Etta and the Card

This Week’s Theme: Using first person narration, logically describe something that is crazy.


I just do not understand. Now why is it you have given up the let on your apartment in New York? Jeffery was having the conversation with Etta. He and his wife had talked about it the night before butshe was not sure that he could actually do it.

I really would have loved to have been in New York but you know Jeffery some people just cannot live next to some other people. They kept a cat you know and the ladies hair, it was pure black with a white streak from front to back. She resembled, you know, a skunk. I just had to tell them to take the apartment back. So when the lease expired I did not renew it.

Now it was becoming clearer to Jeffery what was really going on. They had quarreled the night before. He had promised that he and Etta would have a talk…the talk that parents have with children that need to leave the nest and relatives that come to visit and don’t leave. Etta fell into the latter category. That was when Etta told him about the apartment in New York and how she had let the lease go. She had a very good reason it seemed. He could almost see the logic in her not wanting to live next door or even a floor up or down from a woman that looked like a skunk. He began to realize how scary and even weird it was that he could see her point of view. Not only did they look alike but in some ways they even thought alike.

Well, he began, maybe you could just stay here…

It was then that he realized that his wife had not sent him on this mission alone. A wife knows when things might go wrong. Wives know that even though the man has a strong will he also has a soft heart. And the fact that she knew he might do something like move because the next door neighbor looked like a skunk let her know that she was going to need to help him.

Jeffrey, We had this conversation! spewed from her mouth before she could stop it.

Etta was just driving her over the edge. She knew that they needed to do something fast. The old gal had cancelled the garbage service and insisted that they take garbage away in their purses and briefcases. The children were being fed potato chip by the bag and all those cocktail drink glasses that she had packed in her suitcase now lining the wall of her room! Jeffery’s wife just thought there had to be a better way.

When Etta showed up at the front door all those months ago, she had been surprised. Was that it? She couldn’t handle the surprise, the uncertainty of having a mystery in-law show up at the door. Or was it that she was selfish…a private person she always said. Etta just had a way of taking over without them even realizing it and she acted like she was his mother! She just couldn’t quite figure it out. But the thing she did know was that Etta needed to go…now. She was going to explode if she had to eat wind fall fruit one more day and recycling was taking over their lives.

Oh my dears, I know I have been such a burden. And I just don’t know how I will ever repay you. It’s just that I love you all so much. It is the first time I have felt at home since I walked over the swinging bridge the last time. Etta had played the sympathy card. We all realized that it was coming because children and relatives will always lay that card down at least once.

They knew right then that they were doomed. They couldn’t even figure out if Etta was telling the truth but she had won with a brilliant speech and one tear. Jeffery was not going to make her leave. His wife was not going anywhere. They were just stuck. They all hugged each other and felt a sense of relief. At least now they could talk about more permanent solutions to her quirks. They could move the cocktail glasses to the shelves in the basement. They could have the potato chip discussion. Maybe the family could quit eating partly rotten fruit and have the fresh kind from the grocery store. It was not over, not by any means. But at least life would go on. Her life would just blend in with ours and it would have to be seen as normal. What else could they do?

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One thought on “Etta and the Card

  1. Intriguing characters – going to have to go and read up all that you have already written on Etta.I got confused in a number of places … I thought the move was because of the cat – thought that the ‘she looked like a skunk’ referred to the cat … and I realised on the second read, that you change from third person to first person in about paragraph four or so.I loved the dilema of ‘the talk’ and particularly the comparison between pushing kids from the nest with unwanted relatives … the whole used-by-date thing. And the conclusion to, the resignation, that things could change in small ways and bring a measure of sanity to this suffering wife.

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