The alarm went off, and I hit the snooze. Hard. As far as I’m concerned, alarms are what’s wrong with our world. I also don’t have any love for cell phone ringers, that stupid ding the microwave makes when the food is ready, or the buzz the dryer makes when my clothes are done. I just think that life would be nicer without high-pitched, artificial noises whose sole purpose is to force us to do things we don’t want to do. I rolled over and cracked open one eye to look at my nemesis. Seven o’clock. In the morning. On a Saturday. I sighed heavily and gingerly poked one foot out from under the covers. The air felt cold on my exposed toes, making me seriously reconsider the wisdom of my action. While I pondered, Zeus’s patience apparently wore off, and he jumped onto my bed, tail swishing madly, eyes bugging, a demented grin on his face. He barked once, a low woof, and attempted to greet me with his patented good morning tongue bath. I dodged, and he flopped over, wriggling on his back, stubby legs sticking in the air. Thus were my morning slumbers ended. It’s simply not possible to stay drowsy while laughing at the hundred-pound “puppy” doing the Snoopy dance.
Moccasin slippers protecting my feet, I meandered into the kitchen and opened the back door for the grateful Zeus. As he ran circles around the tiny, fenced back yard of my townhouse before settling down to his work, I opened the cabinet and got out a mug that proclaimed Ohio to be “The Heart of America.” Thank God for one-cup coffee makers! I pressed the magical green button and marveled as the elixir of the gods began dripping. Five minutes later, coffee cup firmly in hand and Zeus back inside and happily chewing on his favorite bone, I was ready to start my day. And if ever there was a day worthy of my efforts, this was it. Today, my dad was going on his first date since my mom died. That’s twelve years, people! My dad was going on his first date in twelve years.
Last week, in preparation for the big event, I talked him into a fresh haircut and a new outfit. As the pastor of the tiny Methodist church on the East side of town, he had rocked corduroy “trousers” and tweed blazers for years, his wispy salt and pepper hair flopping every which way when he preached. That’s fine, I guess, for the three dozen or so parishioners who slept through his sermons every Sunday. But it simply wasn’t acceptable for a first date with Cheryl, the attractive receptionist at Dr. Marco’s office. So, being a good sport, he tagged along to Wyndham’s, where I made him buy a pair of chocolate brown wool dress pants, a crisp white button down shirt, and a soft, forest green cotton crewneck sweater. I finished the ensemble with subtly patterned socks perfectly matched to a pair of buttery caramel leather loafers. He looked fabulous, if I say so myself! Today, before picking up Cheryl for their first date (lunch and a tour of the conservatory), dad was meeting me for breakfast and a trip to the florist. Yup, my dad is a class act.
Forty-five minutes later, I was good to go. I took one last look in the mirror to make sure that everything was where it should be. I’m not ugly, but I’ll never be mistaken for a Victoria’s Secret model, either. For one thing, I’m short, five-two on a good day. If I were six inches taller, my weight would be in perfect proportion to my height, and that’s all I’ll say on that subject. As it is, I rely on my eyes, which are kind of a cool, light green, and my hair, which is black, straight, and nicely shiny, for whatever beauty I might lay claim to. People tell me I look exotic, and I’m I guess that’s okay. I know that my skin is a weird shade of olive, too pale to be rich and too dark to be creamy. And I know that my mouth is too wide for my face. But I look a lot like my mom, and that a very good thing, as far as I’m concerned. I usually go pretty light on the makeup, sticking mostly to mascara and tinted Chapstick, which seems to work for me. Today, wearing my favorite jeans and a lavender sweater, and my hair doing its happy, shiny thing, I thought I looked pretty good.
On my way to the front door I stopped at the book case and picked up a small, olive wood figurine. It was warm and smooth to the touch, pale wheat, honey, and cinnamon tones swirling through the delicate grain. “Guess what, mom. He finally did it. Got up the nerve and asked Cheryl out. I’m so proud of him. Wish him luck,” I whispered. The little wooden figure was the only thing of my mom’s I had, a simple carving of a reclining woman with overly generous hips and bosom and a mysterious, serene smile on her mostly blank face. Mom brought it with her from Greece after she married my dad, one year before I was born, thirteen short years before a drunk driver crossed the median. It was almost certainly a figure of a pagan fertility goddess. I never really wanted to know exactly what she was, as if knowing would somehow make her less mine. Dumb, I know, but whatever. I placed her back on her shelf, grabbed my car keys, and headed out
Title – Chapter 1. Ellie
Excerpt – The alarm went off, and I hit the snooze. Hard. As far as I’m concerned, alarms are what’s wrong with our world. I also don’t have any love for cell phone ringers
Tags – Alla Reese, Alla, Reese, The Olympians, Olympians, Chapter 1, Ellie, Zeus