The Smallest Moment
Brenda played the stay at home mom bit, but in reality she was a bit of a trophy wife that sort of looked after her husband’s kid. She was a star in volleyball at collage and her legs got her invited to the right kind of parties to date rich men. She played her cards well and now she has the beautiful house, hardwood floors, granite countertops, and the life of leaser that she believes she deserves.
Jon does well at school, doesn’t get into trouble, and always wants to please… even if he seems to be a bit of a nerd. Brenda knows that if he was her biological son, he would definitely not be such a nerd, but that can’t be helped. As much as she would like a child of her own, it is better this way as she is approaching thirty now and a child could totally ruin her body and that just can’t happen!
Her husband, older than her by ten years, is a VP in marketing for an automotive parts manufacture. Not that he knows the first thing about cars, but he did well enough at the B-school to get a good starting job and is ambitious and status conscience enough to make his way up fairly quickly. In actuality, he is pretty good at developing talent of the people that work for him but his one flaw is that he never recognizes talent or a good original idea until someone points it out for him. After that he can take it and do amazing things.
Jon comes home from school carrying an oversized piece of paper very carefully. He doesn’t want it to get folded or crumpled up in his backpack so the whole way home on the bus he kept it in his hand, making sure nothing happened to it. It is a drawing of a skeleton that he had made in art class. The assignment had been to make a still life… but behind the still life in the classroom had been a medical skeleton so he drew that instead. The drawing would have been impressive had it been done by a trained illustrator let alone an eight year old boy.
Paperclipped to the picture was a note from Jon’s art teacher. “Jon is an absolutely amazing artist! I have never in 40 years of teaching seen someone with such an eye for detail and the ability to put it to paper as well as your son. I would like to submit this in the state art fair next month but I wanted you to get to see it before I sent it off as sometimes the art is not returned. Truly AMAZING! –Edith Nellis.”
After setting the picture and note on the kitchen counter, Jon went excitedly to find someone to show! Brenda soon came into the kitchen just home from yoga. Not noticing what was on the slightly cluttered counter, she set her starbucks coffee and muffin down on the picture as she texted on her iphone 5. As luck would have it, just as Jon came back in the room she picked up both her coffee and muffin and set them down closer to the sink.
“Hey Brenda! Look at this!” he said excitedly as he pointed to the picture sitting on the counter.
Looking up from her phone, Brenda glanced at the picture. “Ooooh! Very scary! Did you draw it at school?” then when back to texting.
“Look at the note from Mrs Nellis!”
Again she looked up, saw that there was a note clipped to the picture… “yes, put it on the frig so your father can see it in a few days when he gets home.”
A little disappointed that she didn’t read the note, Jon put them up together on the refrigerator with magnets so his father would see it. The front of the refrigerator was stainless steel so magnets didn’t work there, but for some reason they worked fine on the side so that became the family bulletin board.
“I am going out for a few hours, be good for Maria. She will feed you dinner. Do your homework before you watch TV,” Brenda felt good about the last comment, made her feel like a responsible mother… though she knew he probably would have anyway and it wouldn’t even occur to her to check if he had. Second graders don’t get any homework anyway…
Jon sat down at the kitchen counter and started doodling in the corners of the newspaper. Happy thoughts going through his head about what his father might say when he showed him the note from his teacher.
About an hour later, Brenda came back into the kitchen dressed like she had stepped out of Banana Republic window display. “Where is this new place Jen wants us to meet at tonight?” she said into her iphone? “no, you shouldn’t text and drive, just tell me the address and I’ll write it down.”
She moved about the kitchen opening drawers and closing them…
“I even forgot what book we are supposed to be reading, Hahah!” she laughed, holding the phone with her sholder. “As long as Lisa isn’t there, no one will even notice.”
Closing the last drawer with a pen in hand, she spun around and plucked a piece of paper off the side of the fridge. Folding it in half to give herself a clean white area to write on, she started taking down directions from the phone.
“OH! This is just where the old Zink used to be!?” she stopped writing. “Well, then I don’t need directions to that. I’ll see you soon! Bye bye.”
Looking at the unneeded directions, she carelessly folded it over again, popped open the trash compactor, and dropped the paper in. Glancing around the counter, she picked up her mostly empty starbucks cup and half eaten muffin and dropped them in as well. With the toe of her pump, she pressed the trash compactor closed and pressed the “COMPACT” button. After a few moments of clicking the motor began whirring with the gratifying sound of the trash crunching. With her domestic duties satisfyingly complete, she walked out to her Lexis and never thought of that incident again for the rest of her life.
The next thing Jon ever drew was a small bit of a mural in the basement of his frat at Michigan State.