Chapter 15 ~ I Need To Get On With My Life
Grace stood in the entryway waiting for Jane and Larry. She took a moment to scan her checklist. She read the list aloud, “Matt, tell me if I forgot anything. I’ve packed bug spray, bathing suits, sunscreen, sunglasses, first aid kit, ointment for bug bits and poison ivy, and protein bars, nuts and three Snicker’s Bars, your favorite. We don’t have to worry about food, Jane and Larry are taking care of that. Plus, we don’t have to sleep outside, Jane and Larry rented our cottage for us. It will be you and me inside one of the rustic cottages. Doesn’t it sound like fun?”
“No, but I’ll act like it’s fun, don’t worry about me,” said Matt.
“What’s wrong, Matt? Let’s get it out in the open before Grace and Larry pull into the driveway. They’ll be here any minute,” said Grace called to Matt.
Matt walked into the entry way holding a basketball in his hands was squeezing the life out of it. He looked at Grace and said, “Mom, remember the barbecue?”
“Yes?” Grace had a sense where this was going.
“Jane didn’t invite us to the barbecue to be nice, did she? She invited us the barbecue to set you up with that guy, am I right, Mom?”
Grace took a deep breath, “Yes, what you say is accurate, Matt. That was then, this is now.”
Matt stared at Grace, “Tell me she’s not setting you up again and there are only the four of us going camping.”
Grace knew she couldn’t lie. She knew Matt would find out sooner and not later. She said, “You know Jane. She can’t help herself. She said she invited a friend she wants you and me to meet.”
“I’m not being fresh, Mom. I don’t need another father. Nobody can take dad’s place for me. Don’t do this for me, please,” said Matt again squeezing his basketball.
“It’s been three years, Matt. Maybe I need to get on with my life. It’s not easy trying to mother and father to you. I don’t know anything about basketball or football or baseball. If you didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know or care who the quarterback is for the Cowboys. I think dad would want you and me to move on with our life.”
Matt was about to speak, when a horn honked in the driveway. Grace said a silent prayer of thanks. The conversation with Matt made her very uncomfortable. Matt was angry and Grace knew when Matt was angry he shut down.
Matt went to the garage, opened the garage door, grabbed the gear and carried it to the large blue SUV parked in the driveway.
Larry was waiting at the rear of the SUV with the hatch opened. “Hi Matt. Put it all in here. No basketball? I seldom see you without a ball in your hands.”
Matt simply said, “No, I’m going to follow Mom around.”
Grace got into the rear seat while Matt was handing the gear to Larry for loading in the SUV.
Jane turned toward Grace and said, “He’s not a happy camper, is he?”
Grace rolled her eyes, “We had a little spat right before you pulled in. He told me he doesn’t want another dad. He had one.”
“Ouch,” said Jane.
“I was happy when I heard your horn, it was starting to get ugly. Honestly, Jane, I don’t know what to do. I really don’t. One or both of us needs counseling. Maybe, I’m not ready to start dating again.”
“Nonsense. Wait until you meet Brad. You and Matt will love him. He’s all guy. Matt will love him. And, he’s all man, that will satisfy you,” Jane laughed.
“Where did you find him? said Grace.
Jane was about to speak when Larry and Matt got into the SUV. Larry half turned his head toward Grace, “Matt was real big help hefting the gear in. He’s strong for his age.”
“What do you say, Matt?” said Grace turning toward Matt.
“Thank you, sir,” said Matt.
Grace felt the rock hit her stomach again. Matt was being overly formal and polite. She always knew this was a sign that he was unhappy.
“It’ll be ah hour and a half ride up to Big Elk. I got three cabins together. The first one is for Jane and me, The middle one is for you and Matt. And, the third one is for Brad. It’s the smallest of the three.”
Matt spoke up, “Brad? Who’s Brad?”
Grace felt a sudden urge to say something, but pushed the feeling back. She’d make a mental list and then have a good talk with Matt when they were alone. She also wished, Jane coached Larry a bit. Larry was not helping matters.
Grace may as well wished to win the Powerball lottery. Larry continued, “Brad is a big sports guy, Matt. He’s about your mom’s age. He was a two sport star at college. He played football and baseball.”
“He doesn’t play basketball?” asked Matt.
“I don’t know about that, but he loves to talk about sports. Not with me, since I’m not a big sports guy. But every time I see him, he’s talking sports with somebody.”
“Thanks,” said Matt. He placed his head against the side of the door and closed his eyes and feigned sleep,
Jane glanced at Matt and then at Grace. She mouthed the words, “Wait and see. It will all work out.”
Grace smiled and thought, “I bet, just like James worked out.”