The familiar landscape whizzed by. It made Susan happy. She never should have left Washington. It had seemed like a good idea when she was a new graduate from the University of Washington. Tired of the rain and living in the shadow of her older brother, Truman, who was good at everything, she had made an escape to the sunniest, least Truman place she could think of, Las Vegas.
Her mother had cried and her father had tried to get her to come back by offering her a new car and an apartment but Susan assumed it was less about them missing her and wanting her and more about them not wanting the embarrassment of having a daughter working as a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas.
She had met Damian who was also a Blackjack dealer at Caesar’s Palace, where she worked. He was handsome and charming and had a short attention span. By the time she discovered she was pregnant, he was long gone.
Susan had stuck it out as long as she could but it was hard to make good tips when you are pregnant and there’s no such thing as maternity leave for cocktail waitresses anyway. She worked in an office for a little while but it turned out she didn’t really have any skills. Her college degree in comparative literature didn’t really help with data entry or Excel spreadsheets, which was what she was supposed to do in her job. The worst part of her life, worse than even the mind numbing job or the ratty apartment with thin walls and loud neighbors, was how hard it was to find decent daycare for Jesse.
At one daycare, she walked in to pick him up and every single worker there was smoking. Smoking! Wasn’t that against the law?
Susan had to miss a day of work until she found something better. At the next place, they charged her exorbitant fees for being late and she was almost always late. Also, Jesse got an ear infection and they wouldn’t take him if he was sick.
She ended up losing her job.
In desperation, she’d called her parents. It had been the hardest thing she’d ever done and she wouldn’t have done it if not for Jesse. Susan had been so sure she could make it on her own, she had never imagined she’d have to swallow her pride like that.
They had gasped when she told them about Jesse. She could tell her mother was crying on the phone. Her dad had told her, with a slightly choked up voice (was that possible?) to come home. He asked her if she needed gas money. It had killed her to admit she did.
Her mother had hosted a family dinner when Susan and Jesse arrived. Truman and his glossy girlfriend had come too. Jesse was not his charming best. He’d spent way too much time in his carseat and he was clingy and as a newly minted crawler, when he wasn’t whining to be held, he was on a mission to destroy something in her parents’ Bellevue home where everything, everything was expensive.
It was apparent to everyone that staying there for any length of time was out of the question. Her parents seemed mildly interested in Jesse but not to the point that they would babyproof their house.
Now Susan and Jesse were heading to Lake Chelan. She had the keys to the vacation house in her purse as well as a credit card from her dad. The latter was motivated by guilt, she knew. They felt bad that they didn’t really want her, or more accurately her six-month old baby, in their home. The vacation house was a much hardier venue.
Susan was alternately thrilled at the prospect of staying at the house in Lake Chelan, which she’d always loved, and depressed that this was what had resulted from her big bold move towards independence. She was more dependent on her parents than ever and she hated herself for it.
Check back tomorrow to see how Susan's move goes!