Hollow Eve By: Gayle Arrowood


Hollow Eve
By: Gayle Arrowood

"I don't know. I called for some sympathy," she yelled. I could picture her leaning back in her cushioned chair with the speaker phone setting on the arm.

Time to start in on her. But we only have two days, I thought. "To tell you the truth, Jamie, I never did understand why you married that hunk of trash in the first place. Your taste in men has always been horrid. You pick the biggest jerks."

And we continued. Me being "sympathetic" and her complaining about everything he'd done for the last year.

The next morning, she phoned again, and we talked. But she was as stubborn as those flakes that kept coming down—seven inches out there now. If it kept up like this, we'd have too much snow for all of us to drive to her house. And Gill had upped his drive-bys from every hour or so to every half hour or less. It seemed like everything happened at once.

By early afternoon, Troy, informed me he'd run into his dad at Mr. Obsession's Candy Shop. Of course, Troy had to take advantage of the opportunity to needle his ridiculous-father. Right when they parted, Troy said, "Dad, you have to come back for Christmas Eve, at least. You know, you still have an obligation to us kids, grandkids, and Little Terrence, your only great-grandchild."

Gill gave a deep irritated sigh, put one hand on his hip, leaned on the door, and shook his head. "God Almighty!" He yelled as he shoved the door open and hurried away, clutching two boxes of Turtles.

Everyone had been harping at Jamie about what a stupid nut she married that finally she blew up at her three daughters and shrieked so loud that everyone in the neighborhood must have heard her. "He's not that bad. Look, we just had a difference of opinion. That imbecile is MY imbecile and YOUR imbecile-father. So watch your mouths!"

Krisha responded, "Oh mom, we're just sympathizing with you. You don't have to bite off our noses and toes."

The other two chimed right in. "Yeah mom, we're only trying to help." The youngest put her arms around her mother.

"OK, OK, just cut the crap." Jamie hugged the girl's back gently, and then moved to the stove to check the home-made Lasagna, which she'd checked just ten minutes before.

I was absolutely ecstatic when Krisha phoned to tell me the news. Maybe there'd be a Christmas in spite of those two nuts.

Mid-afternoon, I piled cheese puffs, several kinds of crackers, meats, and cheeses into the Mazda to take to Jamie's. The snow had let up, so I felt safe in making the fifteen-minute trip to her house.

The landscape was covered in white that seemed to glow in the dim sky. We hadn't seen sun in several weeks and didn't expect to see it for another couple months. Streets, driveways, and sidewalks had already been shoveled. Now that four-foot hills stood sentry on two sides of all pathways, the expanse appeared to be a series of neatly connected mazes.

Just like the past few days had been—our neatly constructed labyrinth, which we set up in order to trap Jamie and Gill back together. It never occurred to us to back off and let them settle it. Oh no. A problem of any one person in the family was a problem for all of us, whether he liked it or not. We always clicked into action the moment we were aware of anything.

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