A life not lived, appropriately. Page 16
You better behave
Debra and Anna arrived on the mark at 2:00. We had better be ready. Debra had issues with tardiness. After all, it was her world; we are simply here for amusement.
We were supposed to be heading to Freeport.
"Jack and Lee are meeting us in Galveston" Debra and I were alone in her truck, while Anna, Jackie and the children drove in our family car.
"What?" I was not prepared for this. "I am not dressed to meet them!"
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you" Debra explained, "It is supposed to be a surprise"
"Are we meeting them to eat?" I asked.
"That and we are staying the weekend with them at the Galvez."
"I have nothing packed" This was going to be a disaster. Jackie had to leave in the morning to go back to Chicago. "What about Jack?"
"What about Jack?" She asked, "Which Jack are you speaking of?"
"You know what Jack" my voice rose in anger "My Jack"
"Oh, it's YOUR Jack." Debra reached for her cigarettes as if on cue. She took her time, the accusation hanging in mid air. She lit the cigarette, holding the wheel with her right hand,she drew in the nicotine, slowly releasing it . Her sarcasm was not lost on nne.
"And about your yelling at me"
"Debra, please tell me, how do I play this game?" I continued, "I was not yelling, if you want me to yell..."
"You better not" she threatened, "I will pull this truck over so fast Jack will plow into my ass"
I was loosing already, not even one month out and we were having our first quarrel. As I look back, we had several quarrels, which I was not privy to.
"Okay, I get it, you don't want to know or hear anything about Jack. Am I Correct?"
“What do you think?" she rolled down the window and blew smoke out the window. "I want you to sit next to me…”
"Absolutely not" I looked out the rearview window "Jack..."
"I know, I know" she interrupted "I’m not stupid. But eventually Dianne you are going to have to deal with this" She continued, "The day is going to come where everyone will know. And as far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better."
There it was the ultimatum. Thing was, she never really issued one. This was her game and she was going to play everyone as she wished.
"And about that I'm going to ride with Jackie nonsense, what the hell was that about?"
"I never said I was going to ride with him. I just assumed, we are a family after all." I stared out the side window, watching Jackie and Anna caught up in their own troubled discussion.
"You just assumed. Well guess what, unassume?"
Did she even know what that meant? Is that even a word? I guess I did in my way. She was showing first true signs of jealousy. There had been other times. At the beach with Jackie, Anna and the kids. At Kindred Spirits with Bootsie. I didn’t know her as I do now and I just assumed those were judgment calls, about straight women, and the situation with Bootsie I attributed to keeping me away from infidelity. Now I know, I looked back and contemplated how strong her reactions were. Did I want this? No doubt. All women want it and they are deceiving themselves if they say they don't. Jealousy is a valid feeling; it keeps unions together by protecting the integrity of you spouse/partner.
"Debra, let it go."
"What the ?!?" she started, but I wasn't having it.
"What are me and the children going to do for clothes?" I was not going to spend what few stolen moments we had arguing about something we could do nothing about.
"This was to be a surprise. Jack brought Lee down her for hers, yours and Trey's birthday" Debra calmed down almost immediately and that was a bit unsettling how quickly. "Lee bought the children new clothes and of course she brought stuff for you"
Lee was always generous with me. Jack was generous when he wanted the children. He couldn't give a flying fuck for me. Lee had wonderful taste, always buying things for me, exactly the same items for Anna, dressing us like twins. Anna never cares and I certainly didn't. I was never close to my sister. Anna was like an only sister to me.
"Anna and you wear the same size, so she packed extra for you in case Lee made bad seasonal choices"
It was ungodly hot already. Just 2 weeks prior Chernobyl had blown a gasket and people still felt, after close to 3 weeks, it could still affect us. Weather services stated the disaster affected the weather. We were having extreme highs over 100 degrees already.
Hopefully, she brought nice cool airy things. But, as Debra said, Anna took care of everything.
I had just realized that was what Anna and Jackie were talking about.
"Anna and Jackie must not be talking about this, with the kids in the car…” I trailed off glancing in the rearview mirror. At once, for one moment, they were both staring at me. It startled me. In seconds, they were both in the throw of conversation, both laughing.
"What’s wrong?" she lit another cigarette. I wished, at that moment, I smoked. "Why are you so jumpy?" She held her cigarette out the window, flicking the ashes, blowing the smoke in that all too familiar Marlboro Man gesture, smoke blowing out the side of her mouth. She was such a clean, almost neurotic person. She too, stared at her rearview mirror. I looked back at mine...and then...again.
"See that? Did you see that Debra'
"Stop!" she barked, "You are acting like a crazy woman. Do you ideally think they have any idea?"
"No, it all feels so sordid"
"Is this the way you're going to be through this trip?" I was sitting back against the truck door, my knees to my chin. She grabbed my right leg and pulled it on to her leg.
She took off her rings and put one of my tapes in the tape player. "I love these mix tapes you make Anna."
I pulled my leg back and with one hand she grabbed both of my ankles and pulled my feet.. 'Behave!"
Soon I forgot about everything, what we were speaking of, what Jackie and Anna are talking about, what Lee and Jack are up to. Everything whirled together into a bubble, flying far above our heads. I was numb to everything but Debra's touch.