Bonnie had to stop at the grocery store, after picking up Brian,
on her way home from work. She needed diapers; again. Shopping with the baby was so much more complicated, but she was learning how to cope. Brian babbled in his car seat. Glancing in the rear view mirror she saw her precious son. She felt so fortunate to have him. He was the one good thing that came out of her disastrous marriage.
Divorce had dragged her down, dampened her spirit, and destroyed her self confidence. But escaping the four years of abuse she had suffered, had made her realize that it was possible to start over.
She had to move in with her parents at first. They loved the baby but two women in the same house is almost impossible.Every time Bonnie tried to help, her mother criticized the way she did things. Brian didn't know who to call mom living with his aunt and grandmother too. The first months were a real struggle. Finances were impossible. Brian's dad had refused to contribute until there was a legal agreement, and he had dragged his feet on meeting with a lawyer. After six months, an agreement was reached.
Now she had an apartment of her own, a great teaching job, many new friends and support from her family that lived nearby.
As she entered the chill of the store, she placed Brian in the cart. "What shall we have for dinner?" Brian babbled back in his own language. Brian was transitioning from baby food to regular food. He was game to try anything. Bonnie threw two fat brown potatoes into the cart. She had lettuce at home, but she chose bright red cherry tomatoes, a large cucumber, baby carrots and a red onion to make a salad.
As Bonnie pushed the cart to the meat counter, she walked right past the chicken. Steak caught her eye. She hadn't had steak in such a long time and she could actually afford it. There were packages of one but the steaks was too big. She chose a package with two small filets. Her mouth watered in anticipation.
Then she had a brilliant idea. A colleague of hers was single and they had dated a couple of times, she could invite him over to eat the other steak. He had given her rides to night meetings and had taken her out to lunch, it would be a perfect payback.
Bonnie returned to produce for one more potato and rushed home to issue the invitation and prepare dinner. She got Brian settled with some toys and punched in Chuck's number. No answer! She left a message and began to prepare. She put the potatoes in to bake, made the salad and put it in the refrigerator, then waited for the phone to ring. Just when she had begun to give up hope, the phone rang.
"This is Chuck,I'm really sorry, but I have other plans." Bonnie was disappointed but covered it up as she replied, "It's ok it was a late invitation, maybe another time." Now what should she do? She had three potatoes almost baked, a salad already made and two steaks. She dialed another number. "Bill, this is Bonnie, I have dinner almost ready, and my guest cancelled on me at the last minute. Would you like to join me.?" "I would love that! I can't stay long as I have a meeting tonight." "Perfect, see you as soon as you can get here.
Bonnie set the table with her good placemats, and her fine china, dressed the salad, and put the steaks on.
The doorbell rang. Bonnie picked up Brian and answered the door. Brian screamed, "Dada!" with much enthusiasm. With a red face Bonnie explained that Dada was the only word he knew and anyone who came to the door male or female, child or adult received that greeting. Bill smiled and Bonnie's face color faded.
They sat down together. "Table looks nice and something smells great. Tell whomever your guest was, I thank them for cancelling. Bonnie scraped one potato from the skin, mixed in some butter and put it into Brian's dish. Bill helped him get some into his mouth while Bonnie served their plates. Dinner was very pleasant and there was lot's of laughter.
Bonnie treasured Bill's friendship. He had been the first colleague she had met at school. She had shared her "situation" with him, and he was very kind. She had gone places with him a few times, but didn't consider them dates.
She had just cleared the table and Bill was helping by cleaning up the potatoes that didn't get into Brian's mouth, when the doorbell rang. Bonnie wasn't expecting anyone, so she asked "Who is it?"
"It's Chuck." Bonnie's head was spinning. Another moment of embarassment, another red face all in a couple of hours. Brian was crawling up her leg so she lifted him up and opened the door. "Dada," screamed Brian. As Chuck entered the room, the first thing he saw was Bill. Bill showed no grace, he just smiled. "Hi, Chuck!"
The silence could have been cut with a knife. Chuck handed Bonnie a bag which contained ice cream. "I couldn't make dinner, but I thought I would come by for dessert on the way to my meeting. But I see you made other plans." Bonnie stammered and stuttered and finally said,"Well I didn't want the food to go to waste." That was a stupid thing to say, Bonnie thought to herself.
Bill looked at his watch. "Well, I'm going to have to skip dessert, I just have time to get to my meeting." Chuck said, "I've got to go too."
"You're both going to the same meeting?" "As a matter of fact we are." The two colleagues left together talking and laughing amongst themselves. Bonnie sat down. Brian crawled over and said,"DADA?" Bonnie started laughing. She laughed and laughed which made Brian laugh.
"Well, Brian, let's have some ice cream."