Saturday, November 8, 2008
Check out all the Wordzzle stories at Raven’s Place
Panorama stood outside the Humane Society. Their main headquarters was housed in an old building, Pan remembered it from her childhood; her Mother once worked in this building. As a girl Panorama had been fascinated by the play of light and shadow created by the building’s angles. Everyone had said she had an artist’s eye and that her parents had short-changed her by refusing to allow her to go to art school. Panorama shook her head to dismiss the memories and pulled her coat tighter around her. She hoped it was the cold weather that was causing this chill. All week she had been ambivalent about this meeting but had tried to focus on the positive. Now, in the quiet of a cold Sunday morning, she wondered if she was doing the right thing.
Panorama was just about to light a cigarette when the yellow jacket caught her eye. Life after 50 had been good to Pickles. She was slim and fit and decked out like a Vice-Presidential candidate. She wore her usual 3 inch heels and strutted like a teenaged girl. Flashes of competing with her Mother for attention created a dull ache in Pan’s head and once more she shook them free. “She’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes, she’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes, she’ll be comin’ round the mountain and I’ll drown her in Buckingham Fountain …”
“You’re singing under your breath, you always did that when you were nervous” Pickles grabbed Panorama and hugged her tight. “Are you nervous? Can’t see why you would be”. Panorama ignored the question and pulled away to look directly into her Mother’s green eyes. Pickles met her gaze. “We have the exact same eyes” she said as she too pulled back a bit. “Just that yours always look angry. So, let’s get brunch and catch up”
And off they went. Panorama struggled to keep up with Pickles. Gotta stop smoking she thought to herself and chuckled. “I’m sorry, am I going too fast?” Pickles stopped. “We’re here anyway. I read about this place on the plane. All the rave right now, some blend of good old meat and potatoes and international cuisine. Sounded interesting.” Panorama looked up. ‘Backhoe Bistro’ was emblazoned across wood carvings of farms and what looked to be Swiss chalets. Trust Pickles to find a place annoying and pretentious. Down home, small town pretentious no less.
Inside was no better. Long family style dining tables were intermingled with tiny bistro style tables. Panorama could not believe her eyes, or her ears. The sound of children singing ‘Happy Birthday Sarah Jane’ came from the back. Panorama peeked around the column. A dozen or so children, dressed as Martians, were gathered around a giant cake. Pickles was in deep discussion with the maitre d’ – or was he a short order cook? Probably both. “The party is coming to a close” she told Panorama as she took her arm and led her to one of the small tables by the window. Panorama wanted to ask who the hell had a children’s birthday at a place like this on a Sunday morning but thought better of it. Pickles had an answer for everything anyway.
They settled in and Panorama held her menu in front of her face to give herself a moment. Something about this street seemed so familiar. “I love this view” Pickles sighed. “Remember when we came here to watch them blow up the balloons for the Thanksgiving Day Parade? We would walk back and forth. You loved to hold onto the ropes and watch the men working. You always said it was better than the parade itself. Then we’d stop at your favorite bakery and get pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving Day. I always wanted to spend the holidays in France but you and your Father insisted …”
“Please shut up” Panorama couldn’t catch the words in time. “Please just shut the hell up. You said we needed to discuss Finola. There are no happy memories, just days not as terrible as the others. So stop. Stop being a caricature of a Mother or a Grandmother. Tell me what is going on and what I need to do.”
Pickles sat up straight and took a deep breath. “You need to be a Mother. You need to take responsibility for your child. Perhaps I wasn’t a very good role model but I always kept you safe and you owe Finola the same.” “Fine” Panorama said startled. “Fine. What do we, I, need to do?”
Pickles pulled a folder out of her bag. “I’ve had a private investigator working on this since the school called. We need to go to a place called Waterloo.”
Light and shadow
Happy Birthday Sarah Jane
Thanksgiving Day Parade
She’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes
Life after 50