This week, I offer an excerpt from my novel, Adelaide Einstein. I think I’m going to have to keep alternating between original flash fic and excerpts from fiction and screenplays I’ve already written if I have any hope of keeping all my plates spinning!
There were a few minutes of silence, during which Adelaide recalled how excited and full of dreams she’d been when she arrived in this Golden Gate city all those years ago; meanwhile, Patty wondered why her mother had come all this way just to drop out of school and get married. She might as well have stayed in Earle like her younger sister.
“Mom,” she said, “why did you quit school and marry Daddy? Were you pregnant?”
“Patricia!” Addie exclaimed, scandalized by the very idea. “Of course I wasn’t pregnant! I was a virgin until my wedding night! I left school and got married because it was what I wanted.” She decided to make a slight correction. “It was what I…thought I wanted, at the time.”
“I don’t get you at all, Mom. I mean, I know you’re smart and all, and you seem so happy that I’m going to college and I’m going to have a career. So if you think it’s great for smart women to have careers, why don’t you want one?”
"Oh, Patty. It’s not that I never wanted a career. I think I got married too young to give it much thought. I hadn’t settled on a major in college yet, and the way I was raised, college was more a place for a young woman to meet her future husband than to get a degree. We used to say that so-and-so had been to college and got her M-R-S.”
Patty rolled her eyes. “That’s absolutely disgusting. Like that’s all we’re good for in life, to marry some guy.” She pursed her lips thoughtfully. “I’m kind of pissed off at Grandma, now that I know she taught you that.”
Having Patty feel protective of her gave Addie a warm feeling. She smiled. “Well, the important thing is that I’ve learned a lot, and I’m teaching you differently. And I’m not unhappy with the way things have turned out.”
“Well, I guess as long as a woman is doing what she wants, even if it’s dropping out of college to get married, you could say she’s liberated. But you know, I think it’s really great that you’re going back to get your degree now.”
“I’m not necessarily going to get my degree, Patty. I’m only taking one class, and not even for college credit. It’s just for fun, really.”
“If I was going to take a class for fun, I don’t think it would be Concepts in Physics.”
“Maybe you would if you knew the professor,” Addie said.
“Why? Is he Brad Pitt-esque? Orlando Bloom-ish? Johnny Depp-like?”
“No,” Addie laughed. “Nothing like that. He’s the cancer patient I met at the hospice, remember? I mean that he has a way of making Physics interesting and kind of fun.”
“Don’t fall for it, Mom. It’s probably a trick, just like when my Algebra teacher started off the term by showing this cartoon, ‘Donald in Mathmagicland’. After the honeymoon period, it’s back to drills and quizzes.”
“We had our first quiz already.”
“On your first day? And you still think it’s fun?” Patty shook her head. “Sometimes I really wonder about you, Mom.”
Adelaide was very pleased to hear it.