The other day, the girls and I were at Castleton Square Mall visiting their Build-a-Bear Workshop on Aisling's behalf. She had been mopping floors and folding laundry and doing other little assorted money-generating chores around the house to save up enough money to pay a satisfying visit, so we did.
We always have to buy a coffee or a soft drink for the ride home, so we spotted a Hardee's and pulled into their drive-thru. From Hardee's, I could see the Borders Book Store where I happily spent so much time and money, back when I was a single girl (okay, I was an old-maid schoolteacher, just shut up.)
"Oh, look, girls," I said, looking fondly at it, sitting there in all its yuppie glory. "I used to love that store. I used to go there almost every weekend and buy books." I sighed happily.
There was a silence -- a significant sort of silence; a silence as of two girls trading glances behind their mother's back.
"Oh, poor Mommy," Meelyn said, her voice soft with pity.
"I'm so sorry for you," she said.
"Yes, me too, poor Mommy, poor little Mommy," Aisling chimed in.
I was honestly bewildered. "What are you two talking about, 'poor Mommy'?"
Meelyn was foggy with tears. "You didn't have a husband. All you had was a bunch of books."
"Now, wait just a....I had more than..." I spluttered, wanting to tell them about my life as a working woman and the things I bought and the trips I took with friends and the ineffable cuteness of my different apartments. But I stopped. It would only have sounded pathetic, my doing all those things without Daddy.
I drove on, knowing that in Borders Book Store, they likely have several different dictionaries for sale to no-life-losers like me, all of them defining the word disgruntled, which is exactly how I felt right then.
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