Monday, March 21, 2011

The House of Irony

Walking into the Manhattan Diner, something about Breann registered that I hadn't paid any attention. She was flirting with the waitress. The brown eyes, the anxiousness, the incessant talking, sharp dressing, and  type A personality weren't the only things we held in common. We also liked blondes. Around 30 years old, curvy, blue eyed, dirty blonde curly tressed with a loud laugh, Breann's conversation partner became more professional when I walked to the booth. Breann introduced me and then my order was taken. Breann looked desperate to get through the awkwardness. "So, um, how are Shane and the girls," she asked slyly. "Mean and grumpy, but I could hear their pretty through the phone. How's the girl bringing my eggs?" I answered mischeviously. She wanted to open up and tell me something that really wasn't any of my business. Her shoulders tightened, she bit her bottom lip, and said "um, so guess who Lena Cosburn is in an internet chat room group on scrapbooking with?" I was hoping she'd say Lucas Bonner so I had less work to do before going into my real job, but I had a feeling he wasn't into putting laminated pages into notebooks. "Lindsay Lohan," I offered sarcastically. "No, but if she was we'd know where to get good coke. Clare Bunson, born in New York City at Lenox Hill Hospital on September 6, 1970. She sent me an email this morning. Lena may handle Clare for us. Thank goodness. Imagine having to get into a scrapbooking chatroom just to drop, a hey, you might be my robot sister and we need to figure out how to stay alive before our bodies blow up or our batteries die or something." Breann handled the stress the same way I did, with sarcasm and inappropriate remarks. I didn't respond. I was hungry, but I wasn't interested in our tasks. I just wanted to go home, introduce Breann to my wife and kids, and give her the family she deserved. Unmarried, little to no family left and possibly childless for the rest of her life, I was concerned. I slid some notes I had taken on Lucas Bonner across the table and said "let's take an hour off from this and get to know each other. Maybe we can get to where we need to go with more personal information about each other." She smiled, the blonde delivered our eggs, bacon, and toast. Then Breann told me a story.

"My family was a little like yours. Your dad gave up baseball to raise you and your sister. My dad gave up his art gallery job in the city when I was 3 months old. He, my mom, and I moved out to Orange, New Jersey. My dad took a job selling construction supplies, and my mom answered phones at an insurance office. My sister was born three years later and my parents decided they had to have a big house. We moved into this old Victorian style place when I was 4. By then, my parents had given birth to my little sister, Bailey. She wasn't even walking when we moved in. The house was built in the 1950s, it was huge but run down. My parents spent years fixing it up. From the street it looked gorgeous. When I was little I swore there were angels lining the house like something out of an old movie. Kids loved coming over and playing in the yard. The thing is, inside, it was kind of depressing. My dad had a talent for carpentry and my mom was a good housekeeper but nothing was ever finished. The place was always cluttered. No matter how much we cleaned, there was always some undone project. We almost never had people come inside. When I convinced a friend to come over and see the place from inside, they usually said something like "this isn't what I expected", which I took as "this place is kind of screwed up and so are you". It's like the house came to symbolize my entire life. People thinking one thing about me when the opposite was true."

Enthralled with the window into her childhood, I asked, "what happened to the house?"

Breann's face grew small. Her lips pursed and she bit her bottom lip in nervousness. "My mom and dad grew apart. he was an artist meant to live in New York, not a suburban dad who installed wall trim and planted shrubs. My mom was more simple. She loved being a mom. She loved that damn house. I guess I was more like my dad. I grew to resent the place like he obviously did."

I was hearing something I shouldn't, at least not this quickly in our friendship. I smiled and gave her look like she could trust me. I didn't have to do that. She rubbed her temples and kept going.

"My dad left when I was 16. I was a junior in high school. For whatever reason, well, maybe because I'm robot (she chuckled and smiled wickedly) or whatever we are, I handled it all well. I even supported my mom when she took the house from him. My sister was younger, like 13, I think, and much more emotional. She thought everything about about her all the time. She got into drugs when I was senior. Never got out of them. My mom met this guy she worked with like a year after my dad left, right before I started college. While my sister and I were visiting my dad in the city, my mom eloped. Her new husband had an even bigger, more imposing looking Victorian style house about 10 miles away. I'll never forget helping my mom and sister move out of the old house. My sister and I used to call the place The House of Irony. Beautiful on the outside but damaged on the inside. My sister, melodramatic 24/7 said, as we put the last boxes into my step dad's truck, "The House Of Irony is dead. All hail The House of What It Is Actually Is, Despair!" She grinned oddly, gripped her fork, and spit, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Alanis Morrisette."

I couldn't stop myself from laughing. That made Breann laugh. As we finished our breakfast, I told her about growing up in Georgia and meeting my wife. The conversation was a lot easier that the eggs.

*blogger's note* This is a continuation of the story I am writing. The inspiration for this entry comes from @Studio30Plus aka 's one word prompt IRONY. Please visit the site and find some other good writers. The other entries you should check out to know what is happening in my story are here:







I hope you liked what you read. I am trying to do two or three entries a week.

Today's song is about a lot of things. Bob Dylan's Little Miss Lonely reminds me of a character like Breann. Plus, Like A Rolling Stone means so many things to so many different people, you can find something to relate to, even irony. Here's Uncle Bob....


  1. I loved this. I've been reading intermittedly but I think I'll have to go back and read right through.

  2. Once you get this done I am going to have to piece it all together and read it start to finish. It's a great story and you are such a tease by giving it a little at a time

  3. I love that song. Perfect for the post.

  4. Love the conversation. I agree with Yandie and Maasiyat. When you're done, I'm going to re-read everything altogether.

    Good job!

  5. Nice progression with story. I like how you are giving little more info about the characters. They are fleshing out nicely.