Would she ever shut up?
“I really would like fish with all those vegetables. Any other meat would be just too heavy, don’t you think, Arlene?”
Arlene would have none of it. No fish. No vegetables. She only had tongue for George and Florence.
“Susan says they have done it several times,” she hints.
You have done it one too many times, thinks Amy. I’m not getting dragged around this kitchen floor again. Stiffening slightly, she rises and goes deliberately to the window. Cathy and Rider are playing in the sandbox. The thought briefly crosses her mind that someday someone might be talking about THEM just as their mother was trying to talk about George and Florence. She wishes they would have an argument or something, anything to turn off this torturous tango. But the children play on.
“I’m sure Susan wouldn’t lie, would she, Amy?”
Would she . . . ? Oh no, I’m letting her lead. Fish. What kind of fish? Some salmon? No. It might be too filling. Some sole? That would be nice, with a light sauce.
“Didn’t you hear me, Amy? Where is your mind? Are you paying any attention?”
“I’m sorry, Arlene. The meal tomorrow night has been more important to me than much of anything else I’m afraid.”
Afraid, my eye -- I’m terrified. The last time she dragged me into one of these conversations, my heart ached for a long time.
“What do you think of sole?”
“Sole? You are out of it, my dear. Anyway, the afternoon is slipping away. Call the kids for me, won’t you. I need to slip down the hall and then I really must run.”
Amy wondered if it was too soon to relax. Yes, it was. Words still rung in her ears, fragments about George and Florence, jarring, acid-etched fragments. As soon as Arlene is out the door she must turn on the radio. No, a tape. If I don’t play some praise and sing along, I’ll start to tango without her.
“Lord, teach me to be reverent in the way I live, not to slander, not to sit around drinking coffee and getting caught in the trap of the tango . . . that my life might glorify your Word.” (Titus 2:3,5)
by Elsie Montgomery