Time in Willow Creek: 12 months, 1 week, 2 days
“Goodnight,” Juliana said as she was passing by the master bedroom. She was returning a book to its rightful place before she tucked herself in and noticed Harold and Harriett doing the same.
“G’night, puddin. Sleep tight!”
Harold snorted. After her 69 years of living, and nearly 50 years of marriage, he thought she would have run out of corny nick names.
She sat on the love seat while he trudged toward the bed. He thought she was going to curl up with a book. To his surprise, she wanted his attention. “Can I have a few minutes?”
He groaned and reluctantly slinked over to her.
“I promise it’ll be just a few minutes,” she said with hopeful eyes.
He plopped next to her. “How much did you spend?”
She rolled her eyes. “Not a cent! Getting her to try on stuff was just like trying to make a horse drink! She was worse than a two-year-old!”
He chuckled in that old man grunt.
“You know you can’t make a horse drink.”
Her mouth dropped and hands found their way to her waist. “I was just trying to make sure she had everything she needs!”
“You know good and well she don’t work like that. She gon wear her clothes til she can’t wear ’em no more.”
“Hmph! She’s gonna look ridiculous! I sure hope this hoochie clothes phase ends when the baby arrives!”
Harold continued laughing. The way his wife got worked up about their children over the years was comical to him. He could see so clearly what the problems were, but he could never make her understand. After a while, he stopped fighting her. When Hillary was born, the only time he offered an opinion was when he was asked.
“Anyway… I was wanting to tell you about what Rebecca proposed to me last night.”
He had hoped to find out what their secret meeting was about.
“She’s gonna get all the baby’s furniture and host the baby shower at her house. Isn’t that sweet?”
He snorted. “The furniture is.”
“I know, I know. She shouldn’t have a shower, but if that’s what Rebecca is wanting to do… At least the child had sense enough not to ask for a shower.”
He hadn’t thought of it that way and appreciated the meaning behind it as he wasn’t certain how contrite she was.
“She thinks we should make her get a job.”
“Mmm hmm,” he grunted in agreement.
“Now, I been trying to make that girl do something for the longest, but now I’m wondering if she should wait until after the baby is born.”
He appreciated that his thoughts were desired that time. “That’ll be too long and’ll cost us money. She need to find somethin now so she can get back out there after the maternity.”
She agreed. “What about Juliana?”
He thought about it for a moment. “Well… If she ready, but no need to rush.”
She always smiled so warm like she was proud of him or something when he spoke of Juliana in a fond manner. Juliana was a lovely young lady. Who wouldn’t like her? However, behind the warm smile was also something more. Sometimes it looked like disappointment, and he knew why. He wasn’t sure what else he could do without feeling uncomfortable, and being uncomfortable was just not something he was interested in doing. At least he didn’t talk down to Hillary anymore, right?
“I don’t think Juliana would mind working, but I don’t want to make it seem like we’re trying to throw her out,” she said.
Silence fell. He thought she had more to say and kept seated. She had a pleasant look on her face like she was enjoying their talk. “Do you think Hillary will be all right? She will grow up eventually, right?”
He snorted. “She’ll grow up when you stop babying her.”
“I do not baby her!”
“You do everything for her. It’s no wonder she ain’t been motivated.”
“I’m just taking care of my child, Harold.”
“She’ll be a child as long as you keep catering to her.”