Saturday, January 14, 2017

Chapter 317 Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year, too



          Soumweve got a bit of a hitch, Freddy said, going for casual and missing the mark by a mile.
          Hitch in what? Victor said, popping a grape tomato into his mouth, washing it down with some scotch.
          Freddy grimaced rubbing the back of his necka tell tale sign he was going to impart some bad news. Remember when I said my mom wanted to surprise everyone by showing up here at your Christmas party?
          Of course, Victor said, swirling the ice in his drink before taking a sip. The partys for her. Where is she anyway? Thought you were bringing her.
          Yeah, wellsurprise! Shes not coming, Freddy said.
          Victor almost choked on his scotch. What?

          Im sorry, Vic. You went to all this trouble and we have everybody here and…”
          Im guessing shes just not ready yet, got cold feet. Thats understandable. Dont worry about it, Freddy, Victor said. Its not like its a waste of time to have a party. Were still having fun.
          Freddy cleared his voice. Yeah, wellif it was just that…”
What do you mean? Has your mothers progress been stilted or shes regressing?
No, nothing like that. Exact opposite, Freddy said, looking a bit stunned. Shes doing remarkably well. In facttheres been some unforeseen developments.
Victor frowned. Odd behaviors? Drastic change in her personality? Thats to be expected in such a case as hers, Freddy. I wouldnt freak out just yet. Shell get back to normaleventually.
Freddy shook his head. Normal is not likely from what I can see. Normal is gonna be vastly different thanYou wont believe this, Vic. Right now, shes at a Hanukkah partywith herwith Dr. Kruger. I cant believe it myself, he said.
“Wait…what?” Victor said. “You never told me she was Jewish.”
            “She’s not…or wasn’t,” Freddy said. “Hell, I don’t think she even knows anymore.”
“I’m lost,” Victor said. “Your mother , who never had been Jewish to this point, would rather celebrate Hanukkah with her doctor than be at a Christmas party with her own family? A family she hasn’t seen in…decades?”
I knowits crazy, butshe says she’… in love, Freddy said, shaking his head. They are in love.
With Dr. Benjamin Kruger??? Victor shouted. When several people looked over at them he lowered his voice. Are you fricken kidding me? Your mother fell in love with her doctor a married man I might add?
Uhno, hes widowed, some five years or so she told me, Freddy said.
Are you sure? The man was always talking about his wifethought for sure she was alive by the way he spoke of her, Victor said.
Sounds familiar, dont it? Freddy said. Violets the same way.
Victor gaped at him. And um how do you feel about that? Victor asked cautiously. Your mother in love with someone other than your father?
To his surprise Freddy grinned. I think its great. About time she had some fun in her miserable life.
Violet, I imagine, might feel differently. So, when do you think your mother might be ready to show herself to her family? Victor asked.
Willing to have a New Years party to find out? Freddy asked.
Victor laughed. Sure! Why the hell not?
I wish she could be here tonight to meet everyone. Ive been dying keeping this a secret from everybodyespecially Violet. Shes gonna kill me when she discovers how long Ive been lying to her.
Where is Violet anyway? Victor said, looking around at all the people enjoying themselves at the party. Havent seen her all night.

