NEXT TIME????????

Okay– So Chicken is learning how to drive.  It’s not pretty.

“Chicken, you ready to drive to school today?”


“Seriously– your instructor is going to be here Saturday.  You up for it?”




“Dammit, get in the car.  I know you know how to back out.”


“See, that’s not so… okay, slow down, slow to  stop… ungh… good.  Now go forward.  A little BUT NOT TOO faster good.  Now slow to a stop.  Now go forward.  Good.  We’re turning left here.  Now get in the left lane.  Now slow to a stop STOP there’s a car there.”

“I could SEE that, mom!”

“Right.  Yeah.  My  bad.  Okay.  Now slide into the outside left turn lane here.  Good.  Now stay on the OUTside… good.  Good.  Don’t want to cut that too close.”

“I hate being on the inside lane.”

“Good.  Good.  Wait, wasn’t that the turn for the back way to your school?”

“You didn’t tell me to take it!”

“But you know how to… I just thought… never mind.  Okay.  Left hand turn lane here.  Inside.”

“I hate inside turns.”

I swallow.  She does.  She sucks at them.  Everytime she’s made one, she’s threatened the island in the middle or the person in the inside left turn of the oncoming lane.  I look at the traffic–our light JUST turned red, so we’ve got some time.

“Do you want me to drive?”




And we run around the car.  And run into each other, bounce off, run around each other and then…

“Fuck!!!”  She weighs 150, and I weigh twice that–YES she’s moved the fucking seat!  “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…”

I slide the seat back, get in, shut the door, get belted, get the car out of park, and sit, my heart pounding in my chest, while Chicken dissolves quietly next to me.

“What?” I ask, stepping on the gas as traffic moves.

“We ran into each other!  Next time, I’ll go around back and you go around front.”

My whole world narrows down to two words.

“NEXT TIME??????????????”

God save us if there’s a next time.

And speaking of NEXT TIME.

Big T spends most of his time in the back bedroom.  We’re all used to him doing that.  Too used to him doing that.

On Tuesdays, I take Squish to dance, and leave Zoomboy, Chicken, and Big T at the house.  Then Mate arrives and takes Chicken to her dance class (in a different place) and Zoomboy does his homework while Big T lurks in the back bedroom.

I got home on Tuesday, and Zoomboy ran out to meet me.

“Is Big T home?” he asked, and my eyes did this:  0.0

“Did he get home after I left?”  He’d been late from school.

“No.  You left me alone.”


“I did my homework.”

My heart is thundering in my ears and my vision is going black.

“You didn’t burn the house down!” I say.  “You are SUCH a good boy!”

“Mom, we don’t even keep any matches!  And I didn’t cook any food.”

“You are such a good boy!”  *pound pound pound*

“Yeah.  Here mom.  Let’s write down your phone number, so the next time this happens, I can call you.”

“NEXT TIME?????????”

So, I’m sitting and writing, and next to me is the remains of part of my dinner–cucumbers in low fat dressing with bacon-flavored soy bits on them.  The dressing is a favorite of the families–Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger, and there’s a lot left in the bottom of the bowl.

Big T walks by and picks it up.  “Mom, can I have this?”

“Uh, sure?”

And he drinks it.  DRINKS IT.  I can hear his throat working as he gulps it down.  He puts the dish in the sink, pleased with himself.

“Next time, I’m going to have to chop up some vegetables to put in it,” he says.

Oh Jesus.  Next time.

0 thoughts on “NEXT TIME????????”

  1. ooooh dear. You're not giving me a lot of hope for my future, here.

  2. roxie says:

    Next time? And don't you know there are going to be so many more first times, too. The first time Chicken runs out of gas. The first time Zoomboy drives. The first time Squish drives . . . the first time you curl up in a gibbering ball of angst . . . no, that's another one of those next time things, right?

  3. Donna Lee says:

    Next time. What a scary phrase. Teaching my kids to drive was one of the most difficult parts of our relationship.

  4. Next time, take the day off.

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