Friday, April 29, 2011

RDC: Fighting Words

This week's assignment for The Red Dress Club was to write about a fight--fiction or non-fiction. Once again, I'm using this to write about my character Michaela. You can read some of my previous pieces with her by clicking on the tab above marked The Story of Michaela.

Fighting Words

            I was still mad. No, not mad. Mostly embarrassed. Laverne was trying to help and I was a bitch to her. I hate to be the bad guy. But no doubt about it this time around I was the bad guy. I was tired and having a rough day, but really it’s not excuse. Laverne was just stopping by to help like she always does. She brought dinner and a game for the kids.
            “You really don’t need to do that,” I said.
            “I know I don’t, honey. I want to.”
            It was great to have so much help. But it was getting to me now. I appreciated it. I really did. But I needed to start doing things on my own. Sooner or later there weren’t going to be casseroles in the fridge to reheat or people offering to pick up the kids at soccer or dance. The kids and I needed to learn to be a family without a father.
As if Laverne read my thoughts, she said, “Take the help while you’ve got it.”
            “That’s just it Laverne. I need to learn to do things on my own. Sooner or later the help is going to dry up.”
            “I know honey. Believe me, I raised three boys on my own. I know what it’s like.”
            “But you don’t know what it’s like,” I insisted. “Barry’s dead. We didn’t just get a divorce.”
            I wished I could take it back the moment the words left my mouth. If I had slapped her, she couldn’t have looked more hurt.
            “Just divorced?” she asked.
            “I mean…”
            “That’s right. I was just divorced. My husband had a choice and he chose to leave. Barry didn’t want to leave you did he?”
            “Laverne, I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have…”
            “I don’t know what it’s like. You’re damn right. Your husband didn’t walk out so he could chase pussy. He didn’t leave until someone killed him. He left you with a home and life insurance. Leroy never gave me one penny of child support. Even dead, Barry was a better husband than mine was while he was alive.”
            She had never talked about her first husband before. I knew Casey was the second time around, but I didn’t know anything about the father of her children until now.
            “I bet Barry even told you he loved you the last time you saw him,” she said.
            He had. I was cleaning out the garage. I was covered in dust and cobwebs. I told him not to touch me so he wouldn’t get dirty. He did anyway. He pulled me to him, wrapped his arms around me and kissed my sweaty forehead. “I’ll see you in twenty minutes. I love you babe.”
            “I love you too,” I said as I watched him walk away. I still thought we had a lifetime together.
            Laverne turned to walk out of my house. She had held me together when I was falling apart and now I had hurt her. I couldn’t stand to lose her friendship right now. “Please don’t go,” I said. “I’m so sorry. It’s just that everyone has been telling me how to feel or saying they know how I feel. I forgot that some people actually do. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself today. It doesn’t excuse what I said. Please forgive me.”
            Laverne stopped and nodded. “I guess you’re allowed a little pity party every now and then.”
            “You are too, you know.” I said.
            “Nah. I’ve outgrown them. And you will too honey. You will too.”