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.
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.
He makes the funniest faces.
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!”
Shea assures me that all he really needs is love and attention.
“Plants are easy,” he says. “Love us and we grow.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.