What Was I To Do?

(by dougysauron12@yahoo.com, 20 October 2008)


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What Was I To Do?
by dougysauron12@yahoo.com

What was I to do? I had been so careless, reckless in my lust for him. I
should have taken Julie to the neighbor's or better yet to her grandmother's
house across town. Why doesn't she have any friends? If only she had a friend
I wouldn't be in this mess. I can't blame it on her - that's not fair, after
all it was my slip up, and now things will never be the same.

My daughter Julie is an eleven year old tyrant. I don't know if it is because
she is an only child, or if it is because Jim and I pander to her every want.
I know I am no candidate for mother of the year, I just give her what she
wants at the first inkling that she is going to pitch one of her unbearable
fits. I guess it would be safe to say she has me wrapped around her finger.
It has got to the point over the years that I can't stand to be around her.

We fill her room with toys, a TV, even her own computer, anything to keep her
away from me with the constant requests. Have I been unfair to want a life of
my own? Peace and quiet? I have worked hard to get everything just right - a
nice house in a good neighborhood, a good housekeeper, I have even kissed
enough ass to get me and Jim into the country club. Jim is no great father
either. He spends more time playing golf and socializing than he does at
work. He says it is all about contacts and keeping his clients happy. I'm not
sure it is all work and no play, even the short time we do have together he
is usually off in his own world, watching TV, playing pool, anything but
touching me.

I hate to sound like one of those poor rich housewives that have it so bad
yet you can't feel pity for them as they drive their Rolls to a shopping
spree. My life is pretty good for the most part and the only thing missing is
something that is easy enough to find. Jose was recommended to me by a close
friend down the street.  He has come up with the perfect scam - he is a pool
boy and handy man for hire but his real expertise is why his business is so
good. He was an easy sell to Jim since he works under the table, cash only,
much like our housekeeper Maria. Jim, as rich as he is, always gets off on a
bargain, any way to get ahead on Uncle Sam.

I have been seeing Jose for almost a year, taking breaks when there is a
special occasion like our anniversary and Jim will have no choice but to go
through the old routine.  When things get tough I see him more often than our
usual weekly visit on Sundays.  When it started off I was so careful, I would
take Julie to her grandmother's house for the day, I would call Jim
repeatedly to find out what hole he was on, I would go through the works.
Recently I have mentioned I have become careless, and my desire has
overpowered my ability to think straight.

Julie is normally pacified on Sunday mornings since the endless stream of
cartoons keeps her locked safely away in her room until at least noon. Jim
had left for his 9 am tee-time and he was barely down the driveway when I
called Jose to come and fix an emergency with the water pump. He wanted to
sleep in but I persisted, if only I would have noticed this as a warning sign
but in the end he agreed. I checked in on Julie and was glad to find her
completely fixated on her TV, the sight of my child as a mindless zombie had
often bothered me but today however it was a comfort. I hurriedly walked
through the garden to the pool house where we kept a small guest bedroom.

Jose showed up just in time as I finished a cigarette and quickly consumed a
tic tac. My lover was here. I could tell he was in a hurry to get down to
business and I was disappointed that there was no elaborate foreplay, but the
thought of my daughter just a few hundred feet away motivated me to hurry as
well. We made a quick mess of the bed, and in no time he was coming from
behind me. I fought off screaming by gripping the pillows as hard as I could,
the only sound has the rhythmic thrusting and the vibration of the bed up
against the wall.

The door squeaked open as Jose and I instinctively separated and turned to
see who had learned our secret. I gasped loudly at the sight of Julie
silhoueted in the midday sun that was pouring through the door. It was too
bright to make out her exact facial expression, but I could have sworn I saw
a smile. She quickly turned around and ran back towards the house. I followed
in pursuit as I tried to button up my blouse and Sunday jeans. I could hear
the sound of Jose's truck pulling out down the service entrance but he was
the least of my concern. I burst through the back doors and headed straight
to her room, but she wasn't there.

Where could she have gone? I thought to myself. I momentarily thought that
she had left the house and gone to a neighbor. I searched the bathroom, the
TV room, my bedroom, but she was nowhere. I was freaking out by the time I
entered the kitchen. Relief came over me as I spotted her sitting at the
kitchen table. I sat down at the other end in what was normally Jim's seat.

