And I'm back. Sorry to have such an incredibly short segment. I got started late tonight, and am still working on getting back into the swing of things.
I should be posting nightly through the weekend, and the segments will not all be this short.
--- Chapter 8 ---
For all of Katie’s concerns, Tom and Pat’s arrival proved a very quiet event.
The party had reached its quiet end just after one in the morning, when Paul put away his guitar and Kristy made him a mug of hot coffee for the road. After seeing him out and shutting the door, Kristy contemplated Katie’s sleeping form on the couch for a moment, deciding in the end to leave her there.
Kristy woke not long after her usual time, feeling that slight ache throughout her body which signified too little sleep and a not-quite-hangover. The house was silent, and when she reached the living room she found that Katie had, at some point during the night, taken herself to bed.
The morning solitude, contrasted with the remains of the previous night’s party, served to emphasize that this morning would be the last time she had her home wholly to herself. With this feeling giving her energy, she changed into winter running clothes, took a thirty minute run in the biting early morning air, and then set about cleaning the kitchen and dining room. By the time Katie roused herself, the house was ready for parental visitors, and Kristy was enjoying some late morning relaxation over a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper.
Tom and Pat arrived in the mid afternoon. Their “moving in” consisted of two suitcases, a cardboard box full of meticulously wrapped presents, and Tom’s snow blower, which he deposited in the garage along with its gas can.
“Hasn’t been a decent snow yet this year,” he complained, “and we won’t need it in the apartment. I thought you girls might get some use out of it this winter.”
Katie, who had been close to moping throughout the day, roused herself to poke at the snow blower, staying in the garage with her father for some time while he explained its workings, virtues and quirks.
As evening drew on, Pat offered to make dinner. Katie agreed to this, but then went to supervise the use of the kitchen. Kristy gave it fifteen minutes, then ventured in on the pretext of getting herself a drink. Whatever difficulties may, at first, have occurred seemed to have been overcome, and mother and daughter were making the family macaroni casserole recipe in apparent harmony.
That night, the sisters lay side by side in Kristy’s bed while their parents inhabited the next room. The situation seemed to call for slumber party confidences.
“Well?” Kristy asked.
“You and Mom seemed to be getting along fine in the kitchen. Are things better than you expected.”
Katie considered, staring up into the darkness. “I guess so far it’s a lot better than I expected. She hasn’t tried to rearrange everything. It still feels like the parents coming home in the evening, though. No more after school fun.”
“What, were you thinking we would paint our nails and discuss boys if they weren’t around?”
“I’m just saying that we haven’t tried to have any fun yet. And even if they’re not throwing their weight around, it doesn’t feel like just our house anymore.” Katie rolled onto her side, putting her back to her sister, and settled down under the blankets. “One more thing,” she added darkly.
“Your feet are cold. Keep them to yourself.” She gave the blanket a mighty tug.
The next day continued in family harmony. Kristy had Christmas Eve and Christmas off of work. For breakfast, Tom got out his ancient Tabasco Sauce apron and made his signature chocolate chip waffles, which had adorned many a weekend morning when the sisters were young. Pat complained that there were no Christmas decorations, and in the end she and Katie set off to see what might remain in the stores, as well as to collect additional provisions for the holiday’s meals.
When the mail arrived, Kristy found, among the usual assortment of items, a Christmas card-sized envelope from Dan. Opening it, she found a card with showed a cow wearing a santa hat. Inside was inscribed:
“Kristy, I saw this card, and since you don’t seem to answer your email anymore now that you live in the great Mid-West, I thought more old fashioned greetings might be in order. Happy Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstice, Holidays and New Year. Things are much as usual at the office, as we brace for the New Years rush of people who follow up resolutions to write wills or get divorces. My Mother made another valiant attempt at finding the Nice Jewish Girl™, but though she is certainly nice and Jewish and a girl, I don’t think either of us sees any future in it. I hope you and your sister are doing well. Have you tipped any cows or met any farm boys? Best Wishes, --Dan”
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