High school senior Ashley St. Helens
has suddenly found herself living a fairy tale life....
Which is not as much fun as it sounds.
Until... the other shoe drops.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Goodbye, Sylvia

When we came back down the stairs, we heard loud voices and stopped to make faces at each other. Down in the living room, Harry and Sylvia were continuing their argument from the dance floor. Harry was talking about my dad. “He was such a loving person, you destroyed him, and then you moved on to his daughter, to crush her, too.”

Sylvia spat, “You’re just jealous I married him, aren’t you?”

Harry sat down heavily. “I can’t deny that.”

“Hah!” Sylvia cried.

“You know I really loved him,” Harry sighed. “I loved them both. They loved me, too.”

Sylvia startled, then attacked again. “How can you say that to me? How can you be so selfish knowing what I've been through? Get the hell out of my house! I don't want you here! I never wanted you here! You undermine everything I am!” As she flew at him, he glanced up at us and stepped to the door.  “And what the hell were you doing at the prom last night anyway, all dragged up or whatever you call it? I can’t figure you out. Did you just come there to get in my face?”

Harry shook his head with pity. “You really don’t get it, do you? I was there with Ashley.”

Sylvia barked. “Hah, that’s a laugh. She was here at home. Looking like a ‘before’ picture with her sweatpants and tennies. She had plenty to do.”

She looked up as Jeff and I came down the stairs. She saw the dress and was silent. Then it all came clear to her. Tears streamed down her face. She sat down hard, realizing her defeat.

Harry spoke quietly. “Well darling, things are going to change now. You’re going to lose your house slave.”

“Harry,” I said, not wanting to be cruel. It was hard enough that I was leaving. Then I said the words I’d been longing to say. “Goodbye, Sylvia.” Jeff held the door open. Harry followed us out and took my things from me. He put them in the car. The three of us looked at each other, not sure what to say.

“Well.” Said Harry, finally.

“Well,” I said. “Thank you, Harry.”

“Thank you, Harry,” said Jeff.

Harry looked at Jeff, as if for the first time. “Thank you,” he said. “So what was your plan, when you came here?”

“I just wanted to see if Ashley wanted to hang out for a little bit. Maybe go for a drive.” Harry glanced over at Jeff’s car, a brick red vintage Volvo sports coupe, handed down to him by his grandfather on his 16th birthday. He sighed.

“Okay,” he said. “You kids do that. I’ll take your stuff home, Ashley. It will give me time to cool off, and get things ready for you.”

“Okay,” I said, hardly believing how great this was.

“But one thing,” Harry said, as if realizing all at once that a) he was now my parent, and b) I was about to get in a car with a boy, “seat belts.”

“Oh, of course,” said Jeff, a total Boy Scout. “Always.”

“Always,” Harry emphasized. “Even when the car is parked. Understand me?”

Jeff looked him in the eye and said, “Yes, sir.” Then he glanced at me and shrugged. We all laughed.

Jeff and I buckled up for safety and prudence while Harry drove away. Jeff pulled out into the street, but before we had gotten too far, he stopped.



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