Chapter 16 1958 - Adrian and Angela

Chapter 16.

Adrian adored his little sister Angela. Now that she was a year old she was more fun to play with, and even when she got into his toys, he didn’t mind. When his father was home from touring, the four of them would go to the park. Annette was regaining her shapely figure and with Buddy’s ruggedly handsome looks, they would not have looked out of place on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post as the typical American family.

As Buddy and Annette strolled through the park on a rare Saturday afternoon together, with Adrian tailing behind towing Angela in his little red wagon, they encountered an uncomfortable scene. It was Adrian’s grandparents, on Deborah’s side. Adrian rarely saw them, and when his grandmother reached out to pick him up, he ran and hid behind Annette.

“Hello, Mary… Fred.” Buddy greeted his former in-laws somewhat uncomfortably. “Fancy meeting you here,” he said, not knowing exactly how to deal with the situation.

“Hello, Arlen,” replied Mary. She was the only one who ever called him by his given name. He didn’t appreciate it, but let it pass.

“Come here, Adrian and give your Grandma a hug.” Annette and Angela were virtually ignored.

Adrian warily stepped from behind his stepmother and tentatively stepped up to Mary. When she bent down to pick him up, he once again stepped back, a little unsure of her intentions.

“What’s wrong, Adrian, are you afraid of Grandma?”

Adrian looked back at Annette, and she gave him an assuring nod. Mary frowned a bit at her perceived pomposity thinking, “What right does she have to mother my daughter’s son?”

“Did you enjoy your birthday present?” she asked him. Adrian nodded timidly, although he had no idea what that present might have been. “You’ll have to come over to play at Grandma’s house this week.” She turned to Buddy, “Would that be OK?”

Buddy didn’t understand this sudden interest, but conceded that it would be OK. Once again, Annette’s presence was not even considered.

“All right, Tuesday it is!” she decided, without any further consultation. “Bring him by in the morning. Goodbye Arlen.”

As quickly as they had happened on the situation, Mary and Frank were off. It was almost as if they had conspired to be there at that time.

“I’m sorry Buddy,” Annette whispered to her husband so that Adrian wouldn’t hear, “but that woman is a real witch!”

“They are Adrian’s grandparents, so they have the right to see him,” he replied.

“I know, but still,” she gave a questioning pause. “Was she always like that?”

“Before Deborah’s death, she was more pleasant, but never what I would call ‘nice’. I suppose our mutual loss was more that she could bear. Maybe it will be good for her to spend some time with her grandson.”

On Tuesday, Annette brought Adrian over to the Martin’s home. Mary again barely acknowledged Annette as she greeted Adrian with a forced smile, “There’s my little guy. Come in!”

“I’ll be back at four to pick him up,” said Annette as the door closed without acknowledgement or even a simple goodbye.

Inside, Mary asked Adrian, “Would you like a cookie?”

Adrian replied, “Mommy doesn’t want me eating cookies before lunch.”

Mary cringed and told him, “Well, she’s not really your mommy now, is she?”

Adrian looked at her a little confused. For most of the last two years, Annette was all he’d known as a mother. For him, she was “mommy.”

“No, that woman is not your mother, but I can show you who was.” Mary opened a picture album on the table.

“See here? This is your mother.” It was a picture from Buddy and Deborah’s wedding back in 1951. “She was a beautiful bride,” Mary sighed.

Adrian looked at the picture, and began to wonder why he’d never seen anything like it before. He recognized his father, but the woman was a complete stranger to him.

“And here’s a picture with you.”

Adrian looked, but could not see himself anywhere in the picture. It was the same woman as before, but this time she was fat.

“Your mother was a wonderful little girl, too,” as Mary turned to a picture of a girl not much older than Adrian.

When she showed him a picture of Deborah as a baby, Adrian asked, “Is that Angela?”

Mary slammed the album shut and glared at Adrian. “No, it’s not,” and left it at that. Adrian was confused by her sudden change in demeanor.

“Grandma,” he said tentatively, “can we play now?”

“Not right now, Adrian,” she said, a tear forming in her eye. “I need to lie down for a while.”

Adrian decided he did not like being at Grandma’s house.