Saturday, October 14, 2017

Feel Better--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Sunday, March 3

     “I wanted to let you know about a race I have signed up for and asked Tom to do with me,” JB emailed. “It's the 5K Foam Fest. It's a race combined with obstacles, but not as intense as some other similar races. Lots of kids do it. It looks like fun.
     Tom told me he would it (sic). But I want to talk to him about it a little more and make sure he knows what he's getting into before I sign him up. We will need to do a little training. 
     I am on a team with the Chens, the Muellers and I think Laurel is doing it as well. You could do it too if you want.”

     Perhaps JB, Tom, and I could link arms and cross the finish line as a happy family. Yay!
     I took Tom to band practice and returned home. Blake, who was home for spring break, was on his way out the door.
     “I’m going to the driving range with Dad,” he said.
     “Have a good time.”
     “Thanks,” he said and left.
     I sat on the couch and started crying. I want Blake to have a good relationship with his father. But at the same time, Blake going to hang out with JB had me feeling betrayed. I don’t want to feel like this. It’s horrible.
     I drove to Terry and Laurel’s to get Tom from band practice later. The boys were still downstairs jamming.
     “We’re trying to figure out what songs the band should play,” Terry said. “I want them to have a shot at winning the battle of the bands.”
     Laurel was sitting in the living room and we joined her.
     “How many songs are they going to play?” I asked.
     “They should definitely play ‘Lonely Boy,’” I said.
     “I made them practice it a lot for the talent show,” Terry said. “Unfortunately, they’re sick of it.”
     “I think they should play it, too,” Laurel said.
     “I’ll try to talk them into it,” Terry said. “The second song I’d like them to do is the Chile Peppers’ version of ‘Higher Ground,’ but Tom says it hurts his hand.”
     “I’ll talk to his guitar teacher about modifications,” I said.
     “That’d be cool,” Terry said. “The other song should be an original. Have you heard the one they’re working on?” Terry pointed to the floor. We listened.
     “That’s the one Tom’s been writing,” I said. “You think it’ll work?”
     “It’ll be good once they learn their parts.”
     “It’s going to be hard to beat your niece’s girl band,” Laurel said.
     “Troy’s daughter’s band is in the battle?” I asked.
     “Yeah,” Terry said. “JB just told me.”
     “The band is weak, but the singer is great,” I said.
     Laurel nodded.
     Tom and his friends came thundering upstairs. I grabbed Tom’s stuff and we left. I was shaking inside. I don’t want to spend hours with JB and his family. I don’t want to go to the battle of the bands. I drove to the Salvation Army, dropped off bags of clothes, and went to the grocery store. I was in a spacey trance. Tom threw a box of sugary cereal into the cart—I don't buy junk cereal—and I let it stay in. Tom gave me a weird look. My text alert dinged.

     “Eating with Spazo,” Blake texted.

     “Okay. Get the garage door opener from Dad. Then you’ll have one.”

     “Blake’s having dinner with Dad,” I told Tom.
     “Aw,” Tom moaned.
     Soon after Tom and I got home, Blake walked in.
     “That was quick,” I said. “How was it?”
     “Eh,” Blake shrugged. “It was fine.”
     Tom and I ate dinner then I began watching TV in my bedroom. Blake sat on my bed.
     “You know what Douche Bag told me?” Blake asked.
     “He signed up for some extreme race where he’s going to scale walls, crawl under barbed wire, and run through mud,” he laughed. “Can you believe it? Pot belly with the bum shoulder? I told Dad, ‘What the fuck are you thinking?’ He said, ‘Oh, I think it’ll be a lot of fun.’ Yeah right. A bunch of fit manly guys and Dad.”
      “Or a bunch of guys like him,” I laughed. “I invited your dad to run with me last summer. He didn’t make half a mile. He started complaining about a cramp. I told him I was going to continue running and he limped home looking all dejected.”
     “What a loser,” Blake said. He shook his head and went to his room.
     Now I feel better. Sad but true.

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