Keeping Score

“It was a nice service,” Peter said, pulling away from the curb. He glanced into the back seat at me, but his comment was meant for his mother sitting in the passenger seat.

“Except for that bum cozying up to Martha.” Louise frowned. “Here she is, burying her husband and she has to deal with that no-count grandson.”

“You know him?” Peter squinted, his sunglasses forgotten at home on the kitchen counter.

“I know plenty. I know he’s living out west, that he hardly ever calls. Martha practically raised that boy.”

“Maybe he’s busy with family, an 80-hour-a-week job.”

“Don’t be silly, Peter.” She clucked her tongue. “He needs to go back where he came from. Leave her to the grieving.”

“He came from here,” I pointed out.

“How many years has he stayed away?” Louise continued as if I hadn’t spoken. “Fine time to come back if you ask me.”

“He came to the funeral. Doesn’t that mean something?”

“The very least he should do, Darcy. Didn’t I say they raised him?”

Peter’s eyes met mine in the rearview mirror and I smiled, making a slash in the air as if marking on a tally. Peter’s mother usually ignored me, pretending I was invisible so it was fun for me to make her acknowledge my presence.

Peter changed the subject. “We should invite Julia over for dinner while she’s in town.”

I didn’t answer, thinking about how my best friend from high school still had a crush on my husband.

“What?” He turned down the radio.

“Julia still has a crush on you.”

He snorted. “I’m small potatoes compared to the guys she dates in New York.”

“I always liked that girl,” Louise said, reaching over to pat her son’s leg. “Such a sweet thing. And pretty!”

“She sleeps around,” I said, guessing she might.

“You’re such a gossip, Darcy.”

That was two I thought, keeping score, smug with satisfaction. This time Peter kept his eyes on the road.


This writing exercise was for Trifecta’s Week Thirty-Three Challenge (second prompt): Write a 33-333 word response using the third definition of the word score (an account or reckoning originally kept by making marks on a tally).


14 thoughts on “Keeping Score

  1. Seems to me the MIL from Hell! I also like the irony Jester Queen noted – accusing Darcy of gossip after she just did the same. Too bad the husband just sits there and pretends it isn’t happening.

  2. Wow, I would hate to visit that family for Thanksgiving dinner.
    Love how you painted the relationship between Darcy and Mother in law so quickly!

  3. I love the story here, the relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law fraught with tension. I also LOVED it when the MIL accused Darcy of being a gossip for what she said, even though MIL herself was gossiping away madly.

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