Umber (47.5 — Oleander’s Story)
August 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
“Now, Oleander, honey, I want you to go wash your face and find your purple sweater. I’m going to ask Miss Brigid to take you to the movies. There’s a Cary Grant movie, and I’m pretty sure there’ll be a cartoon. Go on now, honey, and don’t worry, I know you didn’t think you were doing anything wrong when you went into that woman’s house. I’ll give you some money for popcorn, how’s that?”
With that, Mama went to look for Miss Brigid. Taking big shuddering breaths and feeling confused, I stared for a long time at the center of the blue throw rug I was standing on. Finally I ran to my bedroom to look for my sweater.
I could hear Miss Brigid talking to Mama.
“Oh, Miss Vera,”—after all these years, she still called Mama “Miss Vera,” even though Mama often told her she could just call her “Vera”—“Oh, Miss Vera,” she said, “Papa doesn’t approve of movies, especially romantic comedies.”
Mama sounded exasperated. “Brigid, please, just tell him that I made you take Oleander to the show! Here’s some money; be sure to buy some popcorn for Oleander and yourself.”
“It’s Cary Grant, you say?”
“As far as I can remember.”
“Well, alright then.”
“Thank you, Brigid, you are a lifesaver. And don’t hurry home. Here,” –she handed the old lady some more change–“Stop at the soda fountain on the way home. I need some time to–think.”
“Are you feeling alright, dear? You look upset. It’s him, isn’t it?”
“No…yes. Yes, it is him. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine, Brigid. We’ll be fine. I just have some business to attend to right now, and it’s better if you and Oleander aren’t here to witness it.”