Whisper 1.35

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We invite Marigold’s “mutual crush” to one of our parties.

“Mom, I think I’m over it,” Marigold says. “He never talks to me or even looks at me. I sort of want a crush who at least acknowledges I’m alive.”

“Maybe he’s shy,” I say.

But when he takes a spot in the middle of the dance floor and spins a move, I think he’s not shy after all.

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He is very cute. I wonder if he’s showing off for Marigold, hoping that she’ll make the first move.

Bobobo has become a toddler.

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He makes the funniest faces.

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I call Shea now and then to check in and give him updates. I still feel a little unsure of caring for a plant baby, and I want to do the right thing.

“Sometimes he’s cross-eyed,” I tell Shea.

“Always?” Shea asks.

“No, just sometimes.”

“He’s probably messing with you,” Shea says. “No worries!”

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Shea assures me that all he really needs is love and attention.

“Plants are easy,” he says. “Love us and we grow.”

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Marigold takes him from me as I wrap up the phone conversation.

“He’s sleepy, Mom,” she says. “Let me put him down for a nap.” She’s such a good sister.

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I look at our friends gathered at our party. Arkvoodle, dressed like a 19th Century gentleman, reminds me how old we’ve become, this circle of friends and I.

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Every night, I wish on the first star that I’ll make it until Bobobo enters school and Marigold graduates, and longer, if possible. But at least if I make it until then, she won’t be strapped caring for a toddler while still in high school. Mara Nix has agreed to be the children’s guardian, if anything happens to me before then, but I know Marigold. She would take the bulk of the family responsibilities–that’s just how she is.

I look up from my revery to see Frank and Hetal slow-dancing. Now that’s a surprise. Frank still regularly sends me love notes and asks me out, even though he knows I’ll regularly ignore the notes and decline the dates. I think he’s long accepted my decision to be faithful to Dante, in spite of the spark of attraction and deep friendship between Frank and me. I can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy when I see him looking deep into Hetal’s eyes, with the smallest, sweetest smile. But I shake it off. It’s good to see him happy.

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“Thanks for a great party, Mrs. Tea,” says Chet as the guests are leaving.

“It’s Ms. Tea . Or you can call me Cathy,” I say. “Would you like to stay for supper, Chet? It would give you and Marigold a chance to visit.”

“No, thank you, ma’am,” he says. “I best be getting home so I can do my homework. But you thank your daughter for opening up her home for me.”

“Ok, Chet,” I say, thinking what an usual mutual crush this is, indeed.

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