Why don't you ask him if he's going to stay?Even most of the boys have switched to jeans and flannel shirts tonight.
Why don't you ask him if he's going away?
It's cool, cold almost. A good night for a bonfire but we're not permitted bonfires due to being in the fourth week of a summer dry spell from the rain. Everyone seems to have dressed appropriately, however. Everyone is having fun. The dinner part is winding down now, latecomers milling around the barbecue while PJ serves up steaks and grilled cobs of corn and assorted goodies, my portobello mushroom caps that were a big hit as veggie burgers for the non-meat lovers. I know Schuyler can handle dessert and refilling coffees and lemonades and Chris will look after the beer and wine crowd.
Ben has taken centre stage with his acoustic down on the lawn with some of the older neighbors, all closet guitar players, it seems. I can hear them playing Tusk through the open window. My neighbor with the hydrangea (her garden makes me green with envy) is singing, God bless her heart.
I think the neighbors are all relieved, frankly.
We are nice people.
Not goat-sacrificers nor drug peddlers. Folks who worry about their dahlias and run out of propane and make kickass blackberry coffee cake just like they do, simply with unconventional jobs. And now they can also get the tour and understand the amount of space we have, that Lochlan has his own wing, distinct and apart from ours, as does August, and that Schuy and Daniel's apartment downstairs is darling, and possibly already better decorated than most of the expensive homes that circle the bay. That we all pitch in and look after the house and the garden, the vineyard and the orchard too, that we obey the speed limits and that the house is spotless. Oh, they looked, trust me. They see that my children are coddled and loved but also given limits, and have better manners than any of us. That we are well-read and cultured and travelled and not scary or gossipy in the least.
At least I hope so. The rumblings got back to me quickly when we moved in. The people who live up here are as protective of their neighborhood, of their peace and quiet, beautiful landscape and their way of life as are we, and so it was easy for us to choose this area. Even the bikes have been well-received, considering how loud they can be. The neighbors are discreet, in other words. We keep our privacy as long as we keep our decorum. That's so easy it's dumb.
They are sympathetic as well, upon hearing of some of what we have gone through, and I am protective of my reactions and so that's why right now I'm not so much hiding out as I'm taking a moment to breathe, away from everyone, because I can't deal with an endless parade of people exclaiming in hushed whispers that I seem to be doing well when they don't know me at all, and that I'm so young to have been through so much, when they don't know the half of it.
I don't want to hear that. A little understanding is fine, a wet blanket of pity and respect is more than I can bear. I'm permitted to hide for five more minutes and then I know August will knock gently on his door, since I commandeered his den, and I'll head back out into the night to have some more wine and maybe some strawberries if there are any left. I'll watch Caleb dance with Ruth and watch Lochlan watch me watching them while he pretends to be interested in the girl he brought tonight (because just ARRRRRRRRRGHHHHH) and watch Ben watch all of us with his usual casual interest that misses nothing while he seems to miss everything.
None of this has gotten past him, I assure you, and while he's content to bring down his hammer on affection that I traded freely once for security, his patience has worn thin. He is also anxious for life to begin, we have been stuck in limbo too long thus far.
I've stayed here too long as well, there's my knock now. Time to bring out the goats and drugs and freak the fuck out of everyone, I guess.
We don't do drugs.
I still want a goat, though.