THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S
stood in the doorway and glared at her daughter Maggie as she sat on the floor
snapping her gum while she listened intently to the radio. With
determination, Francis walked briskly over to the radio and quickly switched it
"Hey, what did you do that
for?" Maggie exclaimed as she bolted up right and looked angrily at her
mother. "I was listening to that show!"
"Young lady, you've spent
entirely too much time listening to the radio and not enough time on your school
work!" Francis stood with her hands on her hips as she looked down at
Maggie who was beginning to pout. "I just received your grades for
the first half of this semester and they leave much to be desired."
grumbled as she folded her arms across her chest and stuck out her bottom
lip. "It's just mid-term! They don't really count!
I'll have them back up before Christmas break."
better!" Francis pulled the report card out of her pocket and held it
up for Maggie to see. "Just look at this! English...'C',
"I got an 'B' in Home Ec.!"
fresh!" Francis slapped the report card down on top of the radio
before returning her focus to her daughter. "Until your grades come
up, no more radio!"
"No 'but, Mother'
me!" Francis turned and quickly sat down in the chair beside where
Maggie was sitting on the floor. "You're grades have to come
up! If you've got any intention of making something out of yourself, you
have to lay the foundation now. No college would even think to look at you
with grades like these."
"Mother, college is still
a couple of years away. Why do I have to think about all of that
now?" Maggie shoulders slumped. She knew it was useless trying
to win this argument with her mother, but it was worth a shot.
"But you have to start
planning now, dear."
"I don't know how you
expect me to study considering everything that's on my mind!" Maggie
began to feel her temper rise again as she glared at her mother.
"W-what? What's on
your mind?" Francis felt slightly taken aback. She knew the
obvious answer, already, but it was one problem she didn't want to deal with.
"Everything that's being
going on between you and Dad." Maggie's mind began to drift back to
the day before. She'd been over at Eliza Campbell's house and her mother
Corinne had made a few backhanded comments about Francis. "Momma,
it's all my fault! If I hadn't ratted Dad out, we would still be at
home! We wouldn't be living here with Nana!"
Francis felt her breath catch
in her throat. She'd known that her separation from Charles' had been
difficult for their children, but none of them had seemed to want to discuss
their concerns with her. Now the result of their troubles was clearly
reflected in Maggie's eyes. Francis' heart quickly began to break.