Enduring on the Lake

Friday, August 15, 2014

Chapter 10


I had continued to think about things all night and then when I got to the auction I thought about it more.  I wandered around looking at things, seeing a few familiar faces, but it was running into Zane and seeing how he acted that really cemented what I’d been feeling. 

“Zane, tell me the truth please.  Is Daddy paying you to babysit me?” 

Zane took a pull on the straw of the cold apple cider he finally accepted from me.  “He isn’t paying me.” 

Reading between the lines I said, “But he did suggest it was a condition of employment so to speak.”  At his silence I had to turn away as those hurt feelings tried to come back. 

Zane asked, “And you have a problem with that?  Or is it with me?  He said you’d be mad if you found out and would kick up a fuss.  You aren’t are you because I need the work.” 

With a sigh I answered, “Negative to all three.  Let’s just get this done.  Next time though let me know you’re going to be dogging me so I can make sure and bring enough snacks.  If you’re working you should at least get something out of it.” 

“Damn that’s a little insulting don’t you think?” 

“So’s people thinking I need a babysitter.  Let’s just get this over with.” 

“Hey now …” 

“Don’t.  It’s not your problem.”  I was fighting tears but I was determined that no one would know.  I looked closely at my list to avoid looking at anyone else.  I felt like they would all know my humiliation if I did.  “Not much here on the building list today.” 

After I felt him giving me a considering look he said, “Can’t expect to get everything the first time around.” 

“OK.” 

Curiously he asked, “You gonna pout?  If you are I can tell you it’s a waste of energy.” 

“You so obviously don’t know me.  I’m way past being used to having things not pan out the way I expected and even if I wasn’t, it isn’t your problem … or business.  You do your job and I’ll do mine.” 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” 

“It means,” I said finally turning to look at him.  “That I moved up here and it wasn’t on a whim or because I was running away from what’s at home.  It was to help my parents.  But I also thought I would have a life too.  You know … friends, neighbors, school, work … a life.  Got the school – it’s online.  Got the work … consignment piece work and remodeling.  Got the neighbors of all flavors from seasonal to local, including a man I call Uncle Red whose a retired sheriff and his son who is a deputy now that will already be checking on me regularly as a favor to my dad to make sure I don’t burn the cabin down, drain the lake, or have crazy parties and make unsavory acquaintances.  I thought I was working on the friend department but apparently not since it seems …”  I grabbed ahold of my emotions and stopped mid-sentence.  “That’s enough of that ridiculousness.  Things are the way they are.  Just point out what of this stuff you need for the job and let’s make a plan on who is going to bid on what.” 

“You thought I was here as a friend,” he said.  And he sounded surprised which did nothing for my already bruised ego. 

“Don’t rub it in please.  I’m really not capable of discussing this constructively right now, not to mention I don’t needs tales of bad behavior getting back to my parents.” 

I started walking up and down the aisles looking at the various lots and trying really hard not to think about how wrong I’d been … again.  I did manage to find my focus and left the auction having paid for stuff I would have overlooked as junk if Zane hadn’t explained what it could be used for.  He took that stuff and said he would bring it with him Monday after he’d gone through it, cleaned it up and that sort of thing. 

“Some of this stuff, if it doesn’t get used, can be combined and put in another auction that way your dad can recoup some of the expenses.” 

“Talk to Daddy.  He’s in charge.” 

“He said you were.” 

“Bull.  If I was ‘in charge’ my parents wouldn’t have people dogging me.”  My cell phone ran and I looked down and it was Uncle Red.  I flipped it up for Zane to see before answering. 

“Hi Uncle Red,” I said in a cheerful tone.  “Yes Sir, we’re finishing up loading now” … “Oh passable.  Didn’t get as much as I expected but Zane explained things.”    “Oh, I just ran into him.  Figure better for him to go over things than waste the money buying the wrong stuff, especially since I can’t return it.”    “Oh that’s nice of you Uncle Red but I’m gonna drive myself.  After church I’m going to Dog Belly to the flea market to start work on some stuff Mom wants done.”    “You too.” … “I will.”    “By Uncle Red.” 

Zane said, “Parents still have you on a short leash I guess.” 

I shrugged.  “Apparently.”  After debating for all of two seconds I said, “I can’t tell you what to do but I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t say anything about me figuring it out or being upset.” 

“Why?” 

“Because I … look I can see their point even if I … It’s just I’m their baby chick.  Sure I’m nineteen but that apparently doesn’t matter.  I’m out on my own for the first time and it’s not exactly next door where they can check on me regular themselves.  In their eyes they’re teaching me independence, but on their terms.” 

“But …” 

“But nothing.  It’s just the way things are … my reality for whatever reason.  It’s my life and the living of it will be a lot more comfortable if I don’t do it at the expense of my parents’ peace of mind.  They’ve been through enough.” 

“You mean Sam.” 

“I mean Sam and a lot of other stuff you don’t need to worry about that I’d rather not get into.  Just …” 

“OK, I won’t mention it … but I won’t lie either so if they ask direct I’ll tell them.  However I have one condition.” 

“What?” 

“that you continue to act like you’ve got something between your ears besides shaving cream and don’t turn into Pattie.” 

“Pattie?  You mean Junior’s lock box key keeper?” 

It took him all of ten seconds to get my meaning and then longer than that to catch his breath back from where he’d laughed to hard and nearly strangled. 

I just shook my head and told him, “You really don’t know me do you.”

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