Millie fumbled with the cap on her Xanax. Tears streamed down her face and her hands shook. She finally got the top off and poured a handful of the small pills into her hand. She laid out one on the table and then, after thinking for just a moment, added another one. She poured the others back into the bottle and gulped down the two pills. Then she lay back on the bed and sobbed.
Millie just could not understand how her daughter-in-law could be so mean and ungrateful. Anna had no clue how much time Millie had spent making Poppy the dress that Anna obviously felt was not good enough for Poppy’s school pictures – and she obviously did not care, either. Too fancy?? It was not too fancy for school! Millie had been a teacher for almost 30 years before she retired and she would have loved to see any one of her students dressed so nicely! Especially in something so beautiful that a loving grandmother had made by hand! Anna was just an ungrateful lout of a girl who did not deserve to be with Millie’s baby boy. Her feelings shattered, Millie curled up on the bed and cried. She thought Roger or Bess would eventually come in to soothe her.
“What is the matter with Momma, Daddy?” Bess asked her father.
Roger barely looked up from his book. “Poppy didn’t wear the dress she made for school pictures. Anna just emailed the proofs and Poppy is wearing regular school clothes. Your mom’s feelings are all crushed. As usual. She will get over it.”
Roger shrugged and went back to reading It Takes a Family. He thought Rick Santorum had some good points, though Roger knew he could have done a better job of writing it. But then what could he expect from a Catholic who just popped out kids and probably drank? At least he had the right ideas about the gays and women and all, though, even if he did follow the Pope.
“Anna is going to say it was too dressy for school pictures,” Bess said, as she got a bowl out of the cabinet.
“Well, a grateful daughter-in-law would have let her wear it, anyway. I keep trying to tell your mother that other kids just have not been raised with the manners you have and she is just going to have to deal with that for the rest of her life.”
“Well, Poppy could have changed clothes after the pictures. Anna knew how proud Momma was of that dress. I guess you’re right, Daddy, other kids weren’t taught proper manners like us, but you would think some of ours would have rubbed off on Anna by now. She’s been married to Daniel for 7 years. Surely he would have taught her some.”
Bess took her bowl of ice cream and headed upstairs to watch the new Lifetime movie. She paused at the door to her parents’ bedroom and listened.
“She is still crying, Daddy.”
Roger shrugged and kept reading. “She’ll stop. Or she will fall asleep.”
Bess sighed and went upstairs. She was going to miss the beginning if she didn’t hurry. It was one about a man who was having an affair he was going to be sorry for, according to the previews, and Bess was not missing the beginning. Daddy was right, Momma would stop – eventually.
Millie heard Bess’s footsteps pause outside the door and she let out a fresh string of sobs. She heard murmurs of conversation and waited for the doorknob to turn. Bur that didn’t happen. Instead she heard Bess going up to her room next to Trevor’s. Millie realized Bess was not coming in to check on her. A fresh wave of sadness washed over her and Millie rolled into it and buried her face in the pillow. After a second, though, she turned her head. Roger might not be able to hear how upset she was if she cried into the pillow – and there was still a chance he may come. Millie let out a little wail, but there was no responding movement from the next room. Roger was not coming – and with that final realization, Millie began to cry in earnest.