He’s one of my favorites.
WHAT IS TODAY?
THIS IS AWESOME!
I think it was his text alert.
I was named after the character, Becca, on a late 80’s, early 90’s show called Life Goes On.
And her mother was played by Patti LuPone.
And I can’t watch it ANYWHERE.
PATTI LUPONE IS IN THE TV SHOW I WAS NAMED AFTER.
“Damn. Damn, damn. Bugger-all and damn!”
Donna stands in the car park, still holding tightly to her ripped grocery bag.
“Bugger, damn, damn!” she adds for good measure as she kneels down to get her food. This day cannot get any worse. Shaun woke up in the middle of the night and got sick. Then, little Christie got sick in the morning, only five minutes after Donna had gotten back into bed after taking care of the husband. The dog, Spartacus, peed on the carpet. Mother called and insisted on talking at length about her night out with “the ladies” in her new neighborhood. Meanwhile, Christie was ill on the floor next to her bed, where Sparty suddenly decided he had to walk around.
And now, this. This stupid bag has to break and spill her groceries all across the car park.
As Donna shifts to grab a loaf of bread, her foot kicks a stray orange and it rolls quickly away.
“Oh, come on!”
A man steps up to the fruit and snatches it quickly up from rolling under a car.
“I believe this is yours?” he says, offering it to Donna.
“Yes. Thanks,” Donna says, still preoccupied by trying to get all of the food in her arms.
“Here, let me…”
“No, no, I’ve got it.”
Still, he grabs the items she can’t and stands with her.
“Well, if you’re helping, then the car is that way,” Donna says without even looking. She leads the man to her car and begins to fumble for her keys. The bread and a can of soup fly out of her arms. ”Bugger!”
The man runs to the food, almost tripping over his long legs. ”I have it! I have it!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Donna says, distracted as she pulls at the keys in her pocket. They burst out with a jangle. ”Finally.” She unlocks the car and begins to throw the food, unceremoniously into the back seat. ”There, it all goes there,” she directs, waving her hands at the car.
The man bends over and places what he has, neatly, onto the seat. ”There you are! Bags are never very trustworthy, are they? Always willing to split, or open at the most inopportune moment.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I guess,” Donna says, finally getting a good look at the man who helped her.
He’s tall, lanky, and wearing a strange brown suit with a bow tie. His hair hangs dangerously close to poking his eye.
“A bow tie?”
“Cool, no?” He looks almost as though he wants her approval.
Then, Donna notices how he’s looking at her. Like he’s appraising her, or he’s finally found the remote, after a long search, hidden deep in the couch. How could he have found her? She doesn’t even know him.
“Have I got something in my teeth?” he asks.
“What? No. Nothing.” There’s something about his eyes. ”Do I know you?”
He looks surprised. ”Me? No. Just a stranger, passing through, helping redheads with spilt groceries, taking care of crying children, and such.”
“Yes…oh! Crying children. I really have to go home. Thanks so much for your help…”
“Do you have children?” he asks suddenly. He looks genuinely interested. And proud?
“One. A little girl. Christine Jennifer. Christie, really. Everyone calls her Christie. She’s sick right now. Along with her dad. Stomach flu, I think.”
“Christie? I bet she’s a spitfire little redhead, like her mother.”
“Oh yes, always getting into trouble that one. But, she’s much too adorable to punish properly. Mother says we’re spoiling her. Granddad says she’s perfect,” Donna realizes she’s rambling. ”Oh, I’m sorry. Don’t mean to spill my life story at your feet.”
“No worries. It sounds like you have a lovely family,” the man says with a smile.
“They are. They really are. Make awful days worth it, you know? Have you got a family?”
The man looks like his mind has gone somewhere distant, though he still looks at Donna. ”In a way, yes. A wonderful family, full of…well, full of people like you, if it’s not too bold to say.”
“Your family must get into loads of trouble, then!”
“Hole in one!” the man says, laughing.
“That sounds lovely. And I would truly love to spend more time talking in the car park, but the family is sick. You should come have dinner with us some time. When we’re all healthy, of course.”
“Maybe. Maybe, I will,” he says, shaking her hand.
Without even thinking about it, Donna hugs him. He holds her tight and, for a moment, it’s the safest and most calm she’s felt in days. Then, she backs up. ”I’m so sorry. I don’t know what came over me. That was…I’m sorry.” She quickly opens her door and gets into the car.
He doesn’t answer. Just stands there and watches her fumble with her keys.
“I, um…I do really mean that dinner invitation. Here’s my business card. The address is right there for you.” She reaches into the glove box and pulls out a card. ”Call me and we’ll set a date!”
“Yes,” he says, absently, looking at the card.
Donna closes her door, starts the car, and rolls down her window. As the man walks away, she leans out and calls, “Goodbye, Doctor!”
The man turns, looking bewildered. ”What did you just say?”
Donna, confused herself, replies, “I’m not sure. I think I called you a doctor. I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was the bow tie.” She shrugs.
“Yes,” he says with a smile. ”Maybe. Goodbye, Donna.”