(This is the continuation of yesterday's My Runaway Mom.)
But then guess who did show up back in our house the next morning? Our dad! After two years away, our six-foot-four dad just … turned the front door key, walked on in, and was home again.
About the first thing he saw upon his Big Entrance was my sister and I more or less huddled together on the couch, scarfing Oreos. After prying us off him, he said, “Kids, I need to talk to you.”
We were definitely all ears.
“Now Nancy, John,” he said, “What I have to tell you isn’t … very easy to say. Your mother has, it seems, um … taken a little vacation. She’s not going to be living here anymore. I’m not sure exactly where she is going to be living—in fact, I’m not sure where she’s gone to at all, or what’s happened to her. I’m sure she’s fine, though. The main thing for you to know is that I’m back now, and that I’m going to be taking care of you from now on, or until we can figure out what’s going on with your mother. For now, everything’s going to continue exactly as it was before—except for without your mother. Now come on—you kids need to get to school.”
Yeah. Because what we really needed right then were lessons in geography.
What made the whole event particularly … different, is that when our dad came back to live with us, he brought with him someone else to live with us, too. It turned out he’d gotten (surprise!) married, to a fairly tall, square-shouldered, bombshell-figured, ramrod-backed, blue-eyed woman wearing, when we met her, form-fitting Capri jeans, a sunny sleeveless blouse, and a blonde wig coiffed into something that managed to say at once, “I’m a healthy, fun person you can depend on,” and “Are you sure you don’t have any Jews hiding in your basement?”
Maybe five minutes after introducing his new wife to us (which he did upon our return home from school that day), my dad and she asked if my sister and I would mind calling her “Mom.”
I looked at my sister, who was clutching to her chest her binder adorned with Flower Power stickers. If she could call this new woman “Mom,” then I could. But I saw that just then Nancy had lapsed into “Brain Overload: Can’t Talk” mode. So I jumped in.
“Sure,” I said. “No problem. Mom.” I tried to smile when I said it. I have no idea what expression actually appeared on my face.
(I just might bore you with part three of this tomorrow. Or I might have mercy on you, and not.)