At five forty five am, Heather wakes to the voices from the morning radio show that plays from her Bose alarm clock. She nudges Michael, gets out of bed and then she dresses, putting on her white button down shirt and new black flats, which she thinks appropriate for a meeting with the head of the PTA. After waking the children, she walks downstairs and prepares breakfast and lunches.
Around six thirty, the doorbell rings and Maria arrives to take over feeding Ava, who’s sitting in her highchair and drinking a bottle. Heather ushers the older children out the door and then picks up Sydney and Ryder Mannox for carpool.
“You look nice today,” Ryder says to Heather when he gets in the backseat of the SUV.
“Thanks, “ Heather says. “I have a meeting this morning.” It makes her feel good just to say this, as if she has a greater sense of purposefulness.
Moreover, it feels good to be dressed in something other than sweatpants. Perhaps this is how the new soccer moms choose their clothes.
After the children are dropped off at school, Heather circles the block to find a parking space. And it’s good that I’ve agreed to get more involved with the school, Heather decides as she parks. It’s better to be proactive then to complain behind the scenes.
The Starbucks at the corner of Sunset and Swarthmore is crowded when Heather arrives at seven fifteen. The line goes out the door and onto the sidewalk. Heather squeezed her way through the entrance and finds Mary Hathaway seated at a small round table in the back corner.
“So glad you could make it,” Mary says, looking approvingly at Heather’s outfit.
“I didn’t realize it would be so busy,” Heather says, feeling suddenly claustrophobic. There are several small round tables and chairs all occupied by customers reading the paper and working on laptops.
“My husband is in the business, you know,” Mary says.
No, I didn’t, Heather thinks.
“This is where all of the local screenwriters come to work.”
Heather nods. Suddenly, she’s questioning her decision to help out. Mary had backed her into a corner at pick up the other day. Is it too late to get out of this? Her head hurts. It’s hard to concentrate with the sound of cups and silverware clanking. She has neglected her own morning coffee routine in anticipation of having a cup here however, the line makes it look impossible.
“Are you having coffee?” Heather asks hopefully, knowing the caffeine will help restore her confidence.
“Jenna is getting it for me,” Mary says and points toward the front of the line. “Ask her to order you something.”
Desperate, Heather approaches the tall, curly haired brunette, dressed in equestrian attire and studying her BlackBerry. She’s seen Jenna around school and knows that her daughter is a grade ahead of Kaitlin, but they’ve never spoken. There was always something in Jenna’s frantic mannerisms that Heather spotted from across the playground that made her nervous.
“Would you mind ordering me a soy latte?” Heather asks attempting to hand Jenna a five-dollar bill.
Jenna waves the money away. “It’s not a problem,” she says. An older grey haired woman with a cane is in line directly behind Jenna and gives Heather a look of reproach, to which Jenna rolls her eyes.
“Do you want anything else?” Jenna asks Heather loudly, challenging the old woman.
Heather shakes her head.
“Are you sure?” Jenna says and laughs angrily. “Maybe a toasted bagel with cream cheese or a heated piece of coffee cake?”
“No thanks,” Heather says.
Jenna turns to face the old woman. “If she said yes, would that be a problem?” she says.
The old woman shakes her head and Heather quickly walks away. She wants to run for the car and drive home. She joins Mary at the table.
“Jenna is an amazing committee member,” Mary says, oblivious to Jenna’s outburst. “She’s in charge of collecting donations. Every year she manages to top the one before.”
“I can see why,” Heather says and looks down at her hands solemnly.
“We’ve raised our goal this year,” Mary says.
“So, how would you like me to be involved?” Heather says, hoping that Mary will say she’s changed her mind and wants her off the committee.
“I’d like you to be Jenna’s assistant,” Mary says. “ I think you two would work nicely together.”
Jenna returns with three cups of coffee and a bag of muffins and sets them on the table. “What a bitch,” Jenna says and points across the room to the old woman ordering at the register. “Can you believe the way that she looked at us?”
“I can’t believe it,” Heather says and shakes her head.
“Some people have such nerve,” Jenna says and takes a sip of her coffee.
Heather wants to drink the coffee, it smells strong and aromatic, but instead she stands. “I need to use the restroom,” she says and leaves the hot paper cup on the table. She makes her way through the crowd of people and out the door. She speed walks to her car, glad that she didn’t decide to wear high heels, and drives away, anxious to go home and change into a pair of sweatpants.
Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or events.