“I know you’re very disappointed, Chelsey but I just don’t feel comfortable going away and leaving your mother alone.”
“I know she’s acting strange again but that’s no reason for you to back out of our trip. You’ve been looking forward to it as much as I have.”
“Yes, I know and I’m sorry but I’m concerned about your mother.”
“Why are you so concerned about her?”
“I think she’s depressed.”
“Depressed? About what?”
“I don’t know. I’ve asked her what was wrong but she wouldn’t tell me.”
“Maybe she’s just going through menopause.”
“Your mother is perimenopausal not menopausal.”
“Couldn’t it be that then?”
“I don’t think so. Anyway, if you and I were to go away, I wouldn’t enjoy myself or be much company for you because I would be worrying about her.”
“All right. We won’t go.”
“I’m sorry, Chelsey. I promise I’ll make it up to you.”
“I’ve to go now. I’m meeting a friend.” She stalked out of the room. Instead of heading for the foyer, she went upstairs to the master bedroom where her mother was.
Ruth was standing at the window, arms wrapped around her, staring out of the window. She turned when she heard the door open. “What do you want?” she asked her daughter. She really wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone. She knew she must look like mess with her disheveled hair and pale face but she didn’t care.
“Well, I hope you’re happy,” Chelsey muttered as she walked up to her.
Ruth stared at her blankly. “What do you mean?” she asked. “What am I supposed to be happy about?”
“Gideon and I aren’t going to France anymore.”
“He doesn’t want to leave you here alone because he’s worried about you.”
“Worried about me?”
“Yes. For some reason, he thinks you’re depressed.”
“I’m not depressed.”
“Why don’t you tell him that then and try to encourage him to go on the trip to France with me?”
“So, that’s why you’re so upset? Because of your trip?”
“Wouldn’t you be in you were in my place? How would you feel if you were looking forward to a trip for a long time and then you don’t get to go because of someone else?”
“You resent me, don’t you because Gideon would rather stay here with me, his wife than to go on a boring trip with you, his step-daughter?”
“It isn’t–wasn’t a boring trip,” Chelsey retorted. “We would have had a really nice time if it weren’t for you.”
“What were you hoping was going to happen on that trip?” Ruth asked her.
Chelsey felt her face turn red. “What do you mean?” she demanded.
“Were you hoping that you would get Gideon to see you as more than a teenage girl with a crush on him? Were you hoping that something would happen between you and him in the country of love and romance?”
“Don’t be ridiculous!”
“Ridiculous? You think I’m being ridiculous? What about you, little girl? Don’t you think you’re being ridiculous? What would you call traipsing off to France, a country renowned for its sensuality with a man who’s old enough to be your father?”
Chelsey was shaking with anger now. Fists clenched at her sides, she said, “I don’t what’s wrong with you but I’m not going to stand here and have you insinuate that I have ulterior motives for wanting to visit France with Gideon.”
“I’m not insinuating anything. You admitted to me that you’re attracted to him and I’ve seen the way you look at him and it disgusts me. He doesn’t even notice. How do you think he would feel if he knew that you’re carrying a torch for him? Do you think he would be flattered? Do you think that when you two are alone in France and the situation is right that he would give into temptation?”
“Stop it, Mother! I don’t know what has gotten into you–“
“Nothing has gotten into me.”
“Why are you acting like this?”
“How am I acting?”
“Have you been drinking or something?”
“I had a couple of glasses of wine but I’m not drunk.”
“Are you going to persuade Gideon to go on the trip or not?”
“I’m not going to persuade him to do something he doesn’t want to do. Now, kindly go away. I want to be left alone.” She turned so that she was backing her.
Chelsey turned and marched out of the room, slamming the door behind her. Ruth went over to the bed and collapsed on it. With her face buried in the coverlet, she began to cry.
Source: The Globe Diary