Monday, September 29, 2008


His frank response let her blink away the tears. "Well, you brought coffee so I do thank you. I suppose you could have brought sunshine. That might help more." She was able to produce a smile, wobbly but an attempt.

He looked up over the field. "Charley and Emma seem to do well together, don't they?"

Kathleen wasn't quite ready to leave her pain. There was another part she hadn't shared and she needed to get it said, out in the open. "The worst thing about getting left, dumped, isn't just missing him. It means I can't see his little girl anymore. I love Ashley. I thought we were building a strong family. Now she's just gone, out of my life for good. I can hardly stand that."

Maybe Ashley was more important than her father. I mean, you aren't a kid that can have a big flock of children. You might have been thinking of her as a way to have a head start on a family."

Angry, Kathleen found herself speechless.

He looked at her face, "I didn't say that very well did I? I'd hate to have my kids be more important to my woman than I was. That's all I meant. I don't even know if that was true, I was just talking."

"Well, it wasn't true. We'd dated two or three times before I even knew he had a daughter. I went out with him because I liked him."

"Liked him better than anyone else? Or was it the daughter that narrowed the field?"

"You don't even know what you're talking about."

"I know. I'm just letting you know that you can't have me for my kits."

"What? I can't believe you said that. I don't want you, kids or no kids. Who do you think you are anyhow?"

"Hold your horses. I'm just trying to be funny, cheer you up a little. Besides, I'm not such a bad proposition. That is, for someone who doesn't mind being confined by young children."

"Well you aren't funny. You're making me mad."

He laughed at her sputtering, "Better than crying, isn't it?

She didn't bother to give him an answer he didn't deserve, she called Emma and started to the car. Emma, seeing Kathleen headed out the gate, came running. As Kathleen backed the car out and pulled toward the drieway, he stood watching with Charley sitting at his feet. He gave a last minute wave but she didn't respond.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I'm out and about a lot on my job. Where do you work? Maybe I could arrange a coffee delivery on Monday."

Kathleen thought about how miserable she felt and how irritating he'd been, "Don't bother, really. I have an office at home so I take care of my own coffee."

"Have it your way lady. I'd like to make amends but it sounds like you'd rather stew. Sorry I offended you."

Kathleen knew he hadn't meant his last comment but she backed her car out to leave the parking lot as he was obviously fastening children in car seats. She knew she'd been barely courteous, she just didn't feel like making the extra effort to be nice to anyone right now. She wanted to punish somebody, better him than Emma.

Besides, he was another redhead. He was better looking than Steve, probably just as unfeeling, or maybe more so. She did wonder, for a second or two, what he was so unhappy about but shut that thought out of her mind.

The next Saturday, Kathleen decided to go back to the dog park. Her coworkers had been nice. Too nice really, whenever she talked to them or ran into the main office to pick up or deliver another project. She'd passed on the word of her big breakup with Steve to Joyce, her best friend, and left it to her to spread the word. Joyce had obviously covered all the bases because the people who knew her well enough expressed sympathy. Those who didn't were careful not to mention her personal life at all. That worked well, she didn't cry in public all week, only to her mother on the phone. One more week down, she would get through another Saturday. It wasn't even raining, just cloudy and grey.

She got an earlier start but repeated the drive of the week before. When she arrived at the park, there were a couple of cars parked but none she remembered from the week before. She let Emma out of the car and the dog bounded off, recognizing the freedom immediately. Kathleen made her way to the benches and sat o watch Emma explore. Suddenly there was a streak across the field and Emma was joined by a Basset. Before Kathleen turned to look fo Charley's owner, he appeared beside the bench carrying two coffee cups. He handed one to Kathleen with a smile. "I hope you like a Latte. These are very good."

Surprised, Kathleen accepted the cup, "Thank you. I do like a Latte if it isn't too sweet."

"I don't like mine sweet either. I had these done with no extra flavor although chocolate-brandy is very good. I treat myself to one every once in awhile."

"Where are the kids this morning? They are yours aren't they?"

"Oh yes, the twins are mine. My mother's in town this weekend. She comes in every couple of weeks. She says it's to get her fix of grandchildren time. I think it's more to save my sanity."
Taking a sip, he went on, "I knew I was probably too old when I finally decided I wanted to be a father but I was afraid I was going to miss something important in my life. I was right about that much anyhow. I needed that pair. I just chose the wrong person to make me a father. She was a bright young thing who loved the idea for about the five minutes it took to do the deed. She even liked the attention she got when she was pregnant and about the first six weeks of motherhood. After that she saw a brighter future beckoning that didn't include raising twins. She left when they were babies, almost three years ago."

