Sequence of Events: Moving On (part four)
“Thus,” he went on, “we need not abandon our mission due to a mere contingency, one that any careful plan would have anticipated. No…I still consider my thinking to have been sound. It was the weather…”
He’d paced back to the mantelpiece during these remarks, then away again at a tangent, visiting the desk where his stepson scribbled in a notebook. “Shorthand! Myrna! Did you know about this?”
“That Rob has a skill? It’s no use, Anselm.”
Myrna’s dress had a georgette sash tied at the hip in a bow, trailing ends that wafted as she moved with a languor of her own. Rose was in the habit of dressing herself, in imagination, in the clothes other women wore. If she were wrapped in floating, diaphanous things, would her heart feel light as Myrna’s sash?
“He is copying down everything you say, darling.”
Anselm at this scratched his nose—a tic tending to be a precursor to, “I’ll share with you a thought of mine…”, but Rob spoke first.
He spoke without lifting his eyes from the pencil in his hand. “It’s for Hollywood, okay?” He might have capped his remark with, “…stupid.” It was always there, in Rob’s tone of voice—the distance he put between himself and others; the attitude that explained it.
“Rob is launching a new career, Rose. Another one.”
Catching Myrna glance behind as she left him, Rob began to write, his pencil scritching six distinct times. “Rica says they like flying ace stories out there. I’m giving them Anselm in the raw. I doubt they’ll buy him.”
His mother sank among the cushions, the tiers and sash of her dress settling around her. She said to Rose, “Rob won’t leave the house, not until his friend comes to get him.”
“But, Myrna, when she comes back…”
“Rica Bullard. Do you know her, Rose?”
Rob repeated, “When…”
“She was at Metro, the film studio, for a year or two. She came home. Now, she’s gone out to California again.”
“You’ll get your wish. ” He nearly swallowed the words. “Adios para siempre, madre.”
“And,” Rose prompted, “she’s coming back to collect Rob.”
(2016, Stephanie Foster)