The next morning, Rita entered the kitchen as Cathryn finished her coffee. Her mother resembled something out of a zombie movie—puffy red eyes, sallow complexion, walking stiffly as if it hurt to be upright. She also wore the sour stench of alcohol-induced vomit.
“Where are you going so early on a Saturday?” Rita asked.
“It’s Thursday, Mother. I’m going to work.”
Rita weaved toward the coffee pot.
Cathryn’s hand shot out automatically to catch her mother if she fell. “Mom, are you all right?”
“I’m fine. A little headache.” Rita reached into the cabinet for a mug, and then pushed the curtain back to look outside. “Whose car is that in the driveway? Tell me you do not have a man in this house.” Her mother’s lips pressed together.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I bought a car last night.” A man. As if she would be stupid enough to bring a man home.
“A car?” Rita poured coffee, added sugar, and milk. “What are you going to do with the broken one? You should have just had that one fixed instead of wasting your money on a new one.” She slurped her coffee.
“I plan on having it fixed. I just haven’t had the time.” Cathryn picked up her coffee cup and took the last sip. She didn’t need an argument this morning to ruin the rest of her day.
“Well, don’t think you’re going to turn my home into a junk yard. Call Steven.” Rita walked to the first cabinet at the end of the counter and opened the door.
Steven? Who was Steven?
“What did you do with the Tylenol? I always keep it right here.” Her mother glared at her.
Cathryn walked to the second cabinet next to the sink. “Here,” she said and handed her the container. The Tylenol had always been kept in the second cabinet to the left of the sink, in front of the sugar bowl and coffee filters.
“Cathryn, please don’t move my belongings. How will I find anything?”
“Yes, Mother.” Cathryn rinsed her mug and placed it in the dishwasher.
“Those are clean,” Rita said. “I did them last night.”
Cathryn looked at the dishes, then at her mother. “No, Mother. They aren’t. See?” She pulled out her plate from the night before. It still had lo mein sauce on the rim.
“Cathryn, I run the dishwasher every night after supper.”
“Mother, you weren’t home last night for supper. You went to
. Remember? You didn’t come home
until nine o’clock and you went straight to bed.” Twin River
Rita clenched her jaw. “Don’t be absurd. Why would I go to...” Suddenly, the light must have dawned. Rita moved gingerly to the table in front of the windows, sat down, and buried her face in her hands. “I thought you were going to work.”
Should she leave her mother alone? Cathryn glanced at the clock. Seven-thirty. Maybe she should work from home. “Um, yeah. But only for a little while. They’re fumigating the offices,” she lied. “I’m just going in to get my notes and work from home.”
Rita waved her hand. “Fine. But don’t think I’m going to cater to you. I have things to do today.”
“Yes, Mother,” Cathryn said. The only thing her mother was capable of doing that day was sleep it off. “I’ll be back in a little while.”
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Copyright 2015 Robynne Rand