"It seems like you should be used to handling the situation by now."

He snorted, almost choking on his coffee. "A lot you know. The twins are not gentle, well behaved little dolls. They don't handle easily. They're live wire, curious, active, fearless imps. There's nothing routine about living with them."

"I could tell you were pretty upset the other morning. What had they done so bad?"

"It wasn't exactly them that morning. I was a little edgy. Not that the sword business wasn't irritating, it was. I over-reacted. " He gave Kathleen a look that she'd have labeled sheepish in any language, "I'd been dating a very attractive, interesting woman and she dumped me. U couldn't find a baby sitter for Saturday night so I couldn't take her to the concert she'd planned on. She said she was past the age where she wanted to be confined with young children, even once in awhile so I should find someone else. Maybe one of my eager young students."

He shook his head, "I'm not interested in taking that route again. I was ready to settle down, create a family. I just chose a partner in the wrong age group. She didn't have enough experience to know what she wanted."

Kathleen listened without comment and watched Emma and Charley chasing. Emma seemed to hold her own with Charley.

"So how about you? Do you have children? A husband? What?"

Kathleen found her eyes swimming without warning. "No. No children. No husband. Not even a what right now. I pretty much go dumped myself and I'm having trouble dealing with it."

They sat silent for awhile. He finally mommented, "I guess I should say I'm sorry. I am sorry you got hurt. I don't think I was as involved this time. I was more mad than hurt. I don't suppose my being sorry makes it any better but I don't know anything else to say."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No Rainbows cont.

Kathleen looked around and spotted a couple of benches part way down the field so headed down the gravel path toward them. A pair of children came through some bushes at the edge of the path, a little girl running and shrieking with a boy about the same size chasing her with what looked to be a sword.

Kathleen expected the little girl to veer when she got close and wasn't braced to have the small body bump into her. She sat hard with the little girl sprawled on top. The boy barely got himself stopped without adding to the pile.

She stood the little girl up as soon as the boy shifted and then got up herself. Kathleen realized the back of her legs, her sea, and her jacket were soaked. Feeling the tears ready to start again, she bit her lip and looked around to see where Emma had disappeared. Coming through the bushes now was a Basset followed by an upset looking male, just about to be greeted by a bounding, happy Emma.

The Basset responded to Emma's joy by running to chase her but the man kept coming toward Kathleen. "Kelly ran into the rain lady," the boy announced.

The man ran unsympathetic eyes over Kathleen, taking in the wet clothes. "Looks like you should have moved."

Matching the unfriendly tone, Kathleen replied, "I would have if I'd realized she was too busy looking behind to see me. She seemed worried about the sword coming after her."

"Jamey, were you chasing Kelly with the sword?"

Jamey looked at the ground without answering.

"OK. I warned you. Give me the sword."

"Daddy, please. I won't chase her with it anymore. I promise."

"We had this same talk twice this morning already. Two times you promised and then you forgot. I have to take it this time."

"Can I have it back tomorrow?"

"No. It has to go in the trash can. You just aren't old enough to handle it."

Jamey started to cry and Kathleen turned to move away, but Emma, with the Basset in hot pursuit, charged into the group. This time it was an upset father that got sat down in the pooling water. Getting up, he glared at Kathleen, "Can't you control your dog, lady?"

"As well as you can control your children, or your dog!"

"Well, I sure don't need some damn woman telling me how to do either one."

That was too much for Kathleen, she burst into angry tears and was forming the words to tell him just what she thought but swallowed them when she saw Kelly's face.

Kelly looked at Kathleen and then at her angry father and began wailing.

"Oh hell! Lady, I'm sorry I snapped at you. My morning has been lousy."

"Daddy, you told me not to say that, never." Jamey exclaimed, "Daddy said a bad word--bad word--bad word."

"OK, Jamey, that's enough. Kelly you stop crying now." He gave Kathleen a hopeless look.

"Please lady, would you stop too. I can't handle this. What's wrong with you anyhow?"

Kathleen drew in a breath, clenching her fists. "The only thing wrong with me Mister, is you. Your daughter knocked my down and my clothes got soaked. I haven't heard one squeak of apology from you and I have to go clear across town to change before I can finish my errands. Then you stand there and yell at me because your dog is chasing mine." She leaned a little closer and spoke more slowly, "Well, I certainly don't have to put up with any sniveling man yelling at me and I don't intend to. If you'll just control your dog long enough for me to get mine, I'll get out of here and you and your poor children can have the park to yourself."

