Did she forget her eleven-year wedding anniversary? Well, almost. But once Michael said he’d made dinner reservations at Melise it triggered her memory. Something had to be special enough to make him want to spend fifty-five dollars on a truffle egg appetizer.
Disgusted as she is by the prices, she does have to admit that so far the food tastes pretty close to what she imagines they might serve in heaven.
In their dimly lit booth, Michael leans forward and says, “I’m worried about Dylan. Maybe we should get him a puppy.”
This is not the romantic conversation she’d imagined and the idea of a puppy makes her want to run for the exit. She’s been on edge all week. “Let’s not go there tonight,” Heather says and wishes that she could check into a spa.
“St. Paul’s School might not be a bad idea,” Michael says and takes a bite of bread. “And Wes Netherlander’s kid’s school might have some 4th grade openings in the fall.”
“Isn’t that where all the celebrity kids go?” Heather says and gulps down the last of the wine. Private school never appealed to her. The acceptance process seems like a rat race and the competitive parents make her nervous. Still, she wants Dylan to be happy. She’d do anything to make him feel better, except for the puppy.
A waiter politely approaches the table, refills Heather’s glass and graciously backs away out of sight. Suddenly, Heather remembers traveling throughout Europe with Michael, pre kids. They had been young, in love and blessed with enough money to stay at all the best places. Life had been so easy then. If only they could go back.
“This thing with Jacob’s birthday party really upset him,” Michael says.
”Let’s not focus on that awful kid and his bitch of a mother, ” Heather says. She thinks of a list of the terrible names she’d like to call her.
“Maybe public school isn’t the best fit for him,” Michael says. “ I’m open to stretching ourselves financially if it means that he will be happier. “
“You’re a great dad,” she says and takes a bite of her food.
By the end of dinner Heather is perfectly full and slightly drunk. She’s looking forward to getting into her comfortable pajamas and going to bed. Michael pays the bill. She forces herself not to look at the price, so as not to feel guilty. She grabs her clutch from the purse stand set elegantly next to their booth and walks across the chic restaurant. An attractive blond dressed in Chanel accompanied by a pudgy older man collide with her as she approaches the front door. It’s Jacob’s mother, Cindy! The walrus with her must be her husband. They look right past Heather as if she’s invisible.
“I’m Dylan’s mom,” Heather says, blocking their path with Michael at her side. Her heart pounds and her head buzzes with the white noise often accompanied by moments of extreme anger.
Cindy looks confused and then her face contorts into a falsely uncomfortable smile. “Does your son go to school with my Jakey?” she asks.
“Our sons have been in school together for the past four years!” Heather says. Private school couldn’t be any worse than this.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Cindy says, shaking her head. “I haven’t had much time to pay attention to anything in the past five or six years. My mother has Alzheimer’s and I’ve been taking care of her. It’s been completely consuming. This is my first night out in months. My husband, Russ has been working overseas.”
Introductions are made.
Heather knows that Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease and can’t imagine having to go through that with her own mother. Still, she thinks of her son. She can’t help herself. “It really hurt Dylan that he wasn’t included in Jacob’s party,” Heather says.
“Oh dear,” Cindy says, her face reddening. “I knew I shouldn’t have let him make the list and send the evites. I thought he was old enough. And I just couldn’t manage, with our nanny on maternity leave. Is there anything I can do? Does he want a t-shirt?”
Heather shakes her head. “I’m sorry to hear about your mother,” she says sincerely as they say goodbye.
Michael grabs her hand and squeezes it tightly as they walk outside to the valet stand. It feels nice to know that he’s there for her. It would be hard to have him working out of the country. Like Cindy’s husband. There’s a warm breeze and a full moon. Heather hugs Michael tightly as they wait for their car, knowing that she has so much to be thankful for. She doesn’t need Europe. This has been their best anniversary yet.
Don’t miss chapters one through twenty!
Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a completely fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or families