Her face was expressionless, not quite a scowl.  She just sat there staring
off into space. I had to think carefully and come up with a plan. I turned on
my puppy dog face hopping to inspire pity, but it was to no avail. We sat
there for what seemed like hours until I finally broke the silence.  I
reached down into my jeans and pulled out my cigarettes and lighter and I
dragged the ashtray from the middle of the table over within reach. I needed
a cigarette badly - I needed to calm myself down.

I lit the cigarette and took a strong pull as I thought about what I should
do, what could I do?  Then it hit me, it was time to pull out the big guns. I
rested the cigarette in the ashtray and hurriedly put my face in my hands.
Maybe the tears would win my daughter over. It was working, I thought, as she
stood up and walked over to me. I raised my head to show my daughter the
tears running down my face, but she wasn't looking at me, she was watching
the smoke drift off of my 120. She looked over at me briefly with a smile on
her face that was menacing and distrubing. She then picked up the cigarette
and brought it to her mouth as she looked at me.

My tears quickly dissipated as my face turned to shock. She pulled on the
cigarette ever so slightly, and then quickly blew out what could have only
been a mouthful of smoke. I couldn't move. Then she did it again. I reached
out to grab in from her but she took a short step back, all the while sucking
on my cigarette. She tiled her head up this time and let out a slightly
larger exhale. The same smile washed over her face as our eyes locked on each
other. Surely she could sense the disapproval in my eyes but she didn't back
down. She turned around and walked slowly out of the room, smoking my
cigarette as she headed towards the TV room.

I was left alone, sitting at the kitchen table, as the smoke wafted upwards.
I looked down at my cigarettes as I realized just how bad the situation was.
I must have just sat there for an hour, thinking.  Was it over?

Julie had just done something she knows is wrong, so are we even? I shifted
between thoughts about my own peril and thoughts of my daughter smoking. How
bad could one cigarette be?  She didn't inhale, or at least I didn't think
she did. Has she done this before? Then it hit me, where did she go with that
lit cigarette? I stood up and started searching the house until I found her
watching TV in the basement.  She didn't even turn around or look away from
the TV show. She must have known I was there. I sighed with relief when I
spotted the ashtray and noticed a distinctively long butt of one of my VS
120's crushed out. My relief turned to anger.  After all, I am a mother and I
must not condone this type of behavior in my daughter, but still what was I
to do?  How would I be sure that she wouldn't tell Jim, or anyone?

I sat back down at the table and decided to have a cigarette for myself.
Julie appeared when it was about half way done and walked right over to where
she had before.  At first I thought she was going to sit down and we could
finally talk about this. Instead, she reached for my cigarette which I
quickly moved out of the way as I shot her a look of complete indignation.
Her casual smile turned to a grimace and she sat down next to me. When I was
sure she wasn't going to reach again I took a nice long puff to calm me down.
I was just starting to enjoy the feeling of the smoke hit my lungs when I
noticed her pulling one of my cigarettes out of the pack I had left on the
table. My eyes opened wide and I had to cut the exhale short.  Smoke billowed
out of my mouth as I asked her what she thought he was doing. She did not
respond. By now the cigarette was in her mouth, and the lighter was in her
hand.

We stared at each other, waiting for one of us to break. Despite my
authoritative stare she brought the lighter to the end of the cigarette that
was hanging between her lips.  I could do nothing but watch as she tried to
get the lighter started.  Her frustration and failure gave me a sense of
relief, she had not smoked before and the lighter was in fact childproof. I
let go a smile, an indication that I was taking joy in her frustration, and I
had regained the upper hand. I took another deep drag and let the exhale come
out slowly and I blew the last little bit in her direction.  She looked at me
with the angry look she gets when I have on occasion had to say no to her and
stand my ground. As the look washed away with the indication of an invading
thought, horror gripped my body. She held out the lighter to me.