Kathleen looked down at Kelly and realized the little girl was staring at her with wide-eyed fear. She bit back the rest of what she'd have liked to say to the father and spoke gently to the little girl, "Kelly, I'm sorry we feel down. I hope you didn't get hurt."

Kelly's father looked at her too, "Babe, it's all right. Nothing bad is going to happen. I'll get Charley now. OK?"

Kelly nodded.

He called Charley, and after another swooping run at Emma, the dog came. Holding Charley's collar, the man looked up at Kathleen, "It's up to you now. If you want to go, get your dog."
Kathleen called Emma and started to the car with her.

The man called after her, "My poor children aren't suffering. You can forget that line of attack, it doesn't fly."

Ignoring his comments, she went through the gate into the parking lot. She had Emma in the car and was ready to get in herself when he came into the parking lot with Charley and both children.

He put Charley in the back of a van and then turned around to call to her. "I am sorry. I shouldn't have given you a bad time. I don't seem to be coping well right now."

Kathleen shut her car door and, after wrestling with her own sense of right for a minute or two, rolled down her window. With a rigid jaw that just wouldn't allow a smile, Kathleen called back, "I'm sorry too. I should have handled myself better, controlled the anger." That was as close as she could come to an apology, it would have to do.

"If I weren't so wet and miserable, I'd suggest buying you a coffee and we could commiserate with each other."

"If I weren't so wet and cold, I'd take you up on that." To herself Kathleen added, "when hell freezes over."

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Kathleen gazed out the big window through the steady rain. She could hardly see the bedraggled we garden. Just as well. She let the tears coursing down her face fall unheeded. It would be in about the same shape as she felt, neglected and unwanted. She'd been the one who wanted the garden but Steve had been eager o help her, he loved gardening.
Together they'd picked the seeds and tiny plants, together they'd tended the little plot and together they'd eaten most the produce. Now it was almost frost time and, without warning, Steve was gone. Moved on to someone else.
How could she have been so stupid? It wasn't like she was seventten. She was an educated, intelligent woman, with a successful career. She'd had her share of romances that made her stomach quiver, her pulses race, and her heart pound, but never one where she was so totally involved.
She'd committed her all to this relationship, convinced he cared as much. A year, more than a year,they'd been a twosome. Ofen a threesome when he had Ashley for a visiation weekend and then, suddenly it was over. The thoughts of Ashley caused a new flood of tears. How she missed that little girl. She ached to see her again, hold her, tell her bedtime stories.
She just wouldn't let herself stand at this window weeping all day. The tears weren't going to help. It was up to her to control them, to help herself. There was plenty to do on a Saturday, even if it was raining. She had errands to run, a dog to exercise, even friends she could see. Scolding herself for lapsing into self pity, she moved to get a new start on the day. A long shower with her favorite shower gel, a cold pack on her swollen eyes, and some makeup all helped.
She looked better, almost normal. She even felt better. Next the jeans that showed off her trim build, and a bulky sweathirt. She brushed the super short dark hair off her face and tried to decide where to take her golden lab, for exercise.
She didn't want to go on the usual bike trail, Steve would probably be running there. Maybe the new dog park on the far side of town. She'd seen an article in the paper, she could go take a
look. Emma would love to visit with other dogs if there were any on such a rainy day. She put on her rubber boots and hooded rain jacket, it would be good for both of them to go someplace new.
Leaving the house through the front door to pick up he umbrella from the porch, she almost lost her composure at the sight of the bucket filled with sidewalk chalk sitting there. She'd take it to work with her one of these days and give it to some coworker with children. As soon as she could pick it up without shedding tears. Grabbing the umbrella, she went around the corner of the house to let Emma out of her run.
Emma's joy did a lot to cheer her. Opening the back car door for the dog to jump in, she checked that she had a Frisbee for playtime and her list of chores to do on the way home. She'd been too upset to take care of the weekend chores last week so she'd been disorganized and behind all week. She didn't want that to happen again.
About a half an hour later, she stood in the parking lot to put on her fanny pack and pull her hood up. Three other cars in the lot. Good, Emma would be able to do some running and real play. She let Emma out and called her to follow through the gate. Delighted to be off leash, Emma bounded onto the grassy field.