I made the call to Dean Array on a Monday morning in mid- December. From the sound of his voice on the phone, I could tell he was overjoyed about my decision.
It was his overall tone that gave it away.
“Mia, I can’t tell you how happy we are for you.”
“I am also glad to be getting this opportunity Dean Array.”
“You should be getting your welcome packet in the mail next week.”
“Thank you; I will look for it.”
After hanging up, I started to get teary-eyed. As I look at everything in my room, the reminders of Leo send me into shock. It happens when I go out; I am reminded of everything Leo and I shared. Sometimes even something like visiting the local café gets me misty-eyed. The pain gripped my heart and choked me.
When will it all go away?
The memories of Leo were all here in Michigan. This is not to say I would ever want to forget them, but it’s hard to be in Ann Arbor or any neighboring towns without feeling the pain of his loss. Now the focus was to tell my parents. I just hoped it wouldn’t turn into
something major with them. Actually, the one most concerning was my mother. Not so much my dad.
I knew he would take it better, though. He always does. My mother is a different story. She worried about so many things, as all mothers did.
I get it, but at times it just gets to be a bit much to deal with. Well, now to figure out the best way to bring it up. I think I will mention it at dinner tonight. For now, I still need to tie up some loose ends with the dance academy and begin the task of packing.
I hope I am doing the right thing.
Later that night, my mother had dinner on the table at 6 p.m. sharp. For tonight’s menu, she really outdid herself. She made her famous Chicken Divan with scalloped potatoes and tomato and cucumber salad. We all sat down and said grace before eating. This time, the mood around the table is peaceful, and I could tell my parents are just enjoying the food and the small talk.
“Mom, this chicken is delicious,” I say. “Thank you, Mia.”
Dad smiled as he chewed. “Oh, Mary, this is just all so good.” She beamed. “Thank you, Dan.”
My mother was happy to see us enjoying her food. She had always been a wonderful cook. I was thankful to have grown up with her. She always made sure we ate well.
I loved it when both my parents and Leo’s planned barbecues and dinner parties. Leo and I bragged about how our mothers made the best food. Not to sell my mom short, but Mrs. Dancy was also one gifted cook.
Boy, I sure do miss those times. It seems like it was so long ago. “You all right, Mia?”
I nod. “I’m okay, Mom.”
“Seemed like you were in another place.”
“I was for a bit. Remember when both you and the Dancys got together for dinner parties?”
My mother smiles. “Oh, I do, and I miss those days.”
“Well, Dad, you have been out with Mr. Dancy, right?”
Suddenly my dad’s expression darkens, and one of his eyebrows wrinkled. He sighed. “I am afraid John and Margie are not well at all.”
“What do you mean, Dad?” I bite my bottom lip, as I usually did when I get worried or nervous.
“Yes, Dan. What is going on?”
“Well, last time I went to pick up John for Bingo, he came out and told me he would rather stay in. I followed John inside, and for a brief moment I saw Marjorie. She looked very thin, frail, and has aged a great deal. Concerned, I asked John how she was doing. He said she was not eating right and spent most of her time in Leo’s room.”
The news saddened me. I’ve always loved the Dancys. They were good people and my parents had always been great friends with them.
Dad continued. “John said he is taking her to the doctor to see if they can recommend someone to help.”
“Oh, I need to see Margie and offer my help,” said Mom.
Dad smiled. “Well, let’s wait for John to take her to the doctor, dear.”
“I suppose you are right, Dan.”
I looked down at my hands. “I feel bad. I have not stopped by to see them lately.”
“Mia, honey, they know you are busy and how hard this has been on you, too,” reassured my dad.
“Yes, they do. I agree with your father, Mia.”
Once dinner was over, we sat around and talked for a bit.
Well, there is no time like the present to tell them what I have decided.
“Mom and Dad, I need to tell you both something.” “What is it, Mia?” asked my mom in a concerned voice. “Yes, Mia,” my dad echoed.
“Well, remember the letter I received a few months ago?” “Yes, I remember,” said my mom.
“The one from the New York Dance Academy, right?” asked my dad.
“Yes, that one.”
My mom began to nod, but I could see her eyes were scanning the room—a sure sign that she was nervous.
“I take it you have come to a decision?” he continued.
I took a deep breath. “Yes, and after giving it much thought, I called and told Dean Array I plan on taking their offer.”
For a few moments, they were both quiet. Then my dad got up. “Congratulations, honey. I am happy for you.” He kissed me and hugged me tightly. For the first time in a year, I felt loved.
“Thanks, Dad,” I sobbed. “It’s okay, Mia.”
Well, now I needed to brace myself for what my mother would say. Dad and I both look right at her.
She was already sobbing. I stood up. “Oh, Mom. I’m so sorry.” “Please, Mia.” She signaled with her hand for me to stop. “I am
happy for you. I knew when the letter came you had decided to go.” She paused. “As much as it scares me, I think this is exactly what you need.”
I was so overjoyed, I could not help but hug her. “Thank you, Mom. I love you and Dad so much.”
After we got through our crying and hugging, my father gets up again. “Coffee, anyone?”
Both my mother and I look at him excitedly and say, “Yes, please.”
Hmm, I am thankful that wasn’t so bad.
Well, now to move on…