LIBRA HOROSCOPE (from astrology.com): Your mood could swing all over the map today, but remember to check your assumptions if you find yourself sliding into depression or boredom. You may just need to see things from a fresh perspective.
You know it’s bad when you sit down with sisters in a packed coffeehouse and, five minutes later, all the surrounding tables are vacant. Lucy came out swinging: “Admit it. You have never been comfortable with the fact I’m a lesbian. And you have a fear that I’m going to turn Gretel that way, too.”
Estelle was flabbergasted, but managed to be articulate. “What you’re right about is I’m not comfortable around you. I know it disgusts you, but I’m uncomfortable about a lot of things. Tiger Woods. Ryan Seacrest. Even—I know this will shock you—Sarah Palin. I don’t care that you’re a lesbian. I care that you’re an angry person—not just an angry lesbian. You’re angry about everything. Laura and I wanted to meet at Starbucks, but going to a big corporate entity would have sent you over the edge. Although you seem to already be there.”
Lucy didn’t hear much of what Estelle had to say. She picked out the “angry lesbian” and went for the jugular. “Listen to you! Demonizing lesbians! We’re all angry! We’re the serial killers in movies! We’re Rosie O’Donnell going ballistic on that cute, petite Elizabeth puppet on ‘The View’.”
Ahem. My turn to step up as mediator. “Listen, let’s just calm down and—”
But Elizabeth was seething. “Yeah, all lesbians are angry. That’s exactly what I said. That Ellen Degeneres, why does she have to be so mean on ‘Idol’?”
A few more heated exchanges and Lucy stormed out. Not a moment too soon. A timid barista was edging toward our table, likely coming to ask us to keep it down. Pretty please. With Lucy’s grand exit, the worker retreated safety behind the counter, no doubt wondering if minimum wage was worth it. (Later, as we were leaving, I tossed an extra Toonie in the tip jar.)
It took Estelle twenty minutes to unwind. Would’ve been longer but then she remembered her digital camera in her purse. She pulled it out and showed the pics she’d snapped at Gretel’s last Taps for Tots session. All 117 of them. I really felt like I was there.
* * *
Woke up at 4:15 this morning, Tupper throwing up again. After some mopping and a walkie, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Dangerous thoughts came to mind. I’d lost Gabriel. Had I expected too much? What if he was my last shot? And what about Tupper? Was he in pain? How much longer did he have? Would I know when it was the right time to take him to the vet one last time? Would I do it? Why was Tim Urban still on “American Idol”? Why was I still watching? And what would I do after “Ugly Betty” was all over? Why didn’t I have a real life?
I tried to deceive myself with happy thoughts. But Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream only brings a smile when it’s stocked in the freezer. Bland low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt? Meh.
I thought of Lucy’s rage. We all knew it was pathological and needed treatment, but who would dare to bring it up? How did Carl(a) deal with it? I thought of Dad. Weeks (months?) ago, he’d said they were trying to force his retirement. He’d looked despondent. How was he doing? Unlike Lucy, or Mom even, he was so hard to read. Would he open up if I tried to go there or would he just be embarrassed for sharing in the first place and build a taller, thicker wall?
I looked to Tupper for comfort, but he was back to snoring. Oh, to be a dog. Why couldn’t I just vomit?
WHEN SARA ASKED IF WE COULD MEET @ GRANDVIEW PARK THIS MORNING, I KNEW THERE HAD TO BE TROUBLE. SHE COULDN’T BE IN HER RIGHT MIND—WHY ELSE WLD SHE SUGGEST MTG WHERE WE CLD WATCH DERELICTS SHOOT UP & BEG FOR “BUS FARE”?
I SPED OVER B/C I DIDN’T LIKE THE IDEA OF HER SITTING THERE ALONE, BUT SHE WAS ALREADY ON A BENCH WHEN I PULLED UP. HADN’T EVEN SAT DOWN WHEN SHE SAID, “IF IT COMES TO IT, WLD YOU TAKE IN TRAVIS?”
I REALLY NEEDED TO SIT. “WHERE’D THAT COME FROM?”
“HE & JERRY HAD AN AWFUL WEEKEND. STARTED IN THE CAR ON THE WAY BACK FROM YOUR PLACE.”
“I DIDN’T MEAN TO—”
“NO, IT’S NOT YOU AT ALL. YOU WERE GREAT W/TRAVIS. REALLY! I SHLD’VE CALLED YOU ON THE WEEKEND TO SAY THANKS. THERE WAS JUST SO MUCH GOING ON. I ACTUALLY TOOK ETHAN & RUDY & BELLA TO THE AQUARIUM ON SATURDAY JUST TO GET THEM AWAY. AND ME AWAY. SUNDAY WAS MUCH BETTER. TRAVIS BARRICADED HIMSELF IN HIS ROOM GETTING HIGH & JERRY WAS HOLED UP IN HIS OFFICE.” SHE LOOKED @ ME & HER EYES WELLED UP. “HE’S 13, KEN. HOW DO WE MAKE IT ’TIL 18? IF HE STICKS AROUND THAT LONG. I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW.”
I DIDN’T HAVE ANY ANSWERS. I JUST PUT MY ARM AROUND SARA & SHE LEANED IN & BAWLED. TEARS WERE COMING SO EASILY OF LATE. AND TRAV WAS JUST THE 1ST TO HIT ADOLESCENCE. WHAT CHALLENGES WLD THE OTHER 3 BRING?
AFTER SHE’D CALMED—AN HR LATER!—I KNEW I CLDN’T LEAVE HER ALONE FOR THE DAY. I’D JUST HAVE TO TRUST THAT CARL WASN’T MESSING UP THE RENO, IGNORING ALL MY REQUESTS (“DEMANDS”, AS HE CALLED THEM). I TOOK HER TO VAN DUSEN GARDENS & LUNCH @ SHAUGHNESSY RESTAURANT. SOMETIMES WHEN THINGS GET TOO BIG, A LITTLE RESPITE IS THE BEST YOU CAN HOPE FOR.