Joy busied herself with household chores after Daniel left. After cleaning the kitchen, she dusted. Now she had the vacuum out, cleaning carpets that were already clean. She then moved on to scrubbing the downstairs bathroom, finding that with each successive chore that feeling of ‘being fine’ becoming less and less.
After finishing the bathroom, she found she was sweaty, brooding, and anxious. Well, she could definitely do something about the anxious, she thought as she got the pills out of her purse and washed two down with wine straight out of the bottle. She didn’t know which she should be concerned about; becoming a wino or becoming a pill head. Right now, alone in the house, she didn’t give a damn about either.
As the edge started to lift a bit, she found the where-with-all to go up and take a shower. She made sure to condition her hair this time. It made the combing out so much easier, this time. Rather than spend all that time blowing it dry, she only dried it halfway and then did a French braid. She was careful with her make-up, wanting to look nice for Daniel. Except for the dark circles under her eyes, she looked lovely.
Standing in front of her closet, she chose a long, flowing emerald green jersey sundress to wear. She chose simple strappy tan leather sandal to wear with the dress. Now completely ready for Daniel, she looked at her watch and found it was on ten forty-five.
She gathered some things for Ben and then headed out to her in-law’s to see him. He ran into her arms as soon as he heard her voice. This was just the medicine she really needed to feel better. She spent time with him in their sunroom coloring and watching Bob the Builder.
Maureen, her mother-in-law, came in with a pitcher of lemon-aid and glasses. As she got near Joy to hand her a glass, she looked at her funny. Not knowing what that was about, and not really caring, Joy just dismissed it.
“Tomorrow Ben is going to come home. We have got to start getting him ready for school.”
Ben clapped at this, but Maureen frowned. “Are you sure you’re not rushing things, Joy? I can do the school shopping with Ben.”
“Thank you for the offer, but I am really looking forward to doing this with Ben. He only starts school once, you know.”
After a bit more chatting, Joy got ready to leave. Ben hugged and kissed his mom and then went to see what his Poppa was doing.
Maureen stopped Joy at the door. “I understand you have been going through a terrible ordeal. But I smell the wine on you and you should not be considering caring for that child if you are drinking at ten in the morning.”
Joy chafed under the rebuke. “Maureen, for the love of God, try and not go on so about a morning mimosa. I will be picking up Ben tomorrow and you’d do well not to interfere.” With that said she left Maureen in the doorway and climbed into her car. She may have sounded cavalier to Maureen, but she was shaking so hard she dropped her keys trying to put them into the ignition.
First thing when she got home was she brushed her teeth. And then she reapplied her lipstick just as Daniel walked into the room.
“Hey, you’re already beautiful; you don’t have to make up for me.”
“Thank you sweetheart, but a girl likes to look pretty.” Joy said as she walked up to Daniel and kissed him lightly on the mouth.
“Mm. Minty; not at all like the bouquet of wine my mother described to me.” Daniel looked at Joy closely.
She averted her gaze. “That is so like your mother; making a mountain out of a mole-hill.” Joy walked a few steps past Daniel. “The walls sort of closed in on me after you left; I had a small glass of wine to calm my nerves.” She continued onto the deck and sat on her chaise.
Daniel followed her out and told her ‘scoot over’ so he could sit with her. “What date did Dr. Mayer’s office give you?”
Joy groaned inward. “I forgot to call. I was cleaning, and then freaking out, then I went to see Ben, and it just slipped my mind.”
Daniel pulled his cell out. Making the call, speaking to the doctor himself, he got her an appointment for Friday morning. “Do you need me to drive you? And before you take that the wrong way, I am asking because I see how hard you are struggling and I just want to do whatever needs to be done to help you get better.”
“Thanks for calling, and for your offer. It is going to be intimidating enough to go to ‘the shrink.’ I think having you there will be counterproductive.” She sighed and laid her head against his shoulder.
Daniel reached over to hold her hand. “We’re really going to get through this, and we are going to come out of this all the stronger.”
Joy sat there, holding Daniel’s hand, and all she was hoping that they could get through this without Daniel finding out her growing list of secrets.