Whenever my mother is drunk and in the company of men, she likes to get going on old dental school stories about Daddy. This is usually on the afternoon of a Monday, when the house is closed to the people who pay money to see it, and most probably in the springtime, when whichever doctor she's been courting will come over for drinks with some of his other doctor friends after their golf game out at Edgewater or Vernonia. Roundabout happy hour is when they show. Tires squealing up the cobble drive that snakes to the top of our front lawn. From Daddy's bay window I'll watch them pull in. Nudging the snouts of their Town Cars and Cougars up as close to the front entrance as they possibly can. And even from three stories up, barricaded by thick timber walls and double glass, I can hear them. Bursting into the foyer without bothering to use the knocker. A horde of mix-and-match plaid and laughing good nature, smelling up the place with cigar smoke and fresh grass cuttings. Calling out my mother's name, which is Natalie.
Natalie, Natalie, they'll choir, charging toward the sitting room bar, cracking ice into Opa's crystal tumblers, popping handfuls of pearl onions and green olives into their mouths straight from the jars. And one or two of them, like Dr. Al Kraft or Dr. Jimmie Zerr, who are from the Heights and have known my mother since grammar school, might even climb halfway up to the second floor.
Natty, they'll shout from the landing. You indescribable bitch.
And I know that, from her own room, she can hear them just as well as I can, yanking open all the curtain sash cords with dirty hands, catcalling like a bunch of teenagers as they storm back down.
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