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Manhattan, New York
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Every Saturday morning, seating along the cement benches of the Ancient Playground in Central Park was at a premium. Bette set out early to stake out a position near the sandpit, Angie’s favorite activity of late. Sand was the great equalizer. It was the one place where Angie could compete equally with the older elementary school kids. Bette encouraged Angie’s sandy play as a suitable training ground for her first day of kindergarten that was rapidly approaching.
Dozens of young children scampered through the park, chattering and yelling as they played. The sandpit was no exception. As soon as they hit the cement ramp leading down to the pit, Angie tugged on Bette’s hand, anxious to reach her friends.
“Emma and Sarah are here. Can I go play, Mama?”
“It’s, may I go play?” Bette said with a smile. “And, yes you may.”
Angie dropped her mother’s hand and went off running toward the sandpit, plastic bucket and shovel in hand, without a second thought. She soon caught up with her first-grader friends and began their greeting ritual before playing.
Just as Bette was settling into her observation perch, a familiar voice sounded from just behind her.
“Coffee?” Helena asked, offering a cup to Bette.
“You read my mind. I hardly slept at all last night.” Bette eagerly accepted, then sipped on the hot brew.
Helena sat on the bench beside Bette. She instantly spotted Angie playing in the sand among a throng of young girls, then turned her attention back to Bette. “Need I remind you that excuse won’t fly with Mother? She’ll expect you to pull your weight mucking out the stalls today with Lexi and Connor.”
Bette was actually looking forward to serving out her punishment from Peggy for making her get up in the middle of the night to get the four of them out of police custody without charges being filed following their midnight shenanigans at Yale. She grinned and sipped her coffee. “So worth it.”
They watched Angie play for several minutes in silence, sipping their coffee. Bette’s mind drifted. With Tellus struggling the last few years in the global downturn, virtually all her energies were focused on trying to keep the business afloat. She had sorely neglected the things that really mattered to her…her family. Tina ending up in the hospital overnight was a loud wakeup call.