The thing about Kat is that I knew I could tell her all of my indiscretions and she wouldn’t leave the room deciding she needed to de-freind me in the name of loyalty to Chris. She didn’t care about my mistakes. In fact, I got the weird feeling she actually enjoyed them a little.
“Girl, first I can’t believe you stayed at a strangers house last night. Secondly, you have no self control when it comes to that Jake guy!” she said, then laughed, spitting some egg out onto her lip them sucking it back in again.
“Sorry! But you seriously, self control, on a one to ten with you is like, ZERO. You crack me up. And I can’t believe you just left him out there in his truck with a busted windshield and a freeking bloody fist. Jesus!” She laughed again, stuffing more egg in her mouth. She spoken loudly, announcing my indiscretions to the whole of Waffle House as if she thought her words made us the exciting ones in there instead of the idiots who couldn’t keep their shit together.
I looked outside the greesy windows. Trucks lined the parking lot, lots of GATOR stickers plastered all over dented bumpers. A couple smoked outside of the door, leaning that relaxed way that smokers do with their cigarettes dangling…just about to fall from their long fingers, but not quite.
“Odette!” She said.
“Huh? Oh yeah, my indiscretions crack you up and I’m a horrible person for ditching Jake like that.” I took a sip of my orange juice.
She held up her coffee, “cheers” she said. I wasn’t sure what we were cheering but I clinked plastic cups with her anyway. “It is so good to see you friend. You do realize I’m coming to the beach like, next weekend, right?”
“I’d love that” I said, whith a mouth full of grits. “You would be amazed at what Zoe can do now. She knows all the captials and all the states when we do her United States puzzle.” I pulled out my phone and held it over the table to show her a puzzled of Zoe, sitting on the wooden floor of Luna’s living room, working on the puzzle.
“She’s so beautiful like her Mama. And she’s like a little autistic genius. Like a little Rain Man.”
I felt a bit of a sting in my gut. “She’s not like Rain Man,” I said. “She is completely her own little person. And don’t call her autistic, I hate that, as if she were a ‘type’ of something. She is not autistic, she is Zoe, and she happens to have autism too.” I took a big gulp of orange juice then looked over the plastic cup at Kat who was open-mouthed.
“Sorry” she said. “I was joking around a little, since you know, Rain Man was a genius. He was pretty cool. It’s not like an insult or anything. I said she was beautiful.”
“I know,” I said, shaking my head. “I’m not mad or anything. It is just everything gets confusing sometimes. I just don’t want her to be stuck in a box becuase of her diagnosis. I worry about her so much. I don’t know what her future is goning to be like, if she will ever make friends or ever, you know, drive or have a boyfriend…get married or even ever have a job. I just don’t know.” I gulped some more juice and realized that was the first time I had ever said that outloud. “Sometimes I have to get away to clear my head, so I can get back to her fresh and be a good mom.” I had to fight back tears.
I looked up at Kat who was enthusiastically finishing her eggs. She nodded. “These are really good eggs. They slather so much butter on here. How do they do it? How do they make EGGS taste so good?”
I looked at her with wonder. Hadn’t she heard anything I just said?
Then she put her fork down and looked at me inquisitively. “Sometimes I’m really glad I don’t have kids. It seems like way to much emotional crap for everyone. My brother is freaking out because his son is biting anything that moves and got kicked out of preschool. The parents there actually signed a petition to get rid of him! And now my brother has to stay home from work for two weeks while they find another preschool. I don’t know how you all deal with all that crap.”
I sighed a big sigh. “Your poor brother. That really sucks but it will be a story to laugh about in a couple of Christmas’s. Mine won’t be.” I felt a bit solemn.
“Maybe he’ll be done with biting, but he’ll probably being doing something else by then to terrorize his family.”
I nodded. “Everyone has kid issues I suppose.” I sighed. “I miss Zoe.”
“What about Chris, do you miss him?”
“Even though you are still lusting over college boy.”
I gave her a hard stare, but simply said, “Yeah.” Then I smiled. “I should introduce Jake to you…get you guys together. Then he would be even more inaccessible because he would be yours.”
“As if I would do that. Anyway, isn’t he getting engaged?”
“I seriously doubt that’s going to happen” I said, finishing up my grits. “Damn it, you are going to make my stomach hurt.”
Kat laughed. “Haven’t you heard the phrase, you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Well its because when you do eat it, your stomach hurts..”
I put my fork down and nodded. “I’ve had enough.”
“Let’s go see some alligators at Paynes Prarie. You can practically touch them there.”
“Really? I don’t know about that. I’d like to make it home alive, not all chewed up.”
“No, they are totally used to people. It is amazing to see them out in the wild and not all caged up like that Gator World of yours down in St. Augustine.”
“OK” I grinned while pulling out my wallet. “Let’s go.”