Bob was never good at letting people down easily. He always seemed to find himself in awkward social situations with someone a lot more outgoing than him. They all ended the same way: he and the family ended up going to some place he didn’t want to go with this person he barely knew and didn’t want to go with. Eliza always made the best of it while he was miserable. However, this time, he was a bit excited. He met this guy named Landon Purdue when he was at the park with Breanne. Interestingly enough, he is the father of that rude kid Breanne showed who was boss that one time. Anyway, they began talking, and next thing Bob knew he was being invited to go to the Flea Market on Sunday morning. He had to work Sunday afternoon but figured he had enough time to check it out before work. The Pancakes family didn’t spend much time in San Myshuno, and Bob always wanted to attend one of the many festivals there. Eliza, on the other hand, was much less excited about going to look at second-hand garbage, she said.
“Ok, Pancakeses,” Landon said. “Let’s go score some sweet stuff!”
Eliza gave Bob one of those looks.
“You heard the man,” Bob said. “Let’s go score some sweet stuff.” He was grinning.
Eliza was not. “Where do you keep finding these people, Robert?”
Landon was getting away, and so the Pancakes family followed him. When they were closer to the flea market, they paused to take a cursory look around to see if they found anything interesting. Well, Landon looked around to find something interesting.
Being in the middle class, Eliza knew buying things second-hand was “a thing” and a cost effective way to get what you need and sometimes the things you want. However, it was not something that was part of her life. She prided herself on paying full price for new things.
“So…this is it?” she asked.
“Yeah! Isn’t this stuff great?”
Landon went to go look around while Breanne and Bob caught up to Eliza. Something caught Breanne’s eye, and she went to inspect it.
“Breanne…don’t run off,” Eliza warned.
There was a blue paper floor lamp she couldn’t take her eyes off of. “Mommy I want this lamp!”
Eliza thought it was cute, but there was no way she was going to buy it…or so she thought. “I don’t think we’re going to buy anything today, dear.”
Here we go, Bob thought.
“Why do you even want this? It doesn’t match anything in your room.”
“You don’t need another lamp in your room. Let’s go, dear. Maybe you’ll find something else you like.”
Bob knew what was coming next, and he didn’t interfere.
“I don’t want anything else! I WANT THIS LAMP!” She was nearing the point of full on tantrum–screaming, stamping, the whole nine.
Eliza sighed and conceded. “Fine. I’ll get it reupholstered.”
The tantrums were getting far too frequent for her tastes. She knew giving into the child’s wants wasn’t good, but it kept the peace.
Bob found also found something he liked. “Hey Lizzie… What about this chair?”
Eliza looked at it and then turned her attention back to her husband with an eyebrow raised. “You do realize those chairs cost §9,000 in the store, right?”
He didn’t realize that. “It’s such a cool chair.”
She snorted again. “Who do you think we are? The Pruetts? Come along, Robert.”
Breanne saw something else that interested her and she ran toward it.
“Breanne,” Eliza shouted. “You can’t keep running off like this!” She and Bob chased after her.
However, she didn’t go far and only wanted to listen to the street performer. This was her first trip to San Myshuno and it was filled with many things she had never experienced before in Willow Creek or Windenburg. Her parents breathed a sigh of relief when they found she hadn’t gone far. They too stopped to listen to the musician. Bob found his new acquaintance there as well. The performer was none other than Sophia Bjergsen, and sadly she was not that good. Eliza was oddly affected by her performance. It saddened her, actually. It wasn’t the performance itself that brought on the melancholy feelings but the thoughts that flew through her mind. She knew her parents and was confused as to why a girl of her status and upbringing had turned to such a lowly profession. Clearly Eliza knew nothing about passion. She kept replacing Sophia’s face with Breanne’s face and feared that one day Breanne could end up being some pathetic street peddler. She questioned all of her choices as a mother and wondered if there was anything she could do to prevent this happening. Quitting her job to be more available to her daughter came to mind, but she quickly dismissed that idea. She wanted to be the chief so bad she could taste it, and she was nearly there at on the heels of level 8.
After Sophia’s song, Breanne expressed the need for lunch. Eliza left Bob to handle that situation and found some people to mingle with.
“You want me to order you something nice?” Bob asked.
He was surprised. Everyone always trusted his judgment when it came to food. “But…you don’t know what any of this is…or which ones are spicy.”
“If I’m going to have an early birthday, I need to make my own decisions, daddy! Besides, I need to know everything so the bad people can’t trick me.”
She made him laugh. Her personality was so strange those days. She was on the brink of her teenage birthday, and there were times he could tell that she was maturing while other times–namely during the tantrums–she was no better off than the day she popped out of the bassinet.
She studied the menu and looked at all the options in the display case. Everything looked delicious. She asked the vendor a thousand questions about ingredients, where they fell on the Scoville scale, and even what the textures were like. Bob was impressed with the depth of questioning and wondered if she would carry on his love for food. After about 10 minutes of questions, Breanne settled on Pork Adobo. Bob paid the vendor and let Breanne taste her meal before he inquired about it.
“So… How is it?”
He breathed a sigh of relief.
“Can you make this, daddy?”
“Probably. It’s probably not that hard.”
Eliza was still chatting it up, so Bob and Breanne took advantage of the time and stayed together. They walked over to the basketball court and watched a few rounds of someone’s pick up game. Bob decided to see if he still had it and changed into his workout clothes.
“Are you gonna play, daddy?”
He chuckled. “That’s goal. It’s been a while.”
“You know how?” She was surprised.
“Oh yeah. I used to be the point guard back in high school,” he said as he reminisced on his glory days.
He walked away and hoped he didn’t pull or break anything in the process. Not only had he not played basketball since high school, but he had not been active at all since then. Loving food didn’t help the situation, and his protruding belly told this tale. Breanne also noticed that he may not have worn those shorts in a while as well and wasn’t too sure he should be seen in them.
Bob grabbed a ball and bounced it a few times. He felt lucky. Breanne was nervous for him.
He knew his jump-shot would be off mainly because there was no way he was going to do any jumping. So, he tried a granny-shot. The other guys on the court snickered at him, but he didn’t care. There was no way he was gonna pull a muscle and end up crying like a baby in front of his daughter.
Luckily for Bob (and all the onlookers) it was time for him to head home to get ready for work.
“Ok, Bre, I gotta go to work.”
She looked disappointed.
“Go find your mother and stay with her, ok?”
He hated seeing her upset, but it cheered him to know she still liked spending time with him and hoped that didn’t change when her birthday came. He kissed her cheek and embraced her. “I love you, ok? Go find mommy and enjoy the rest of your day. Then tomorrow after school you can tell me about it, ok?”
He watched her leave to make sure she actually went back to Eliza, and then he left.
Eliza saw the disheartened look on her face. “What’s the matter, my dear?”
“I wanna go home,” she said softly.
“Oh? I thought you were having a good time.”
Breanne was silent again.
“There are a lot of children out today. Maybe you’ll feel better if you go make some friends.”
“I wanna go home,” she said in her normal tone.
“It’s weird here. I wanna go home!”
“Oh, don’t say that, dear. It’s different, it’s not weird.”
“I. WANNA. GO. HOOOOOOOOME!”
“Ok! We’re going!”