“Please, India.” Marissa indicated an empty seat. I considered wading back to the door. I really, really wanted to wade back to the door, run the five blocks back to the car, get in, break the sound barrier driving back to Tamsett, and lock myself in the house with Ben and Jerry. But the look on Tom’s face stopped me. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of easy escape. I sat. Then I noticed that there were but two chairs at the table.
“Marissa,” I said or, more to the point, growled. I rose slightly. Marissa’s hand on my shoulder pushed me back into the seat.
“Now,” she said. “I’ll be back in twenty minutes. You two need to talk. You’ve been married for over thirty years, for goodness sake. You can fix this.” And off she went, parting the water back to the door and leaving me stranded on Tom Island.
I stood and stared after my audacious soon-to-be-ex-mother-in-law and considered my options. I stood there for so long that when I heard the sound of Tom’s chair scraping over the floor, it felt like a
jolt of electricity. “I’ll go,” he said, quietly to my back. “You sit. She’ll be back soon.”
“Oh, no, you don’t. You are not leaving me here to explain to your mother why we can’t make it all better.”
Tom sighed and sat back down. “You are bound and determined to make this difficult, aren’t you?”
“Difficult?” I rounded on him now. “You're sleeping with our son’s ex-girlfriend, and you think I’m being difficult?”
“India, please. Sit down.”
“Goodbye, Tom.” I waded back to the door, looking half as elegant as my mother-in-law had been. I wished I’d said more. I wished I’d made a scene. But it wasn’t like me to make a scene. I wasn’t a boat rocker. I marched back to my car. My cell rang halfway back to Tamsett. “India, why are you being so stubborn?” asked Marissa.
“Ask your son,” I said. And, for the first time in my life, I hung up on Marissa Othmar. It occurred to me that I should have done it a long time ago.