Kind Gestures by S. Webster
Beth – 2:30 pm
Beth’s next stop is to the bank to make a withdrawal on their savings account. Back in the car she reads her letters one more time before placing the money in one and then sealing them both. It is a little after four when she pulls into the post office and parks the car. The cool interior is a welcome relief from the heat outside and she lingers just for a little while after checking that she has the correct postage on her letters and handing them over to the postmaster, Dorothy.
“You alright, honey?” Dorothy asks.
“Fine, Dorothy. Thank you,” Beth answers.
“Are the boys with you?”
“No, I dropped them at the park in town to burn off some of their energy before I take them over to Pastor John’s house for the night.”
“I bet you’ll be glad when the boys start back to school next week.”
“Yes, even they are looking forward to it, being back with their friends, a new teacher and classroom. This summer has seemed longer than usual. Or maybe it’s just the heat getting to us.”
“You take care. I’ll see you at church on Sunday,” Dorothy says as Beth backs her way out the door and right into her mother, Paula Siddons.
“Watch where you’re going.” Paula snaps and makes no apology when she sees it is her daughter.
“Sorry Mother, I didn’t see you.”
They both pause knowing they should say more to each other, but just enough to be civil.
“How’s George?” Paula asks.
Beth thinks, ‘always ‘How’s George?’ never “How are you and the boys?’
“Work has picked up for him, Mother, so George is spending more time away from home.”
“Probably not a bad idea if you are still moping around the house. No man wants to live with that,” Paula tells her before adding, “Oh, how are the boys?”
“Fine, Mother, just fine,” Beth says to Paula who is already stepping into the post office.
She starts the car and backs out of her parking spot. In the next block Beth pulls over to the side and parks in the shade. She shuts off the engine and holds the wheel firmly until her hands stop shaking. Why does she still let her mother get to her like this? It has been weeks since she has seen her and it is always the same. Her mother can’t wait to get away from her and Beth has never understood why. She was a good girl. She always did what she was told. She never did bad things. Beth realizes her hands have moved from the wheel and opens her eyes to see them clasped together. She checks her watch and turns the key. The boys will be looking for her.