October 14
11:45 a.m.

This has been such an amazing week. My parents showed up and surprised Gwen and me!! It’s always a whirlwind when my mom is around…

“You girls aren’t eating right!” Her first statement when she sees us.

“Mom, Gwen is a married woman and has been taking care of her home for many years…and Mitch is an example of exuberant health.” I’m teasing her and pointing at my borderline chubby brother-in-law.

“You aren’t eating right.” There’s this bubble over my mom’s head which we can all read: Mitch has put on weight, they’re eating too many carbs.

So now she’s in the kitchen and cooking all the stuff we love and we’re going to put on tons of weight, especially Mitch who adores her and her cooking. Mitch would let her get away with murder. Many people would, she’s that lovable!

“Any men in Natty’s life?” Mom asks as she passes the Beef Stroganoff to Mitch.

“Yes!” Gwen answers immediately.

“No!” I’m equally emphatic.

“How many?” Dad asks.

“Too many,” Mitch says between sighs of appreciation for Mom’s cooking.

“You all are horrible. There are no men.”

“It’s not Frankie, thank God. Saw him with some horrible woman attached to his arm.”

“You never liked Frankie.” I laugh, but I’m wondering why a woman attached to his arm still bothered me.

“There’s not that much to like about Frankie,” Gwen points out. “But there’s Marc, Walt, Tavish, Jake…”

Gwen’s throwing out names for the fun of it.

“Tavish is your boss, right?” Mom’s staring at me, a smile on her face. I know where this is going.

“I think your mother has picked the perfect match for you.” Dad’s laughing. We all know Mom so well.

“Mom, he’s already with someone.”

“You never said anything to me about that.” Gwen feels betrayed about my keeping her in the dark about Tavish.

“He’s not seeing anyone,” Mom says with finality.

“How do you know?” Gwen and I demand.

“I know.” And that’s all she would say.

“You girls!” My dad’s laughing again…and I start telling them all about Faith and the church woes…and joys.

But Mom’s back to it again.

“Final word on Tavish…” Mom’s still pushing for an answer from me.

“What?”

“We’ll see.”

“Well, if he doesn’t work out, there’s always the noble Walter,” Gwen says. “The ultimate catch.”

“Who’s he?”

“He’s…different.”

So I tell them all about Walter.

11:45 p.m.

It got really quiet in the house after my parents left. I cried because I’d rather be with them in Europe. Gwen cried, and I cried more to see her crying. Why can’t we all live together in one huge mansion with separate apartments or something?

Phone is ringing. My mom probably trying to call before the flight took off…

“Natalie, are you feeling sad?”

“Walt!”

“Yes. I know your parents just left.” How does he know so much?

“Yes…”

“I saw Kate at church. She mentioned that your parents were here this week and Pastor Mark had given you some time off to be with them. Sure missed you. The church is not the same when you’re not in it.”

I’m still a little uncomfortable at his having called so late…

“I know what it feels to be sad…Charlotte, you know…”

“Thanks, Walt! That’s very sweet of you…”

“You really mean that?”

“I’m tired right now…”

“I’m watching you, Natalie. Take care of yourself. You’re very special.”

I turn off my phone and hoping that he isn’t really watching me. That’s just a figure of speech…right?

_______

October 15
7:10 a.m.

Went to sleep with Walt on my mind, nightmares about Walt and me getting married…and Billy Idol is singing White Wedding…and then, he turns into David Bowie.

Note to self. Stay away from Walt.

And from Billy Idol, too, for that matter.

9:10 a.m.

I’m late getting to work. Kate is waiting for me in my office…with Walt! Great! Just when I’m trying to avoid thinking about him, seeing him, or listening to him.

“Hi…no…Walt! Nice to see you.”

“Walt just lost another one of his best friends. You remember Charlotte?”

“Yes, I do. I got a call from her church’s secretary. Such a wonderful woman. What a loss for you, Walt.” Kate, don’t you remember me telling you about it? Keep the words and compassion flowing, I’m telling myself.

“Natalie, that color of blue looks beautiful on you.” Walt’s complimenting me. He doesn’t seem so sad, after all.

“Walt’s afraid people will say bad things about him,” Kate continues.

“Why?”

“Oh, it’s because two of the old ladies he was working with died.”

“But that’s the sad part of working with the seniors. They are at the end of their life and die. It must really be hurting you, Walt.” I’m trying to rationalize my own thoughts.

“You really think so, Natalie. Oh, that means a lot to me. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome, Walt. Praying for you.”

“You do like Walt after all,” Kate smiles. Finally, I’ve seen the light about Walter. He’s a good guy.

“No. I’m afraid of Walt…after a horrible nightmare I had…we were getting married and Billy Idol was singing White Wedding!”

“Who’s getting married?” Tav strolls in all smiles, happy with this life. He’s got on a black leather jacket, aviators…need I say more.

“Natalie and Walter.” Kate announces, “And David Bowie is going to sing at their wedding.”

“Billy Idol,” I automatically correct.

“You’re getting married to Walt and Billy Idol…hahaha…Billy Idol is going to sing!” Now Tav is in hysterics and walking to his office.

“Who is Billy Idol? Never mind.”

Poor Kate. Some days, we’re all more than she can handle.

_____

Photo by Stewart Butterfield via Flickr/