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The Other Version of What Happened

Instead of driving to Bobo’s Tavern in my tight jeans that winter night when it was too cold to snow, instead of drinking with whoever would drink with me and ending up on top of the table, sad little sorta-married middle-aged gogo girl (my husband’s out of town) and I’m writhing to Sade’s “Smooth Operator” having completely forgotten to pick up my son from the dance…

I’d threatened him with a hard, humorless face that he’d be sorry if he wasn’t outside waiting for me at (repeat: AT) 9:00pm

At 9:30pm, a family friend noticed him on the corner by himself, stamping his feet, blowing into his cupped hands, (it was November)

and gave him a ride home.

Meanwhile, I weaved carefully to the ladies room and back every so often, in between flirting and drinking and dancing.

Yeah, instead of that

I’m home. I’ve just pulled an apple pie out of the oven, I look at my watch. It’s 8:40pm, so I get my coat on and warm up the car. I’m there when he shows up, I hand him a thermos of hot cocoa.

We pick up a video he wants to watch on the way home. We make a fire in the fireplace when we get there, and he has some pie with ice cream. The pie is still warm.

I have a million of these alternate childhoods for my children.

Alternate motherhoods for myself.

I feed them to my heart, like a little girl putting the empty spoon to her babydoll’s face, smacking her lips and pretend chewing, saying, “Yum! It’s good isn’t it?”

Sometimes, it’s the only thing that helps.


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