I was in a corner and I had been defeated. I paused just long enough for her
to raise her eyebrows with a look of anticipation. I sparked the lighter and
then watched as she leaned forward and accepted the light. She blew out the
flame with the exhaled breath that washed against my face and then almost
instantly she took another puff. She had watched me smoke when I was
ridiculing her just moments ago and she emulated the exact same method. I
could tell she had inhaled by the shock that showed on her face and by the
extent of the exhale she let slowly come out of her mouth. I didn't know what
to do, so I took another drag, and as I inhaled deeply so did Julie. Our
exhales met in a smoky cloud that filled the kitchen. I couldn't look at her
anymore and seeing that she had won, she once again retired to the TV room.

I followed her downstairs and watched as she held the cigarette up and out to
the side, bringing it in for regular drags and occasionally bumping off the
ash in the ashtray.  Every exhale was big and contrasted against the dark
room, lit up by the glow of the TV. All I could get out was, "that's the last
one missy," before I turned around and headed upstairs. She didn't budge,
that is besides taking another drag on what had been my cigarette. I could
see the cigarette glowing red as she sucked the poisonous smoke into her
lungs.  The once long 120 was at about half its former size. I could see the
filter, which had once been glistening white marked with dark contrasting
tar. The whole sight was something unreal - my little girl smoking a woman's
cigarette.

Luckily Jim called and said that he was going out with the boys for supper
and wouldn't be home until much later. I broke out a bottle of my favorite
red and curled up in the sitting room thinking about the options. Jim was far
from perfect but I had nothing strong on my side.  I could loose it all - the
house the car. I thought about the prenuptial I had signed, would she really
tell him?  My thoughts were interrupted by my need for another cigarette.  I
had no sooner lit it then I lay back and closed my eyes.

Then I felt the cigarette pulled gently out of my hands. My eyes opened to
see Julie standing over me now half way through a drag. I was angry but I
said no more, all I could do was shoot her a look and grab another cigarette
from the pack. She wasn't allowed in the sitting room but that was the least
of my troubles. As we stared at each other from opposite ends of the couch
all I could do was try and hide my vulnerability behind a look of anger. Why
would she want to smoke, anyway?  What makes a girl at eleven want to smoke?
Then it hit me, it was the power, it was something that I held over her,
something she couldn't do - that is, until now.  However, I couldn't allow my
daughter to become addicted, and even worse I couldn't allow Jim to find out.
This had to stop.  I will let her finish this one and that's it.

By the time Jim got home Julie was in her room watching TV. I put on my best
Oscar performance and hammed it up. As I look back on it I am sure he must
have been drunk not to notice how out of character I was. He immediately
inquired about Julie and went to her room to check in on her, my heart
pounded. I couldn't hear the details of their exchange but it was brief
enough to assuage my worries.

Jim packed up for his flight to Chicago and the evening disappeared without
any trace that the secret was out.  The morning was rough; I hadn't slept
much that night. The thought of Julie smoking bothered me, but not as much as
Jim finding out about Jose. Jim read the paper as he always does while I
attempted to make breakfast.  I shouldn't have given Maria a long weekend
off.  It wasn't long before Julie was up and sitting next to Jim at the
table. As I fiddled with the bacon I awaited the unveiling of the previous
day's secret.

Julie played it cool and made innocent attempts at making conversation with
her dad. When are you coming home dad? Will you bring me something? Jim
replied with short staccato answers, trying hard not divert his attention
from the story he was engaged in. Julie didn't look at me, didn't even
acknowledge my existence, then again, neither did Jim. As Jim was leaving I
sparked a cigarette and went to say goodbye to him at the door. Julie
followed behind.  After we each received a quick kiss Jim was off. The door
had no sooner closed than I felt the cigarette slip out of my fingers. I
turned to see Julie taking a deep inhale of my freshly lit VS. We turned to
each other but before I could say anything Julie blew a long stream of smoke
into my face.  I stormed back to the kitchen and quickly lit another
cigarette.  Julie sauntered in and sat down in her usual seat and continued
smoking my cigarette as I finished up the bacon.

"This isn't going to go on forever," I said as I took a deep relaxing inhale.
Julie said nothing.  She knew I had no choice but to let her do whatever she
wanted. I sat down with a cup of coffee and finished my cigarette as Julie
looked on. She couldn't be addicted already, could she?  We exchanged glances
once or twice but other than that we sat in silence.


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