****
          Funny, I could have sworn that was Kennys truck we just passed, said Violet as she drove down the road toward Victors house, Mrs. Beckel riding shotgun.
          Do you mean your son? she asked. I havent seen him in ever so long. He must be all grown by now.
You know Kenny? Violet said, astounded.
Oh, yes. Richie brought him over a few times. We had cookies and milk, little Kenny and I, I mean, while Henry and Richie worked on that beat up old car which they insisted would be worth millions after they restored it. Who in this day and age would ever want an old 65 Mustang, Id like to know.
Violet giggled. I would have died to have one, back in my teen years, she said, before she suddenly looked at the lady beside her. Hey! You heard me just now. I wasnt even yelling.
No, I can hear fine when I put fresh batteries in my hearing aid, and since I was going to a party and meeting scads of new people, I truly thought I ought to hear properly so I can catch their names, Mrs. Beckel said, pleasantly.
Violet silently fumed. So that was her reward for saving a despondent person from suicide? A sore throat from over an hour of near screaming so she could be heard! And all that was needed was a couple of Energizer Bunny packs.
It will all be worth it, youll see. Besides, its Christmas, the time for doing for others, Richard reminded her.
          Violet sighed as she stopped her car in front of a neighbors house. Being there were so many cars in front of Victors home, there wasnt any room for hers. She and Bonnie Beckel were barely to the front door before it sprung open and Jocelyn jumped out to pull her inside.
          Where have you been? Jocelyn said hugging the stuffing out of Violet. Weve been so worriedthought you were lying dead on the side of a road somewhere. Called you about twenty times, left seventy text messages andMrs. Beckel? What are you doing here?
          Hello, Jocelyn, dear, Bonnie said going on tip-toe to reach up and kiss her ebony cheek. So nice to see youbeen so long. How is your mother? Is she here?
          You havent heard then, Jocelyn said. She died a few months back.
          Ohso sorry to hear that. My condolences, dear. My Henry, too, is gone, Bonnie said, her smile crumbling. They were two of the good ones.
          Yes, they werebuthow did you get here? Jocelyn asked. Why are you here?
          Your friend Violet insisted I comeshe said something about combining Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years all in one party. Well, I had to see that! Bonnie said, removing her silver fox fur coat and handing it to Violet. Oh, my stars! Is that Flora and Louis Trent? And Martina Rothchild is here! Goodness, even Morris Kramer.. havent seen him in ages. Theres Andrew Delaney, Mary Teresa and Eddie Ballucci and Ella Kessinger. Wow, you were right, Violet. Im going to have a dandy time. Well, please excuse me. I have old friends to meet with.
          Violet and Jocelyn stared in wide-eyed wonder as the old lady greeted nearly every person there. Here I thought she was a recluse and that shed end up sitting in a corner bored to death. Shes quickly becoming the life of the party, Violet muttered.
Dont see how you could have gotten that idea. She ran Catalpa Village Voice  since I can remember. Only gave it up when Henry became ill. She knows everybody and everybody knows her, Jocelyn said.
Well, today was the first I knew of her existence, Violet said, sounding rather miffed that she was the only one in town who had never known this person.
          Anyway! So, Kenny found you, huh?
          Kenny? No, Violet said. That really was him I saw just now!
          Sent him out to look for you when you didnt answer your cell. Why dont you ever answer your phone? Jocelyn whined.
          Unlike the rest of the world, I am not glued to my phone and I never will be, so stop bitching about it! Violet snapped, shoving Bonnies fur into the closet along with her own with great difficulty.
          Violet, whats wrong? Jocelyn said, grabbing her arm.
          Nothing, she muttered, still pushing her coat into a closet which truthfully couldnt hold one more. She accidentally tugged on the glove in a pocket and tiny pills scattered all over the terracotta tile covering the foyer floor.
          What the hell…” Jocelyn said, bending down to scoop them up. What are these?
          What any desperately lonely person needs to kill themselves painlessly, of course. Give em here, she said holding her hand out for them. When Jocelyn merely stared, her eyes wide with fear, she quickly added, Theyre not mine!
          Then why are they in your pocket? Violet, what is going on? Jocelyn said, grabbing both arms this time. Tell me!
          Violet rolled her eyes. Oh, for heavens sake…”
          Is it because of Victor? Im sure you can work it out if youll just…”
          Im not the one thats suicidal! she said through gritted teeth, just as the front door burst open and Kenny came in.
          Good to know, Mom, he said angrily. Why did you buzz right by me without even slowing down? I was looking for you all over town!
          Didnt know it was you, Kenny, she said and she raised her and to stop them both from saying another word. Listen, I stopped to see about Bonnie Beckels cottage which is for sale and would suit me fine, but what I found was a woman a hairs breath away from snuffing out her life. I took the pills away from her and brought her here in the vague hope she wont try that foolishness again. Now if youre done interrogating me and bitching about me NOT being where I am expected to be, Id like to join the party and if Im lucky Ill find some spiked eggnog and get hammered. Please excuse me.
          Kenny and Jocelyn stared after her, their mouths hanging open, then slowing exchanged astonished looks.
          Moms gonna get hammered on eggnog? he said. That cant be good.
         Good? Jocelyn said. Dang, boy, shes never yet finished a glass of wine without passing out. Besides, that eggnogs got nothing in it but a zillion calories, so I wouldnt worry if I were you.
          Worried or not, they both kept a sharp eye on Violet from that moment on.


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