Thanks to all who have read the opening and double dipped thank you to those who have left comments. It's good to know you want more. So here goes.....(Feedback welcome! I'm not kidding the comments I got yesterday were very helpful.)
Introduction is here.
Introduction is here.
Chapter 1: We Just Go with It and Call Him General
“Hello?” I held the cell phone between my ear and shoulder as I dug through my purse, a common pose for me.
“Mrs. Rhodes? This is Dr. Goodling from Davis Middle School,” an officious, but softly accented voice said the words that make my stomach sink. Damn. What now?
“Hi, yes, how are you?” I sounded so silly. Dr. Goodling was calling because something was wrong, not to discuss how she was doing.
“I’m fine, thank you, but I’m calling about Aaron,” her words came out in a rush. I knew that she was afraid I’d interrupt her, wasting more of her valuable time with silly questions. She was probably worried that I’d try to discuss the weather next.
I blurted out, “Oh no, what’s he done?” Okay, so it wasn’t a brilliant thing for a supportive mother to say, but it was out and I couldn’t take it back.
“Well, I’m afraid it’s more of the same. He’s been talking about General Patton again. You know, Mrs. Rhodes, I know that he’s a very bright boy, but this joking about Patton is going a little too far,” she paused. I remained silent.
“We need you to work with us to explain to him why it’s upsetting to his social studies teacher and why we want him to stop telling these tales about…about….well, about reincarnation,” she took a deep breath and waited. She was conditioned to expect me to either defend my child, denying what she knew to be true or to explain away his behavior. I wasn't going to do either.
Frankly, I thought she was being generous. Aaron’s ongoing goof about being General George S. Patton reincarnated had gotten on my last nerve a couple of weeks ago. He was such a good actor that it was hard to tell if he was joking or not.
“Mrs. Rhodes?” Dr. Goodling was still waiting for some kind of defense or concession from me. Would it be cool to simply tell her that I took responsibility for being a failure as a mother and that we’d made an appointment with Aaron’s therapist to talk about this Patton issue?
“I know, Dr. Goodling, it’s really annoying at home, too. I’m trying to balance my concern with the knowledge that Aaron is the kind of kid who enjoys a good prank,” I paused, not sure what else to offer. “I, um, we, Aaron’s father and I, have discussed it and we’ve made an appointment for him to see his therapist,” I decided that a blunt pronouncement was going to end this call quicker than anything else. I was struggling to keep the frustration out of my voice. Not only did I not want to be dealing with Aaron’s nonsense, I was late for a meeting. It had started to sprinkle and I still had a long walk through the parking lot to get to the country club where I was responsible for a large luncheon.
Dr. Goodling let her breath out slowly. Perhaps she was relieved that I hadn’t been defensive or dismissive? “Ah, well….that’s, um, that’s very good. I think that it would help us to find out if Aaron actually believes he’s Patton or if perhaps we can call his bluff,” I could hear a slight smile in her voice.
“Exactly,” I said a bit too loudly. I looked out the car window and saw that some of the luncheon attendees were already arriving. “Dr. Goodling, I have to go now. I’m late for a meeting, but if anything else comes up, please call. You can also call my husband Michael.”
We said our goodbyes and I made a mental note to talk to Aaron that evening. If he was goofing, it had to stop. If he wasn’t, well, I wasn’t prepared to think about that right now. My boss was circling the block in her BMW, looking for a close parking space and I wanted to get into the banquet hall before she did. I scrambled out of the car and rushed away, aiming the key fob over my shoulder, listening for the beep beep indicating that the car was locked.
I clickety clacked in my heels through the parking lot and mounted the stairs up toward the country club’s main entrance. It was an older club, built in a posh neighborhood of turn of the century Queen Annes and bungalows, and it sat near the road. I could see the BMW making another sweep by, still angling for a good spot. Why didn’t she just go to the valet stand? I wondered. The parking attendants, who recognized me from the number of times I’d been there before greeted me as I hurried up the steps. I said a quick hello then scanned the parking lot for more attendees. That’s when I noticed a parked car with its lights on. I paused for a second knowing instinctively that it was mine. My shoulders slumped, I turned on my heel and clickety clacked back as fast as I could.