Wednesday, March 5, 2014


      "Hey, Mr. Montgomery, this is Geordi from Dusty's Packers, calling to verify the time you want us to show up on the fifteenth, and how many boxes you'll think we'll need," a cheerful, young tenor voice called from the answering machine that afternoon.
      Lisa staggered backwards a few steps, staring at the phone. Since she had caught her father-in-law sneaking into the apartment to steal the answering machine tape, she had taken to getting up and going into the kitchen to listen whenever the phone rang, just in case she could catch another diatribe for evidence. The last thing she expected was a stranger to talk about moving her home. She barely snapped out of her shock in time to grab a pencil and paper and write down the details. The efficient young Geordi gave all the information twice, detailing how many people he would bring to pack up everything in the apartment -- Mr. Montgomery and his wife wouldn't have to lift a finger -- and take care of basic unpacking and arranging furniture at the new house.
      She felt unusually calm when she went back to her office, and sat at her drawing board, staring unseeing at the latest panels that only needed coloring before she sent them to Genevieve. Lisa realized she had subconsciously hoped Bekka was right, and her father-in-law had been making pronouncements and decisions without clearing anything with his son. That was why the confirmation of her fears now made her feel so unbalanced now, like she stood on two different levels that kept shifting in different directions under her feet. She had hoped, deep inside, that Todd didn't know what his father was saying, or even that he knew, and that he was resisting his father's decisions -- that was why he hadn't said anything to her about moving when the lease expired at the end of the month. The notice from the apartment management had disappeared, after all, without Todd saying a word, so she had assumed he had taken care of renewing the lease like he had originally promised, and had kept silent so he wouldn't have to admit that he had messed up yet again. Here was proof that she was wrong again to have any hope.
      This was even worse than she had feared. Todd not only agreed with his father, but the coward hadn't had the guts and integrity to tell her his plans. He probably thought she would be too surprised to argue with him, and certainly she would be afraid to make a scene in front of strangers, when the movers and packers came to their apartment next Saturday morning. Todd counted on her to be too polite, to give in and go along with his arrangements. And then she would be trapped in his father's home for the rest of her life.

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