Kinder, Kirche, Kuche (Chidren, Church, Kitchen)

Part Three - Chapter One Hundred Seventy-Seven

It was a little bit late, and the skies were lowering, when we finally left the pizzeria and climbed back into the Impala for our trip to Crown Point. The gathering humidity seemed to close in around us, even though we rolled down all the windows all the way and headed for the Interstate. I was glad we were getting out of the city for right now. I couldn't recall when in recent memory I had ever been in a place that was ever so hot..

Like some teasing demon, the stickiness of the previous few hours seemed to travel with us northwestward. It was only marginally cooler as we rolled into Crown Point. Since the new car was Bobby's, Robert offered him the privilege of driving into town to drop the girls off at home, then go to another motel to wait for the graduation and the wedding ceremony, two days after that. Bobby turned him down - surprisingly.
I was puzzled at first - until a casual glance in the quiet of the back seat showed Paula sleeping against the
open framework of the window and Bobby and Mary Jane
holding hands and just gazing into one another's eyes. I faced forward again without a comment. It had been a very long time since either had seen each other and I wasn't going to spoil their time together.

We began to roll slowly down the street where the girls lived. The street lights were the only pools of brightness in the inky blackness of the night. All the houses we were passing were vaguely darker shapes in the velvet drapery
of the late night...

Wait. The Michaelsen house was blazing with lights on both floors in what seemed like every room. Paula had awakened and was sitting up, tense with fear, as the front door opened and a large figure swayed out into the rectangle of light .

"It's Daddy," she whispered.

Mary Jane left off holding Bobby's hand and sat forward to look. "And he's been drinking again." She said it with no nervousness or fear in her voice. Just resignation.

"Do you want me to go up and explain why you're so late with you?" I heard Bobby ask as he opened the car door and stepped out to let Mary Jane, then Paula, out.

"No,please," Paula begged.

Mary Jane agreed."No. It'll only make things worse. Trust me."

She took Paula's hand in a show of solidarity. She then remembered her manners and turned to me. "Thank you for inviting me - and thank you for coming to the graduation."

Before I could reply, Eugene yelled at his daughters from the shadows of the porch, "Hey! Are you coming in or do I have to come out there and GET you two?"

Given the hour of the night and darkness of the houses on either side, I felt it was inappropriate for a grown man to bellow like that. I was certain the neighbors heard everything being said.

Mary Jane and Paula walked to the house and mounted the large stone slab where Eugene waited.

"Where have you two BEEN all this time?" he continued to yell at the top of his voice. "I told you you could go to the graduation and that was ALL. If - "

Eugene suddenly realized we still hadn't pulled away from in front of the house. Mary Jane and Paula had scrambled into the house like frightened rabbits. Without a word of apology or acknowledgement, he slammed the door in our faces - so hard I could have sworn the whole house shook.

The clamminess of the night seemed even more oppressive now, somehow.

We continued on to the motel in greater downtown Crown Point.

MaryJanine MaryJanine
61-65, F
Sep 1, 2014