Ch. 12 Unnerved by Becky's impending visit, Mara visits Windy. Windy tells Mara that she doesn't have to buy what Becky is selling and asks if Mara's friendship with Becky is worth the energy she's spending on it.
Sunday, August 22, 2021
The Other Side (short fiction) Ch. 13 by Leanne Dyck
After cleaning and tidying the house, I went outside to lose my worry in the blue sky. I noticed some leaves had blown in from the neighbour's yard. Everything had to look perfect for Becky. I found the rake and was making a tidy little pile when...
The sound of car tires crushing gravel announced that Becky and her gang had arrived.
I leaned the rake against the fence. Rusty came bounding through the pile of leaves, heading right for me--teeth first. My legs felt like jelly. He growled. I started to tremble. But then I heard Windy. It was like she was right beside me. And I just repeated everything she said.
"Hey, dog-gie, mellow out." My voice was calm.
His growl became a whimper. Rusty tilted his head slowly from side to side. He wagged his tail; he licked my hand.
"Mara, what are you doing to my puppy?" Becky rounded the corner of the house. "Poor, old Rusty." She massaged his left ear. "What was she doing to you?" She looked at me with steel eyes. "Well, let's see this precious house of yours."
Rusty led the way up the stairs, I opened the kitchen door and he raced inside.
Becky stood in the doorway and stared at my brand new stove. "That stove looks new."
"Yes, I think--."
She left the kitchen and went into the dining/living room. "Yeah, I guess it's okay."
O...kay. From her, that was a huge compliment.
"But, honestly, Mara. Even you can do better than this. A futon...? And... Where are the binoculars? I want to watch TV," she snickered.
"Wake up. No. The TV's tiny and it's all the way on the other side of this enormous room. Are you a college kid? Is this a dorm room? And what's up with these walls? You need to paint them, immediately." She ran two fingers down the wall. "You choose this putrid colour?"
"I...um...I thought it contrasted nicely with the carpet."
"Contrast? What do you know about contrast? Please. Do you think you're an Interior Designer?" She snickered. "Trust me, you're not." She signed. "But don't worry. I'll help you." She picked up an end of the futon and pulled it into the room. "See, it looks better already. Angling furniture minimizes space. Meaning, it helps a large room appear smaller. And in this cavernous barn that's what you need."
Laughter drifted up from Owen's office. At least, the guys were having fun.
In the middle of the stairs, I called up to Becky. "Let's see what our husbands are doing?"
"But we've just begun to transform this space. You do know how much you need my help, don't you?"
I heard Windy say, you don't have to buy what she's selling. "Hmm...a...not really. I mean not right now." I felt so good, so free, that I bounced down the stairs, into Owen's office.
What sounded like World War III erupted from the computers.
Tom grabbed his chest. "Oh, you got me."--and laughed.
Feeling victorious, Owen greeted me with a broad smile. "What's up?"
"Becky and I just--."
"What's down here?"
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Becky heading down the hall to the laundry room.
I raced after her. "Nothing. You don't want to go in there. It's so boring."
Soon we were all standing in the laundry room.
Becky had an enormous grin plastered across her face. "It looks like a boring laundry room now but we know it's history. Don't we, Tom?" She swept her hand at the ceiling. "Remember the grow lights hung there?"
"Grow light?" Owen just stared at the ceiling. "We were told that the racks were for storage."
"I knew this house looked familiar," Tom said.
"Do you believe it? Straight edge Mara's dream home was a grow op." Becky laughed.
I fought back tears. "How do... How do you know?"
"How do I know? Because, duh, I bought MJ here." The words bubbled out of her like champagne.
"MJ?" I asked.
"Marijuana," Owen said, "So that's why we got such a good deal on rent."
"That's why." Her smile stretching from ear to ear to chin to forehead. "I can't wait to tell Linda and Colleen and Angie and Heather and... and... Oh, we'll be talking about this for years."
I squared my shoulders and stood up straight. "It doesn't matter what this room, what this house was," I told all four of them. "Now it's my home. And I like... No, I love living here."
"What was the name of the woman who ran the grow op?" Becky asked.
"Huh. It's been too long," Tom said, "Michelle?"
"No, that's not it. Didn't her name start with a 'W'?"
"Wendy," he guessed.
"Windy," they said in unison. "Because she farted all the time." They laughed.
"Huh? I wonder what happened to her?" Tom asked.
Where was Windy? Only I knew and I wasn't telling anyone.
Every Sunday and Wednesday in August
from Sunday, August 1 to Wednesday, August 25
I will continue to publish installments of
The Other Side
Sunday, August 29
Skinny Legs and All