Petey hated parties and she hated that her best friend, Sarah, begged her to attend this one. At 61 years of age, Petey was too old to “do” parties. She’d met enough people in her life, thank you very much, and there were few she liked.
Sarah was one person who Petey admired, but as Petey stood on one foot, and then the other in the back corner of Sarah and Don Tavish’s living room along with a stray red balloon floating above her, she wondered if even Sarah should be crossed off her list.
Petey watched Don, Sarah’s husband of 39 years, flirt with some long-lashed woman of 50 who dressed as if she were 25. Giving a snort, Petey twirled the scotch in her glass and shot the steely eye toward Don. He was not on her short “like” list. Over the years Sarah had been emphatic that Don was harmless; a good husband and a wonderful dad to their now-grown daughters.
Petey didn’t believe it, but then again, Petey distrusted all men.
“Hi Meme,” a voice whispered in her ear.
Petey’s eyes widened, her heart racing as she stared at the lovely young woman in front of her.
“Melanie?” she asked in wonderment.
The blonde woman nodded with an uncertain smile.
“But what? Where?” Petey didn’t know how to begin. Melanie, her granddaughter, had been lost to her over 11 years ago after a bitter contentious divorce between Petey’s daughter, Juliana, and Juliana’s then husband Ralph, who’d controlled his wife and daughter Melanie so completely that Juliana lost it. Literally lost her mind and attempted murder.
Ralph survived, and while Juliana spent years in a mental institution, Melanie was taken away by her dad, never to be seen or heard from again.
Petey snapped back to attention, frantically looking in all directions to see if Ralph was around, or anyone else, to dissuade Melanie from talking with her grandmother.
Petey grimaced. She hated phones. Her cell was still in a dresser drawer where she threw it over a month ago, so mad at the spam calls.
“So how did you…” Petey’s words were black staccato.
“I remembered your best friend’s name was Sarah, and that she married a handsome man whose last name rhymed with lavish, and you used to tell me he smelled like cabbage.”
“Oh my god. Don Tavish,” Petey whispered.
Petey began to cry, big crocodile tears, and hugged this pretty woman who used to be the sweetest little girl, the person Petey loved most in her life.
“I love parties,” Petey agreed, and then hugged Melanie, happier than she’d been in a lifetime.