Monday, April 11, 2011

Chapter 75: Jorge Sees the Leaden Thing

Thurs, December 3, 2074 5:27 pm: Arbormoor Manor- Arbormoor, Pleasantview


Behind him, Jorge heard the high chair tray table snapping shut around his step-granddaughter. Oona had been in full flow from the moment she walked in the door but her speech was cut short by the task of getting Estella settled. Jorge sucked a bit of peanut ginger sauce from his thumb and forefinger then continued to stir.

“So the therapist tells me that Conrad has like, ‘separation anxieties’ or something. And I’m all like, ‘Well what the hell does that mean?’ I can’t get a un-divorce. And it’s not like he never sees his father. Conrad and Estella are up at Ripp’s place like three days a week. But the therapist says that maintaining an imaginary friendship is like a normal coping… thing. Like a thing that kids do. You know. Like a strategy. And I'm sitting here starting to feel like maybe this is my fault or something. And maybe if I had just tried harder I could have made it work. I could be screwing up my kids for life, you know?” Jorge opened the cabinet beneath him and discarded an onion peel. He could feel Oona's eyes glued to the back of his head but he didn't know what sort of a response she expected from him. He scooped a handful of shallots into the mixing bowl. "Did Cully ever talk to invisible old ladies when he was that age? Because seriously, even Conrad's choice of imaginary friend seems weird as all get-out. An old woman in a tattered dress? I mean, don't most little boys think up imaginary friends that are other boys or animals or talking cars or something?" Oona crossed the threshold between them and peered over Jorge's shoulder to inspect his work.


"Cully was never a very imaginative child," he said. Oona placed both hands on the edge of the counter. She teetered back and forth, lost in her own thoughts.

"No, I guess he wasn't. Remember that one time we all went camping? Donna tried to teach him the constellations and he just busted out crying because he couldn't force himself to see them?" Jorge made an affirmative grunt as he poured the dressing over the bok choy. Oona hugged his arm close to her chest and leaned her head against the crook of his neck. Her hair was soft and sponge-like against his ear. "I know I'm not prefect but I try to be a good mom. I try to shelter my kids from all the negative stuff that grown-ups have to deal with. But at the end of the day, I can't even protect them from my own bullshit."


Jorge began tossing his utensils into the sink. Oona lifted her head from his. They shared a brief glance before Jorge removed the bowl from the counter.

"After everything that I've put my son through over the years, I can't be the one to tell you how to raise yours."

"Well, no but--" Jorge turned around and with his free hand, took her gently by the wrist.

"This spring, the Tellermans are going to begin tilling the old vineyard. I don't exactly know what that will do for my stress levels. So just on the off chance that this might not play out so well for me, I am agreeing to send Cully to his grandmother. I don't know how to fix what my problems do to my son. All I know is avoidance." Oona's face went stony. She had a way about her at certain moments where Jorge could look into her eyes and see just how much she was her father's child. There was something leaden at the center of her. He handed over the bowl. "Do me a favor and help set the table."


  1. Sorry about the shortness but this is really just a set-up for Chapter 76.

    Also, sorry about the kitchen.

  2. I don't think I can complain about shortness without being a hypocrite ;)

    So Cully's really going away :( I hope Laurie can visit him...

    Is that Horace in the preview? We saw him with Oona in the first chapter, didn't we? I wonder what's going on there. I wonder if it has something to do with whatever Addison is up to? I guess we'll see :)

  3. Yes, Laurie can visit him! (And will, methinks.) Laurie's life is probably going to get a little complicated before that happens though.

    *Showers Van with karma points* That IS Horace in the preview and we DID see him with Oona in the first chapter and ADDISON most definitely! *evil laughter*

  4. I love the way you contrast tossing utensils around with a conversation about seeing 'imaginary' old women. And that final sequence...tilling the vineyard and the way you describe Oona. The leaden thing. Oh my god, good and CREEPY.

    I can't see Laurie NOT visiting him.

  5. Thanks Beth! And you are absolutely right-- Laurie would run away from home if he had to! (Or rather he would at this point. Things in his home might be making a turn for the worse around the time that Cully leaves. *gulp*)