Thursday, 10 January 2013

Mental Pause - Chapter 2 (excerpts)

Abbie walked slowly across the back yard not really grasping what had just happened and walked in the back door.
“Conrad? Trev?”  She called as she came in the back door.
“Hey Mom… Trev’s upstairs and Dad’s gone to work,” said Winston.
“What’s wrong?” 
“Uh…nothing.  Well, I guess something.”  She wasn’t sure what to say.  Your mother just creamed a dog on the side of the head with a frying pan and I think it’s dead?   “Sweetie, can you call Animal Control for me?  The number’s in the book.
“Well, you know that awful, vicious white dog from down the street?”
“You mean the pit bull?”
“Uh huh.  I think it’s in our alleyway and I don’t think it’s alive.
“Oh wow…that sucks.  Why can’t you call?”
“I’m going to Rachel’s to get ready for the marathon tomorrow. You know…. it’s the fundraiser for breast cancer research…I’m already late.  Thanks for doing that.” Abbie quickly walked out of the kitchen hoping he wouldn’t ask any more questions.
“But Mom,” he called after her.  “You don’t run.”
“I know that honey but I’m helping with registration…and so are you, remember?”  She paused halfway up the stairs waiting for his reply.
“Oh right…shit, do I have to?  Why isn’t Trevor going?”
“Winston, that language isn’t necessary and yes, you have to. You’ve made a promise to Rachel and it’ll look great on your resume.  And, Trevor’s working.  If you had gotten a job for the summer you’d have an excuse too.”
“I’m still writing exams and I have to study!”                      
“Winston, you told me you didn’t have an exam until Tuesday and you’d have Sunday and Monday to study. It’ll only be for a couple of hours and it’ll be great experience for you. Besides, Rachel’s counting on you.”  Abbie turned and continued up the stairs hoping that was the end of the discussion. She could hear Winston mumbling and a couple of cupboard doors slamming but no further arguments followed. He had always liked Rachel and he more than likely wouldn’t want to let her down.
Abbie quickly showered and changed into jeans and a t-shirt and grabbed her purse and keys.
“Trevor, I’m going to Rachel’s but I’ll have my cell phone on me if you need anything.” She popped her head into his room and saw he was studying. Even though both boys had been accepted into university, it was conditional on their final marks. “When you come home from school, there’s a pizza in the freezer for lunch if you want…or just make yourself a sandwich. And, you better hurry or you’re going to be late. You know it's always the last day that the teachers give the best clues on what's on the exam.
“Okay Mom.  Say hi to Rachel for me.”
Abbie walked down the stairs and straight for the front door, not wanting to make things worse with Winston, and called over her shoulder, “Winston, don’t forget animal control. See you later!”  She closed the door sharply behind her to make sure he knew she meant business. The boys knew she was a softy. It was Conrad who was the disciplinarian. Now that they were about to leave the nest, the relationship between them all was starting to shift. They were becoming adults and they finally realized that even though their father was tough, he was fair. Having a cop for a father wasn’t easy but they had turned out pretty good. Abbie was very proud of her family…and loved them with all her heart. So, why was she so irritated by them now and why did she get angry so easily? She felt as if she was having out of body experiences and didn’t recognize the person she looked down on half the time. It was as if she was having miniature nervous breakdowns and they were becoming more frequent.   
She got into the car, mounted her cell phone on her hands-free, pressed ‘2’ and ‘send’ and hit the speaker button. Conrad had the coveted number one spot on the speed dial but her best friend, Rachel, was next. She backed out of the driveway as Rachel answered.
“Hey chicka! Where are you?”
“Hey Rach… I’m sorry. I got a little behind but I’m on my way. I should be about 20 minutes as long as the traffic isn’t too bad.” 
“No worries. Take your time. I’m just putting on a pot of coffee so it’ll be ready when you get here. The kids are going to Todd’s after school today for the weekend so we won’t have any interruptions. Love those girls but they need to be entertained constantly! They can’t seem to occupy themselves like your boys did at that age.”
“Hmm…” Abbie offered absent mindedly, not really hearing what Rachel was saying. “I might need something a little stronger than coffee though. You’re not going to believe what just happened. I had a bit of a run in with a neighborhood dog.”
“I think I might have killed it…” Abbie felt a lump rising in her throat. She tried choking it back but the sob escaped from her lips like an uncontrollable sneeze only with a mournful sound. She sniffed and gripped the steering wheel with one hand while she reached in her purse for a Kleenex...

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