“Where is the blasted thing?!”
I sighed and put the textbook down. Momma never could maintain a smidgen of patience in herself.
“I’ll get it!” I rose and walked the three steps that separated my bedroom from the eat-in area. The measuring tape was exactly where she’d left it, on the dinette.
Momma was sitting on the floor not two feet from the table, one chair upended and her own legs sprawled straight out. She was wearing one of her depressing “housecoats” and a frown to match. It was uncanny how she managed to unbutton her kindly outward appearance and shed it right along with her matching sets of slacks and blouse.
My friends never did believe me that the woman who was head of PTA, mistress of all bake sales, and Lady-Of-The-Smile in charity drives and Christmas fairs, was a terror to be mothered by.
Her red-clawed hand reached for the tape. “And scissors? Did your pea brain stop a moment to consider I will need the scissors?”
She’d decided to reupholster the chairs. Again. Her idea of seasonal decoration.
We sat on pumpkins in the fall. On holly in the winter. On bunnies in the spring. On flags in July.
The curtains would be next.
I rummaged in the drawer for the scissors.
“Well?” She growled.
“They aren’t here, Momma.”
“Like hell they aren’t! Didn’t I tell you to never ever touch my fabric scissors? Just you wait till I’m done here!”
The threat had had some teeth to it while I was younger, and though she did not lift a hand to me since I’d grabbed hers in mine to hold her away two years ago — and she’d realized that my extension at five feet nine far exceeded her five foot three wingspan — the words themselves remained. And the possibility.
I kept my distance. Safer when she had a hammer nearby.
Something glinted underneath a corner of the pastel chintz.
“Can that be it?” I pointed.
She grumbled and reached for the scissors. “Just like you to hide it.”
“Can I get you anything else?” I knew better than to take the bait or argue. And I had a test to get back to studying for.
My ticket out, it was.
If I passed, I would be leaving.
I don’t care to where.