Ashes, you may recall, started high school this year by playing a game of musical boyfriends. She had her first flirtation, first boyfriend, and first ride home in a police car, all in the space of a week-end.
But I've noticed something, these past seven days. While her first few days were full of talk about this new boyfriend, Billy, and everything he said or did, this past week has been filled with talked about how Billy's been avoiding her.
At first it was because he had a cold, and didn't want to give it to her. Then there was silence and avoidance, and talk of her friends threatening to kill him. And tonight, she asked to call him, since he clearly was never going to call her.
I allowed her to call, even though I knew what the conversation was going to be like. I tried to warn her, but she didn't want to hear it.
Sure enough, two minutes into the call, she asked to go outside. "The reception's better out there," she said.
Twenty minutes later, I called her on her phone. "Everything okay?" I asked.
"Billy says he wants us to take a few months off from each other," she said, clearly all choked up. A pause. "I just want a little bit of time alone."
I gave her it. About twenty minutes later, she came upstairs, grabbed supper, and asked to go into the bedroom, to call her girlfriends. At 9:30, I went in there. She was fast asleep, watching "Interview with a Vampire," her favorite film.
Been there, done that. Straight to the favorite film as comfort food. First love stinks on ice, no doubt about it.
My dad called me at work this morning. I don't think he's done that for about a year. This immediately made me suspect that something was up.
Right after I separated from Josie, he made it a point to call me every week or so, just to see how I was doing. He would also send me $100 checks once a month, just so I would have something special to be able to spend on myself. It was really sweet, and much needed.
Now that things are normal again, those calls have ended, so it was weird, hearing from him this morning. It set my spider sense tingling.
But no, the call was all how's it going, how are the kids, what's going on at work, anything knew? As time went on, I started to grow comfortable. Must have been my imagination, I thought. He truly just wanted to check in on me.
"Well, I'd better let get you back to work," he said. And then, just as I was about to say good-bye, he casually said, "Oh! We were thinking about changing Christmas eve and having you guys over the Sunday before. Might make it easier on the kids, that way. Are you okay with that?"
Aha! There we go! That was what the call was all about. He wanted to butter me up so he could sneak in and change the family traditions.
I tell you, you have to love my father. He truly is a sneaky man. A master of timing, when it comes to dropping bombs.
I politely declined.
This week-end was spent at Corb's hotel, and what struck me most was how quiet everything was. It may just be the time of year, but with all the gloomy talk about the economy, one can't help but wonder if it was just another symptom in a country-wide string of symptoms, like a candy necklace wilting away in the rain.
The hotel felt spooky. It was too large, too empty, full of echoes.
On the plus side, I love Sunday mornings at the hotel. I get to sleep late, and write while I'm half-awake. I lay there with my yellow legal pad, thinking over character and scene, and the words just seem to pop. Knots get untangled, dialogue plays out in my head. It's a creative, rewarding time.
Speaking of knots, I can only hope that the economy straightens itself out, soon. I know that everyone's freaking out about the loss of their life savings, although frankly, after the last four years of separationhood, my life savings was more like a half-life, anyhow. It's the silver lining of being Ted, I guess.
On a similar note, as much as I love the Sarah Palin parodies on Saturday Night Live, this week's "vice presidential debate" was not the best skit, by far. In fact, Corb thought it was kind of long. I loved it, but I was honestly having trouble breathing during the skit that came immediately after. It's probably the funniest thing I've seen on SNL in years. If you haven't seen it, you definitely have to check it out: