There was no way for her to go in all of the directions she wanted to, and trying only made the problem worse. She wanted to bake with her mother, through in some laundry, turn on her show, pick up new cookie cutters, go back to Aeson’s house, and go to her own house at once. While Bethy was sure it looked as though she were just gliding through life to everyone else, especially her mother Hilda, but Bethy fought through a lot of conflicting moments like this to reflect her seemingly smooth life.
There were things that were hard for her like changing plans, changing her furniture, changing any type of pattern, regularity, or system she had. Change in general was an inconvenience, but she did it. Did Bethy sometimes come off as rigid and demanding, probably. Did she give a shit, no. Bethy always made sure to cross her t’s and dot her i’s when it came to scheduling. She had a calendar for herself, for her boyfriend, for work, and at least six notepads in rotation each with a general subject or specific area covered. There was her work notebooks (one for shortlist tasks, tracking her food/water intake, and noting her hours for her daily log; the other for meeting notes, long term projects, and tasks assigned to her from her boss), the was her purse notebook (for everything lists), the one by her bed (to capture her dreams), the one on the hallway table (to leave instructions for whomever was watching her home while she was away), and the one on the kitchen table (which was her financial book). Then there was the memo app in her phone where she kept anything that needed to be written down when she wasn’t near a notebook or was not specific enough to be put into a notebook. Bethy liked structure and organization almost as much as she loved notebooks.
Bethy couldn’t go food shopping. She could, but it was work. The whole concept of the place was dumbfounding. Stores were laid out for marketing purposes, not in any logical order. Why there was one section of fancy cheeses in the produce and two other sections spread across the beginning and tail end of the same aisle with the other dairy products made her eyes twitch. So instead she order pre-planned and mostly pre-prepped meals to her condo. She justified it by stating that there was a belief in sales and marketing that in order to be the most successful person or business one could possibly be, minimal tasks that literally anyone else could be doing should be outsourced. So that’s what she did. Did she cook when she was at Aeson’s house, yes. Was it delicious and 100% homemade everytime, yes. Did she leave him a list of groceries every Sunday morning before she left his house so he would “magically” be prepared, absolutely. But it worked. Aeson understood the quirky things about Bethy and didn’t mind doing the food shopping for his house as long as she didn’t do her grocery shopping at the drugstore across the street anymore. He never said that she couldn’t order food to be delivered to her… semantically speaking, she hadn’t broken her promise. In the twenty minute debate they had over it when she told him that was her winning proof. Every once in a while Aeson would take her to the farmer’s market by his house so she could load up on healthy snacks. For a reason he would never understand, the farmer’s markets didn’t bother Bethy – as long as there weren’t too many people.
People in large quantities ranging from two to hundreds freaked Bethy out, but Bethy stood her ground in a large groups. If she wasn’t with Aeson and their friends, she maneuvered through crowds fast as a pinball. Did her friends frequently remind her that not everyone was as driven as she was, and didn’t always need to businesswoman their way through a crowd, yes. But it didn’t stop Bethy. She carried herself as tall as anyone else, taller even, which at five feet three was a quite a feat. She made her way through a crowds as if it wasn’t there. Not because she was this overly confident, entitled young woman, but because if she didn’t Bethy would get trapped in a crowd. She would breakdown and need help. She might even cry. And none of those things were things Bethy did in public. Those were things she freaked out about on her therapist’s couch, her boyfriend’s couch, or in her bathroom. Never in public, and never when she might get stuck somewhere.
Bethy was thinking about these things as her mother Hilda called her back.
“Hi mother,” Bethy said trying to take the edge out of her voice.
“Hi honey,” her mother sweetly said, “how are you?”
“The same mom, we just spoke a few minutes ago,” Bethy said allowing her tone to exit through her eyes and not her mouth.
“I know. Where are you?”
“I’m at the light by Christophero’s. I’m about to make the left.”
“Oh that’s good. Well, I don’t have the cookie cutters, but I was looking in a box of your grandmother’s things. She has this cookie press with different shapes. We can use that if you want,” Hilda explained to Bethy.
“Sure,” Bethy said, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes or so. Okay?”
“Okay, honey,” Hilda replied, “drive safely. See you soon! I love you!”
Bethy hung up the phone. She wished she could buy patience and cookie cutters at the grocery store, because then at least the suffering through one would be helpful in this moment. This wasn’t going to work. Bethy knew what press her mother was referring to and it wasn’t going to make the shapes Bethy needed them to make. The shapes she needed to make were at her home. Instead, Bethy was on the way to her cousin’s, to see her mother, to bake. Because for whatever reason, her mother no longer wanted to leave her house. Which technically speaking was fine, except for the small fact that the cookie cutters were at Bethy’s house, not Matilda’s.
Bethy took a deep breathe and dug her emergency cigarettes out of her sunglasses holder in her car. She pulled one from the pack with her teeth and groped around for her lighter as the light changed from green to yellow as she passed underneath. Bethy’s eyes rolled again. Finding her lighter, she lit her cigarette and began to think. There had to be something to make this a logical effort. Bethy was sure Matilda didn’t have cookie cutters. She was an artist, but of the written word, not of the baked goods. That was it – they could make the dough there, and then some other type of baked good. Bethy would text Matilda and see what kind of cookies she wanted when she parked her car. Then Bethy could bring the dough home and finish doing the sugar cookies for Saturday’s party in her own home, with the cookie cutters. At least this way it wasn’t going to be a waste of a Sunday. Bethy was just feeling relieved when her phone rang, “call from Tildy” her car announced.
“Hello,” Bethy said reluctantly.
“Hi Bethy,” Matilda’s voice came through her speakers.
“I was terrified it was your aunt,” Bethy said.
Matilda laughed, “no, but she is why I’m calling.”
“What happened now,” Bethy shot back.
“Nothing, except you know she and I are sitting down to have Sunday dinner soon right? The pasta only has another three or four minutes left.”
“I’m going to kill her,” Bethy said.
“That’s why I wanted to give you a heads up,” Matilda said, “but since you’re already down the block, why don’t you just come over anyway. We’ll all eat together and then I’ll be a nice buffer for you as you guys bake. You can do it upstairs, this way when you’re done. You mo-”
“Your aunt, Tildy, your aunt can go fuck off downstairs after we’re done baking. Then you and I can hang out for a bit,” Bethy interrupted.
“Almost exactly what I was going to say,” Matilda said. “Drive carefully, I’ll see you soon.”
“Yup,” Bethy said finishing her cigarette while reaching for another.
Bethy disconnected the phone. It wasn’t that she was impatient or rude, but Bethy felt a moment springing upon her and wasn’t going to have a moment while on the phone with Matilda.
Was it that crazy of a thought that someone might have plans on a Sunday? That perhaps after spending a lovely weekend with their boyfriend, doing wintry activities, singing Christmas carols as they drove, going out with their friends to their favorite bar, and having a glorious morning of relaxation someone might want to go home to shower, throw in a load of laundry, and resume streaming their favorite shows from before they were born? No. No. Of course that wouldn’t be a thought, because Miss Make it Happen was here to make everything happen the way it was supposed to for everyone else. Except for the fact, that she wasn’t. That wasn’t why Bethy was here. Bethy had been trying to be supportive of her mother. She was still taking the loss of her mother and husband less than gracefully. Bethy thought inviting her to do some holiday baking at her house would be good for her mother, and helpful to her. Had she know her entire afternoon was going to be jacked, she would have just cancelled. Bethy lit another cigarette and called Aeson.
“Cognitively I am aware this isn’t that bad. I love my cousin, I love baking, and I love Sunday dinner foods,” Bethy said into the phone after summarizing the cause of her angst, “but this has completely fucked my plans for the day, Ae.”
“Babe, I know. But you are right. You do love your cousin, and your mother, and baking, and all of the pastas. Does it mess up your plans a little – yeah, but you got this. Just try to not scare anyone,” Aeson said with a chuckle.
“I’m not scary. It’s not hard to stick to a plan, a direct reminder wouldn’t kill either of them,” Bethy said factually.
“You’re probably right, but I was kidding. Just try to have a little fun, okay?”
“Ugh, I’ll try. Thank you for helping. Good luck with the sports. Yay team!”
“Thank you. I love you. Text me when you get there.”
Bethy disconnected her phone and flicked her second cigarette out of the window. She was happy she could distinguish between her crazy brain and rational logic. It just annoyed her that she ever had to. It also annoyed her when people couldn’t just stick to the plan. Bethy took another deep breath and she pulled up to her cousin’s house. At least Matilda would be there, and she did like baking with her mother – even if she was the worst sometimes, and most importantly there would be pasta. All of the homemade pasta with a delightful meat sauce, meatballs, pork, beef, chicken cutlet, veggies, and of course soup to start with. There would definitely be enough for leftovers. Bethy could stock her freezer and skip next week’s meal delivery. Aeson was probably right, this could be a little fun now that Bethy was recentered.