Pt. 4 – For previous posts in the serie – click here.
A weekly serie based on the character Mia – the rebellious one. A single twenty-something woman in search of many things – love not being one of them. Complicated is her middle name.
“Wear something nice. No sweatpants!
We’re celebrating Henrik’s promotion.
Don’t be late this time. – Maddie.”
She’s not one to waste a smiley. Her messages are straightforward, bluntly pointing out my faux pas. The last time she speaks of, I was only five minutes late after she sent me on a wild goose chase for one of those trendy food items she had to have. I don’t remember what it was and frankly I don’t care. For that’s my sister in a nutshell.
On Sundays around noon, she reminds me to be on time. And every Sunday I want to flee the country to avoid our mandatory family dinner.
In advance, mother will ensure that I come, making her arguments on the phone:
“It’s tradition, Mia. Please come.” she’ll plea.
If that didn’t work, playing the deceased-dad/husband-card was usually effective.
“Do it for your dad. I’m sure he would’ve love this idea of us together.”
Knowing all too well that dad wouldn’t care so much. To him, Sundays was a peaceful day with no expectations. He enjoyed his two S – silence and solitude, as do I.
Our Sundays consists of Maddie showing mania and her absurdity behavior to empress. The main focus is color matching and the décor rather than the actual family bonding.
Presentation is everything for her. But I have to admitt that sometimes her gossip would spark up the whole visit.
Today, I would easily cancel but knowing Maddie, it would erupt her whole environment and table system. And I would never hear the end of it.
The house reeks of scented candles. Different flavor each visit. God forbid one should breathe in normal air. Through the tidy and well-organized hallway, I greet Henrik sitting in his office. He’ll be making more money, which means more fancy things for Maddie to buy.
I make my way through a maze of doors and into their modern, shiny Ikea kitchen . She told me the name of the color and model but I forgot on purpose.
Mother sits and watch at the kitchen table. That’s all anyone’s allowed to do; watch and admire her effort, creativity and perfectionism.
She looks at her watch when I enter and shouts “Look who decided to show up.”
“I’m not late, Maddie. Don’t start.” I order “I’m not in the mood.”
“Another late night from partying so hard?” she mocks.
“Where are the kids?” I ask to prevent more questions.
“In the playroom.”
I leave to go play with the kids – the highlights of my Sundays. Behind me Maddie yells,
“Dinner’s in ten.”
After dinner, I’m tempted to collapse into a comatose sleep as I rest my head on the sofa. The living-room must have at least a dozen shades of the color white.
I look at the time on my phone and to my disappointment; it’s only been an hour therefore too early to leave. I notice another missed call, ten minutes ago.
He must be eager to talk.
The doorbell makes a screeching sound which distracts me from my thoughts and urge to call him back. Not now.
Maddie yells out “Who is it, honey?”
When Henrik enters the living-room, he’s not alone.
“Look who is here, Maddie.”
My stare is fixed on him. Holy crap! What is he doing here.
My mouth gapes open as I see his face. I don’t blink. Heartbeat racing. I turn away in attempt to hide the shock on my face but my heart leaps to see him again and gaze into his eyes. Get a grip!
I bow my head to avoid eye contact. Maddie rushes over to greet him.
“Nicholas. How are you?”
“I’m fine.” he says taking a quick glance at my direction, also surprise to see me here. “Congratulation on your promotion, Henrik.”
“Thank you. Rumors travels fast.”
“Around here, always.”
“Ugh, where are my manners. Nicholas, meet my mother, Anne and my little sister Mia.”
“Hi, nice to meet you.” I say as we share a handshake. Pretending I had not just slept with him less than 48 hours ago and met his wife.
“Pleasure’s all mine.”
Maddie asks is he wants to stay for dessert and I’m glad he politely declines.
“I just stopped by to return Henrik’s tool box I borrowed a while back.”
Henrik walks Nicholas out.
A few minutes later, Maddie is eager to explain. And I’m anxious to listen. The queen of whispers and scandals prepares her story.
“Nicholas is our neighbor from across the street.” she reveals. “Well, ex-neighbor.”
I listen to her gossip and wonder how she manages to stay up-to-date with all the marital problems amongst her neighbors. But her story is compelling and I show a casual curiosity for her continuation. Her face lights up and she gladly continues the tale of Nicholas and his wife Camilla.
Rumor has it that Camilla cheated on him with his best friend last year. They tried to work things out but couldn’t, three months ago he moved out of the family house across the street.
“…and apparently, he’s been having an affair of his own!” she eagerly informs.
“Oh, how do you know this?” mother asks.
Good question mother.
“Mrs. Erikson–” she says “they went out on Friday night, celebrating their anniversary when they saw Nicholas striding the streets with another woman. A brunette! His wife is a blonde.”
Apparently being a brunette, the color of my hair, is so shocking amongst housewives. I can’t help but think if Mrs. Erikson would recognize me amongst the streets of bored housewives and storytellers.
My phone vibrates alerting me – one new message.
“It was nice seeing you again. – Nicholas”
“The pleasure’s all mine.”