For those of you new to Cyndra, J.B. and the kids, I began to write the story because I ached to write it. And sometimes a story aching to be written feels a lot like the jones to use. Maybe that's why so many writers, artists, musicians and other makers become addicts. I write Cyndra with commitment to my recovery, with respect for her, and with the conviction that often a story can teach more than a psych lecture or a professional paper. You'll find Cyndra 1, 2 and 3 in separate posts on this blog. We begin where we left off in Cyndra 3.
Tyra laughed. "You don't need money, baby sister. I hit it big over at Morongo last night. I've got five hundred bucks free money and a postcard from one of those fancy Palm Springs casinos that's good for two buffets, free drinks and fifty dollars in free slot play. We're gonna get wild."
"Play it safe" seemed to hover in Cyndra's mind like Casper the Friendly Ghost. It smiled it's cutesy-poo smile. She wanted to strangle it. Cyndra straightened her shoulders, looked her sister in the eye and said, "Pick me up at 7."
"You won't regret it," Tyra said. "I left out the best part. I got tickets for Tim McGraw. He's playing there tonight."
"Without Faith. It's some kind of benefit dealie. You put on that sparkly black dress, you know, the one cut down to your knees and we just might have to get ourselves in the front row and when you stand up to cheer, stick your chest out and he's gonna' tell Faith 'bye-bye, baby!'"
"Like I said, pick me up at 7."
"See you later, mamagator."
On cue, L'il J.B. hollered from his crib in the kids' room. Kelli raced in from the dusty patio and grabbed Cyndra around the legs. "Let me go, babygirl, I gotta feed your brother." Kelli clung tighter. Cyndra pried her away and crouched down next to her. "I'm sorry, sugar," she said. "Let's get you an ice cream and then you come help me get him up and you can sit next to me while I feed him and you can have your ice cream. L'il's gonna be all jealous of you."
Cyndra never knew if Kelli really understood what she was saying to her. She just tried to keep her voice all momsy and loving. Kelli reached up and patted her face. "O.k. then, good girl," Cyndra said, "let's get it going."
It was mid-afternoon by the time Cyndra got L'il back to sleep, the ice cream off Kelli and the couch, Kelli down for a nap and herself charged up enough to call J.B. He didn't answer. He'd always been like that - blah blah no woman's gonna be the boss of me blah blah. Cyndra dug through the back of the big walk-in closet and found the black dress. She hung it in the bathroom with the shower on to steam a few wrinkles out. When she tried it on, the zipper almost didn't close. She sucked in her breath till it hurt and felt the zipper close. There would be no more ice cream bars. None.
When J.B. finally called his voice was all puffed-up and important. "What's up? I got a minute." Cyndra rolled her eyes. She was so over almost everything about him. "Honey," she said, her words racing to get everything in before he could say no, "I was hoping you could come straight home tonight. Tyra's gotta see a doctor down in Palm Springs and she's scared. I told her I'd see if you'd be willing to watch the kids so I could keep her company...see that way, she owes us and maybe you and me can get a little alone time on the weekend while she watches the kids back as a favor. You know, we haven't had any alone time in too long."
J.B. laughed. His voice softened. "You mean special alone time? Real special my girl knows what I like alone time?"
Cyndra grabbed an ice cream bar from the freezer. She did it so quiet he'd never know. "Uh huh," she said, "real real special alone time." She ripped the wrapper from the ice cream bar with her teeth.
"I can come right home," J.B. said. "You bet I can. You got yourself a deal."
Cyndra bit off the first inch of the ice cream bar and damn near swallowed it whole. "That's real sweet of you, baby," she said. "Bye bye."
She still couldn't believe it had been so easy. J.B. had screeched into the drive, shoved open the door and stopped dead in his tracks. "Damn," he'd said, "you look good. You look damn hot. You gotta promise me you'll wear that dress when we have our real special time alone." Cyndra hadn't said anything. She'd just walked up to him real slow, pressed up against him for a second, backed away and grinned. Tyra had pulled up, beeped the horn and Cyndra was gone gone gone.
And now, right this minute, she was sitting on the most comfortable chair she'd maybe ever sat in. It had a seat that seemed to be made just for her butt, a nice high back and it was exactly the right distance from the glowing rainbow screen of a Cleopatra slot machine. She'd just bet forty nickles and three golden tiger things had bounced down in front of her and there was music playing and a bunch of free spins about to happen at THREE TIMES THE NORMAL WIN and her damn sister was tugging on her sleeve, saying "Come on, we gotta get to the seafood buffet while the crab claws are still there...plus Tim's on in forty-five minutes. Come on!"
"Wait up," Cyndra said, "just give me two more minutes..."