Two of a Kind Part 10
Yes I know. My head is bowed in shame—not really, but it sounds melodramatic and literary—-I have left Melanie, Eleanor and Porter hanging in limbo. You know sometimes I amaze even myself—Lol—-I wrote’ limbo and—instant flashback of dancing under the limbo stick. Oh my! Oh my! If I had a couple of umbrella drinks and was seized with a sudden inexplicable fancy to limbo, I would soon be meeting an EMT’s up close and personal. Okay back on track—-yikes visions running around a track jumping hurdles has taken control of my mind. Frankly I never made peace with hurdles in high school. It might be best to leave writing this blog segment until my mind decides to stay with the agenda. Breathe. Focus. Breathe. Oooommmm. Okay, I’m ready.
Here’s a retro synopsis as a reminder.
Eleanor Payton is a childless, single, 47 year old professional woman, who is happy with her life. Out of the blue she is informed her cousin, Margo Morgan, whom she hasn’t seen in years, has died of a drug overdose in the Bahamas. In the event of her death Margo consigned the sole guardianship of her daughter Melanie to Eleanor. Eleanor is astounded. A drug overdose is unimaginable. Margo came from a rich family and lived a larger than life. Melanie’s father is dead and all of Margo’s money has disappeared. As it turns out the lawyer, Thomas Wilham, has the six year old child literally sitting in a waiting room at the same time Eleanor is advised of the situation. Making it quite clear she has no experience with children and her current life style has no room to include children, Eleanor refuses to take the responsibility A problem arises because currently there are no foster homes available or even a temporary nanny. When leaving the lawyer’s office Eleanor catches a glimpse of the sad bedraggled little girl. So she relented and agreed to take two weeks vacation and bring Melanie home with her. As an added surprise Melanie is lugging a mysterious basket, which happens to contain Porter a kingly orange tabby cat. Melanie is a solemn child who respectfully calls Eleanor, Miss, despite Eleanor repeatedly telling her to call her Eleanor. Eleanor introduces Melanie to libraries, clothes shopping, sundaes and the fun of cooking. Eleanor has expectations a foster family will have two parents and will be a forever family. In addition she is adamant Melanie be enrolled in a private school not only because is she bright, but additionally Eleanor wants to ensure Melanie is treated individually because of her circumstances. Tom is invited to dinner to discuss the situation. It’s a fun evening. Melanie is very relaxed with Tom, which makes Eleanor mildly jealous. Eleanor discovers she likes Tom as a person which is bothersome to her. Lastly Tom brings her up to speed about the realities of the foster care system—often only a single woman is the parent, it’s not necessarily long term and definitely private school is out of the question. Eleanor is NOT pleased.
Coffee cup in hand Eleanor found herself pacing the floor in the pre-light of morning. Time, that wily devil, had slipped by in rush toward the two week finish line, when Melanie would be leaving. Only two days and one night remained. It will be great when my life streams back to normal. Why did normal now equate to boring? I love my job. Do I really? Of course I do. Stop being ridiculous. Even though Melanie is a quiet child, it will be even quieter around here. That’s how I like it, quiet—quiet as a tomb. Yeah, don’t forget the cat. No cat boxes and penetrating stares. No more purrs and no warm body trying to wedge itself in between my hip and the side of chair.
Yes ma’am I’m going to be one happy woman in two days. My weepiness is merely a small case of PMS. It’s that simple. End of story. I’ll visit of course. She’s family. I should be happy. I am happy. Eleanor flung herself on to the couch and splashing coffee down the front of her housecoat.
“Bloody hell,” she said as she mopped the spill with a tissue from her pocket.
“What’s wrong, miss,” said Melanie wandering into the living room in her fuzzy pink bath coat and carrying her well-loved worn bear. Porter rubbed against her legs.
“Oh nothing. I was just annoyed I spilled my coffee down my front,” said Eleanor. “What are you two doing up so early?”
Melanie climbed up on the couch and snuggled against Eleanor’s side. Not to be left out Porter jumped up and stationed himself on her lap. “We couldn’t sleep anymore.”
“Oh why is that? Did you have another bad dream?” Eleanor stroked Melanie’s hair out of her eyes with one hand and absent mindedly petted Porter with the other.
“No Miss,” said Melanie. Porter purred. The grandfather clock ticked and tocked counting the passing minutes.
“Miss,” said Melanie in a muffled tone.
“Yes,” said Eleanor.
“When do I have to leave?”
Eleanor’s solar plexus tightened. “You’re not really leaving. You’ll still live here in the city just with another family. There will other kids and a mommy and maybe a daddy. Won’t that be nice? I’ll come to visit. Maybe some weekends you can stay overnight with me.”
The grandfather clock continued to tick and tock, but Porter had ceased purring and was staring at Melanie.
Reaching down to again brush the hair out of Melanie’s face, Eleanor felt the dampness of silent tears.
Now what in bloody hell am I suppose to do now? I’m floundering here in deep water without a life jacket. Hold on here. If I’m drowning, what about Melanie? She’s a child. I’m an adult who needs to breathe deeply and keep a steady hand on the tiller.
“Miss, can I take my books with me?”
“Of course you can take your books and the new clothes I bought you. Mr. Bear and Porter will be with you. I’ll call you often to find out what’s been happening at school. You’ll love school. Before you know it you’ll be so happy in your new home, I’ll have to beg you to come and visit me.”
Melanie snuggled deeper against Eleanor’s side, making herself even smaller. “If I’m very quiet, always make my bed and brush my teeth, do you think I might stay here?”
The coffee in Eleanor’s stomach roiled and burned like battery acid. Eleanor lifted Melanie’s chin with her fingers, “Melanie you are perfect just the way you are. I have no experience as a Mom. You need a real family with other kids and a stay at home mom, not a single person like me who works all day. If I was going to have a little girl in my life, I would pick you. I would consider to myself to be the luckiest woman on the planet.” My throat was choking like I had swallowed a hardboiled egg whole.
“ Hey, look outside the window. Pink is streaking across the sky and scooting under and over the clouds. Mr. Sun is stretching his arms and rising. It’s another wonderful day for us to spend together.”
Eleanor jumped up dumping Porter unceremoniously on to the carpet. ” Let’s start the day off with a mighty fine breakfast—-with even a nibble for you too Porter.” Eleanor grabbed Melanie’s hand and led her into the kitchen. Porter followed on their heels.
“Let’s see here,” said Eleanor. ” I have two cookbooks which specialize in breakfast. Let’s find something absolutely fabulous to eat and fun to prepare. Then let’s go the zoo today. How does that sound?”
“I’ve never been to a real zoo, but I’ve seen pictures in books,” said Melanie.
“What! Well we’re fixing that gap in your experiences today. You won’t believe it.”
“Miss?” said Melanie. “Can Tom come too?”
Feeling a jerk of surprise Eleanor wasn’t sure how she felt about having Tom tag along. She would rather have Melanie to herself, but that was selfish and possessive. It was Saturday. However maybe Tom didn’t spend his Saturdays alone. Yet how could she deny such a small request from Eleanor, who rarely asked for anything. “After breakfast I will call him, but for now let’s pick out what we want to cook for breakfast.”
To Be Continued—
The following are some of the OUTSTANDING dishes, Eleanor and Melanie considered! I could easily eat all of them with gusto!!!!