Corinna, Evelyn and Brett ran into each other at a craft fair in Manistee. Since attending the Catholic high school they hadn’t been together in twenty years.
Over shared appetizers and strawberry daiquiris, Evelyn began her monologue, “Gals, now listen up, let’s get right into bragging.” She didn’t notice Brett’s aghast facial expression as she herself wondered what she could quickly concoct for crowing.
Evelyn charged ahead, “I attended Michigan and got a bachelor’s in biology and certification as a medical technologist. I’m the manager of a lab in Chelsea. My husband, Nip, that’s Nicholas Montgomery III, is an engineer for a very prestigious firm and our children are Anastasia, ...”
When she paused to sip her drink, Brett jumped into the seemingly spinning jump rope of yesteryear and laughingly spoke, “Ev, you sound like a documentary. Cut it out! We all have husbands, more or less, kids, jobs, blah blah. I want to know the depths of our soles, you know s-o-l-e-s, if you get my drift.”
A quiet cackle emitted from Corinna. “Depths of our Soles, I’d forgotten about that. Yes let’s play!”
Evelyn rolled her green eyes but nodded. The innocent game had begun years earlier as the three friends sat on the pier and discovered each was wearing the same brand of sandal by that name.
Through a hearty guffaw Brett said, “I’ll start.”
“Evelyn Johnson, Mr. Daniels took you out of Algebra I into the hallway the day you cried in class. Tell us the truth or do our prank.”
“Oh my gosh, as he closed the door he put his right hand on the side of my face and asked why I felt I needed the math credit. He was so gentle, not like he was so strict in class. I told him for college. He said he was starting a special class after school, for his failing students, and he’d bring us all home afterward.
My folks were thrilled. I went. He served icy colas, and was very kind and methodical and I understood, and I got a B.”
“Are you telling the truth?” queried a suspicious Corinna.
“Cross my heart and hope to die, it’s the truth eye eye eye.”
Evelyn turned to Corinna, grasped her arm and asked, “Cor, dear, who took you home from the senior prom? Or, balance your fork on your nose.”
Corinna-Sue blushed the most wonderful shade of crimson, grabbed her fork, wiped it hastily with her napkin, tilted her blond head back and set the fork tines on her elfish nose. She pushed her lips together tightly, indicating she wasn’t answering that one.
As the women pointed and laughed, Corinna stuck her emerald-studded right index finger at Brett and asked, “Was your sister really indicted on attempted murder of Judge Hobart? Or jump around the table like a chicken.”
Brett stared at the accuser and took on an air of the thespian she had been at Rutgers, “The truth is, Judge Hobart willfully signed an Order allowing my brother-in-law, Joseph, to have visitation rights with seven-year-old, Mickey, even after he was found guilty of child-neglect on a weekend visit where the boy had nothing to eat but water and cookies and was locked in a small, hot apartment, alone, for two August days.
My sister, Jenny, you knew her from Brownies, went to the Judge’s courtroom during another family’s custody hearing and opened fire on the Judge with a paint-gun, spattering her chest and arms and the back wall of the courtroom before security tackled her to the floor.
It wasn’t attempted murder, but it was assault, and the newspaper headlines would have been funny, if it hadn’t been about Jenny.”
That revelation changed everyone’s demeanor. Conversation shifted from the game, to Brett telling of her two husbands, more or less, divorces, and her beautiful daughter, Avon, who was eight.
Corinna told them she had been married seventeen years when husband, Cretchet, got pancreatic cancer and died in three short weeks, leaving her to raise Mirinda, now eleven, and Marissa, thirteen. “We’re doing okay, its been two years. The girls are happy in their schools, the same ones we attended, and we have tons of love.”
The three friends had made their ways through life, being touched by kindnesses and sorrows. On this evening they once again had been spellbound by life, to the depths of their souls.
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