To his surprise, his mother’s friend, Chester, calls to get directions to his home. He’s planning a road trip with Mike’s mom, which seems ambitious and a little crazy to Mike. He gives Chester directions and warns him that traveling with his mother will be a challenge. Mike tells Chester to pack Xanax. Not for his mother, but for himself.
Chester burst out laughing. So the man has a sense of humor after all.
“You think I’m kidding? I’m dead serious.”
In a way, I kind of was. Ma is the reason I started smoking pot in the eighth grade. She made me crazy. I got to Cheyenne, and after less than a month away from my mother, I quit smoking. Now, I hardly ever take a hit. My brother is practically a prescription drug addict. Much as I hate to say it, it’s true. I think my dad died early to get away from her nagging. Best thing I ever did for myself was leave home. Suddenly, home was coming to me. Much as I wanted to say all this to Ma’s boyfriend, I wasn’t going to. God bless him, let Doctor Kosher figure it out.
“Michael?” Now it was his turn to wonder was I there?
“Yes. Sorry. I had a long night, following a pretty long one the night before. . . .”
“Yeah. . . .”
I let the tone of my voice and the prolonged sigh of contentment speak for me. I didn’t have words to describe just how good I felt.
“Oh, I see. . . .”
He chuckled knowingly, as only another man who’s had a weekend of debauchery can possibly understand. Better not of been with Ma. . . . That’s all I’m sayin’.
“Yeah, I figure a couple more nights like the last two, I ought to be relaxed and psychologically prepared to see my mother.”
There was a hesitant pause. “What is the trouble between you two? Your mother has never said. . . .”
“It’s a long story, Chester. When you visit, you and me, we’ll think of a reason to go out ourselves and I’ll tell you. Not a subject to discuss over the phone—or in front of Ma.”
“No, I suppose not. Well, thank you for the directions. We’ll be leaving early Tuesday and will be there no later than Friday evening, depending on how we break it up. My daughter will be spotting me on driving.”
“Chester, I needed to ask. Are you planning to stay with me? My place is pretty small.”
“I’m not sure what Marjorie has in mind. Personally, I think a man needs his own space. Is there a suitable motel nearby?”
“I’ll be glad to see what’s available. My friends have lived here longer than me, they can give me some advice.”
“Let me give you my numbers. You can call me back with information and I’ll make a reservation.”
“I can take care of that for you, Chester. I got nothin’ to do today. I may not even be working tomorrow. We’re kinda snowed in. We’ll be clear by the end of the week, but bring warm clothing.”
“Oh, good tip. Okay. That would be great.”
He rattled off his home, office and cell numbers. I wrote them down and went to Jesse’s to ask her advice on motels. Normally, I’d have asked Molly, but I wasn’t sure if she was speaking to me yet. When I went in, Molly was sitting there talking to Jesse. She gave me that pinched nose, tight lipped look that every man, bar none, has gotten in his life—and usually for doing what I’d been doing all weekend.
“Another one?” She said disdainfully. “Friday night wasn’t enough for you?”
“Molly, don’t bust the boy’s balls,” Jesse said.
I stifled a laugh, managing to make it sound like a sneeze.
“He’s a red blooded American male. He’s single. He has the right to sow his wild oats. So long as he’s careful where those oats get sown.” She raised an eyebrow, dropping her chin. That was a subtle reminder not to sow them in Deidre’s direction—which I knew already.
“I got that covered, Jess. Don’t worry about me.”
I didn’t think it was necessary to say that Mystery Date and I hadn’t been a bit careful. But hey, at least I’d maybe find out who she was if she turned up pregnant, right? Oh, shit, not the best line of thought. I shoved that aside and asked them about motel recommendations for my guests.
“The young lady won’t be staying with you?” Molly couldn’t drop it.
“I don’t even know her yet, Molly.”
“Hasn’t stopped you before. . . .”
© Dellani Oakes 2014