park. We still go to the park a lot. I’ll ask her then.”
Bernice and I didn’t speak to one another for the rest of the meal. When I left I drove downtown. I needed people. I needed to become just another anonymous face in a faceless throng of people. I needed a crowd to get lost in.
Instead I called Danielle.
“Hi, David.” She said when she picked up.
“Hey Danielle, I just had dinner with your mother. She tells me that congratulations might be in order.”
“Thanks, I’m about four months along.”
“How you feeling?”
“I feel great but I’ve been worried about how I should tell Mom. Guess I don’t have to worry about that anymore, huh?”
“Don’t tell her that I called. She wants me to ask you about it this weekend. I told her I would come by and pick you up so we could talk about it. Want to come to my place for a barbeque? You can bring your young man if you want.”
“That sounds great. Saturday?”
“Yeah, I’ll pick you up in the morning, around ten. I’ll grill burgers for lunch.”