What happens when a dog on a juice cleanse eats one of her divorcée owner’s gluten-free lavender bars? Read on to find out…
…and submit any and all of your creative work to [email protected]!
Helen is gnawing on Willow Hearst’s car seat. Helen, you little beast! She must be reacting to the juice cleanse.
“That’s OK Helen, I’m with you honey.” I reach my hand into the backseat and stroke her pudgy forehead. “I know it’s hard. After three days, though, we won’t feel hungry anymore.” Helen’s body whizzes around and she licks my hand. Sometimes I think this pug loves me more than my own child.
*Ring! Ring! Ring!*
God, it’s Jiminez. About the bake sale. What does she want from me?
*One new text from Martina Jiminez*
Martina: I hear you’re bringing the gluten free option (for Willow Hearst?). Please be on time (10:30 am!). I’m setting up the table now. XX, Martina.
On time? Of course I’ll be on time. What have I ever done to make Jiminez doubt my punctuality? Plus, what’s with the ‘XX’? So over the top.
I put the car in reverse and zip out of the driveway, almost rolling over a miniature bicycle that I’ve overlooked and failed to return to its hook in the garage. Sheila probably fed Willow Hearst gluten this entire weekend. What a nightmare!
It’s 9:30 am, and the gate to Sheila’s cottage is wide open. Beatrice, Sheila’s mother, is sitting by the pool in a hot pink bikini with her grey, sparse hairs in curlers. Tanning at age 77. I am also certain she is still smoking pot quite regularly. Sheila claims it eases her mother’s arthritis. Wonderful example for Willow Hearst.
“Hello Beatrice,” I say. “You know why I’m here. For Willow Hearst. Is she inside? Is Sheila inside?”
“Robin, welcome to my paradise,” Beatrice rasps. “They’re both inside, darling.”
I open the door silently, and Helen and I patter into the dining area. Special K cereal litters the floor and dining table. Willow Hearst is done with breakfast; she sits finger painting at a miniature easel.
Sheila is photographing one of her complex fruit arrangements on the kitchen countertop. Helen, on a leash, starts eating the cereal on the floor.
“No!” I scream, startling both Sheila and Willow Hearst. “No! No! No! Helen is not allowed to eat solid carbohydrates right now! We are on a juice cleanse together!”
“Jesus Christ, Robin!” cries Sheila. “I almost dropped my damn camera!”
“Robin!” cries Willow Hearst.
“I told you to call me mommy,” I remind her as stride over to her painting station and stroke her short blonde hair. We have the same haircut, but my hair is almost black.
Sheila promptly grabs a broom from a nearby closet and starts sweeping the Special K into a neat pile on the floor. Portraits of Willow Hearst in various historical costumes hang tastefully over the stove. Ah, my favorite: the one where Willow is dressed as an old Cuban cigar craftsman from the 1950s. Helen sits in the background, with a cigar between her lips and a tiny black pug-sized fedora fastened to her head. Messy, messy cottage this is. Partly why I decided to separate from Sheila. She’s a disorganized artiste, to put it straight. Also because I discovered that I was not a lesbian. In hindsight, I think I became a lesbian and adopted a child with Sheila because I saw that inspirational documentary about Ellen Degeneres’ career as a lesbian comic and entrepreneur. Really, a piece of work like that can convert anyone with a bi-curious appetite. But alas, I have this beautiful, gifted daughter as a result of my experimental phase.
“Willow Hearst’s pack is packed, Robin dearest,” Sheila interrupts my thoughts. “What’s the plan for the week?”
“Well today is the 2nd grade-hosted bake sale. I’m bringing gluten-free lavender squares to respect Willow’s gluten intolerance – which I see from this cereal mess that you have not respected.” I glare at Sheila. She lives so unintentionally.
“Robin, Willow Hearst is not gluten intolerant. We’ve even gotten her tested,” Sheila challenges me. Typical: resistant and uncooperative in this blessed journey we call parenthood.
“It interferes with her sleep schedule, Sheila – I’ve seen it firsthand! Over and over and over again! She can’t go to sleep after eating gluten!” My voice is raised now. But we’ve got to get on the road.
“We’ve got to get on the road,” I say. “Willow Hearst grab your pack and greet Helen, please. We’re getting in the car now.”