Joneses – 4.2 The Outing

It was a good thing John went to work that morning. It gave everyone a much needed cool down period before it was time to go out. Usually, Mary would drag everyone to museums and national parks for their educational value and social aesthetics, but this time, she decided her family needed to have fun. When John got home—at 1:55—everyone changed into more casual clothes and left for the newest shopping plaza in Willow Creek. It was one of those live-work-play concepts with different types of shopping, dining, entertainment, office spaces, condos, and townhomes. The Joneses arrived in time to grab coffee before the movie started.

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Everyone knew the drill. Smile brightly. Stand up straight. Be polite. Mary was not in the mood to remind everyone of how they should conduct themselves outside of the house, but she was glad to see they were on their best behavior without her prompting. Maybe I should get angry more often, she thought. Everything was going quite well until John got distracted.

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He had a bit of a roaming eye. Mary knew all about it. It wasn’t a new problem. As a matter of fact, it was a large part of the catalyst that forced them out of Newcrest. Back in those days, he tried to keep his trysts secret. But, after the second huge scandal, he decided he didn’t care anymore. The only thing he worries about now is whether his children are around. The second scandal occurred in recent enough history for the children to be old enough to understand what happened. Although he hadn’t modified his behavior, he didn’t want his children to know he was a serial adulterer. However, at times when he wasn’t allowed to act on his feelings, he still found ways to have a little fun. “Excuse me,” he said to the barista, “I’d like to change my order. I’d like a tall caramel macchiato…don’t skimp on the caramel…”

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Mary didn’t trust John when he was out of her sight—and rightfully so—thus she was almost always around. She saw how he was looking at the poor innocent bystander and had to interfere. She walked right in between them and said, “Come along, John.”

“But Mary,” he said, eyes still fixed on the woman behind him, “I haven’t had my coffee yet.”

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“Forget your coffee and come along, John!” She felt herself inching toward creating a scene and took a keep breath. “Susie! Tim! The movie starts in five minutes.”

She left the cafe and headed toward the movie theater. She welcomed the brief moment of solitude because she wanted to cry, but she didn’t. She wondered what it was all for. The pretense and brown nosing; coaching her family on how to act; trying to hold John’s interests when it was clear they did not lay with her. No one in that town knew them, so why did it matter? Who was watching? If she stopped trying to portray a life she used to have, would anyone care? Probably not. But, she couldn’t give up. She was going to climb the social ladder until she was back on top and maybe even in her father’s good graces again. She’d fight for her marriage until there was no breath in her. Without the fight, she had nothing.

Everyone else made it to the movie theater in time for the film to start. Their reactions were less than desirable when they discovered what they were watching, but Mary was thrilled.

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It was her favorite movie. True, she had a thing for diamonds, but Diamonds are Forever held special meaning for her. It was a secret message of hope she held onto in regards to her family. Speaking of her family, Tim couldn’t stop complaining about how dumb he felt the movie was or how hungry he was despite the fact that he just had a snack at the cafe. She tried shushing him, but he kept going on and on.

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There was another reason why she loved that movie. It just happened to be the first movie she and John saw together. They were in high school, and her father had forbidden her to see him. Naturally, she was too far gone and disobeyed his wishes. On the opening weekend, she told her father she and her girlfriends were going to go see it, but we all know who she really went with. Mary glanced over at him to see how he reacted to their favorite scene. He seemed to remember it quite well.

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But the moment was short lived. He could feel her looking at him, and he banished the smile from his face. She watched it go into exile along side the feelings he once had for her. In that moment, she briefly felt sorry for him. For the first time in her life, she considered how he felt and understood him. We never let him choose, she thought.

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“Mommy,” Tim whined.

“What is it, my sweet boy?”

“When I get a girlfriend, I don’t have to give her a diamond do I?”

“Only if you love her and want to be with her forever.”

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“Oh good, cuz I don’t have any diamonds, but I want to get a girlfriend anyway,” Tim said with relief.

“I’m sure some lucky girl out there would love to call herself your girlfriend. Just remember…you should only date one girl at a time…

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“…and if you find one girl who is really special, then you give her a diamond. But when you give it to her, you should mean it because diamonds are forever, my sweet boy.”

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Joneses - 4.1 Meet the Joneses
Joneses - 4.3 Big Man On Campus

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