Flight 319, nonstop service to Chicago, will be boarding at Gate E-3 in twenty minutes. Hearing this announcement, he turned to Krystal and Andrea. “Well, that’s us,” he said, almost reluctantly.
Leaving paradise is never easy. And leaving paradise to bury your grandfather is even more difficult. But he knew that Andrea was excited to get home, so this would make his saying goodbye to Hawaii, perhaps, a bit easier. And besides, he would need to get back to work.
The money he spent taking Andrea and Krystal on a ten-day rendezvous with Paradise would need to be made up, and he thought of the long hours at the plant and the drudgery that went along with it, but all in all, he knew it would be well worth it. The memories alone of sharing this part of the world with Andrea and Krystal would be worth any price.
Trudging along with bags full of souvenirs and pieces of a puzzle that would never be completed, he wondered about what Andrea had told him and Krystal back in Kauai at the condo.
“Ricky and Krystal . . . I’m so happy that I’m your god-daughter,” Andrea said. “It really means a lot to me. And thanks for taking me to Hawaii and stuff. I saw lots of pretty things and did a bunch of neat stuff.” She paused.
Her eyes grew dim. Her expression began to bear signs of a different mood. Her cheeks twitched, her body quivered. She slowly lifted her head. She looked up at Krystal.
“I know that you and my mom have been good friends since you were little girls but I wanna tell you something.” Krystal sat down at the edge of the sofa.
“What’s that, Andrea?”
Andrea moved over toward the sliding door and pulled it back, allowing herself a breath of fresh air and a glimpse of the ocean that was harbored below. She slowly turned around and facing Krystal again, exhaled: “My mom does crazy stuff sometimes and it scares me.”
Ricky could see that Andrea was serious. He looked at Krystal and she sat there impassively, probably thinking there was nothing to get alarmed about. Her long-time, best friend Delia, always did crazy things, this she knew, that was just her way. Krystal had told him about some of the crazy things that Delia used to do, most of them were innocent, and now that she had two lovely daughters, those crazy antics of hers would fall to the wayside. Krystal was sure of this. She assured him that Delia was just a bit different, that’s all.
Andrea stood there, her mood still seriously deflated, and with her thoughts still shadowed in doubt, she perhaps wanted nothing more than to be sure that her concerns were valid. Yes, her mother was a good mother, but some of the crazy stuff she did, especially after drinking some kinda wine stuff, made her feel a bit uneasy.
She didn’t wanna tell anybody about this because she knew nobody would believe her, that children her age are always making up stories and stuff. But now, she has godparents. And now that she felt really close to both Ricky and Krystal, maybe, just maybe, would she be able to tell them things that she would never, ever even dream of making up.
And because they’re bigger people, maybe they would understand. She wiped her forehead. She looked at Ricky and could tell that he was anxious for her to continue. The way he moved across the room with his thumb holding up his chin and his eyes a bit moist, she knew that he was concerned. Perhaps there was something in his own childhood that he could relate to. Ricky sat down on the couch next to Krystal and let Andrea know that it was okay for her to tell them. But she already knew it was okay.
“My mom, well, she talks to herself. Mostly after my daddy’s at work, she sits rocking back and forth on the floor, drinking some kind of wine stuff. I don’t know why but she says goofy things to me and Nellie and does stuff that scares us.” She looked down and what may have been perceived as a very long time, stood silent.
“Please Andrea,” Ricky urged, “don’t be afraid to tell us the truth. But has Delia, I mean your mommy, ever hit you or your little sister?”
“No, she only yells at us. I mean really loud. Oh, and one time . . . she threw a bottle of ketchup against the wall. And made Nellie clean it all up. Nellie kept saying, ‘Mom, I hate this gooey stuff. I hate it! I just hate it!’ Then Mom screamed at her, ‘I don’t care what you like or don’t like. Just shut up and clean this mess up before your daddy gets home.’ So Nellie did.”
Krystal looked at Ricky, and without saying a word, let him know that she was concerned about her best friend’s behavior. Her forehead seemed more lined than it was before and her eyes were becoming moist. Her best friend Delia was now being held up to her in a different light, a light that she probably hoped would’ve faded into nothing more than Andrea’s imagination. But Ricky knew Krystal too well. She could not just sit there and pretend that there wasn’t anything seriously wrong; her eyes could not hide from him the truth, the truth that she could no longer deny.
Delia’s other side was not part of Andrea’s imagination. No, the other side was brought on by Delia’s drinking. It was hard for Krystal to accept the fact that Delia, her best friend since childhood, was drinking again, that seven years of sobriety had been surrendered to a case of uncertainty, heartache and woe. Krystal motioned for Andrea to sit beside her on the sofa.
“Did you say your mom drinks some kind of wine stuff?” Andrea bit her lips and then took a very deep breath.
“Yes, Krystal . . . and sometimes, whiskey or something terrible like that. One day after school, I took a sip of that ugly stuff. There was a pitcher in the refrigerator and I thought that it was iced-tea. I almost threw up. Mom came into the kitchen and got real mad at me.
She started yelling, ‘That’s mine, Andrea. Don’t you dare drink what’s mine and you better not, do you hear me, you better not tell your father about what I had in the fridge. Do you understand me?’ Then she grabbed the pitcher and went to her bedroom. After a little while she came back out and couldn’t walk straight. She started yelling at the wall, I remember her saying, ‘It’s all your fault. You made me this way.’ Then she started to scream swear words and kick and punch at the wall. Nellie and me were so scared.