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“What did you just say?” my mom asked casually as she put the last sock ball in my dresser drawer.
“Nothing. Um, so are you almost done?” I asked eagerly. It was almost 10:00 A.M. They’d been in my apartment for almost five hours. Mom and Dad had thought it would be cute to move their baby daughter into her first real apartment. And who was I to refuse? They’d let me lounge around the house for the past two months: free rent, free food, free money, free everything. So the least I could do was give them this final moment to feel like parents. But like all of us just getting started in this big, mean, exciting world, this was the day I was destined to sever the ties from the womb. Well, I’d like to think that this was the day.
“What? You don’t need any more help?” my mother asked. You could see the frown forming. And with that impeccable timing of hers, those big blue eyes begin to fill with salty discharge. Yep, here came the tears. And let me tell you, I’m not talking about a few measly drops here and there. When Mom’s floodgates opened, it was like the Red Sea, and this time, there was no Moses to come to the rescue. I sprung into sorry daughter mode.
“Mom, you know what I meant. Please stop crying.”
“It’s just . . .” she sputtered. She couldn’t even get the words out.
“You’re just going to be so far away!” she cried. She had reverted to her “my baby’s gone” routine. I’d been hearing this one since I first left for summer camp.
“Mom, it won’t be so bad, I promise. How about this–why don’t you take the train into the city next Saturday and meet me for a girls’ lunch?” She actually stopped sobbing and cracked a minuscule smile. And there you had it ladies and gentlemen, the moment we’d all been waiting for.
“Oh, Charlie, I would love it. Are you sure?” Like I was going to say, um, no I’m not quite sure, but my people will call your people and we’ll figure something out.
“Totally.” I gave her my best smile. “I would love it.”
Now I should stop here and say something in my mom’s defense. She’s the most hardworking, most dynamic, most selfless, intelligent woman I know. Today was just one of those traumatic moments for a parent. Saying goodbye to a child is a tough thing to do. The same thing had happened when they’d dropped me off at my dorm freshman year. Mom was a little emotional, as usual. Hugging and crying, crying and hugging. Fighting to be strong, even though she really wasn’t. She was standing there sort of lifeless in the middle of my dorm room, lining the bottom of my underwear drawer with that smelly Laura Ashley paper. She loves doing that kind of stuff. Whether it is folding my socks in perfect little balls or making sure my panties and bras were color coordinated, she does things like this because they make her feel that I’m going to be all right, or at least well-organized.
I glanced over at my mother, who was smoothing a lacey bureau scarf across my dresser. She was muttering something about the insurmountable dust bunnies just as a NYC bus roared by sending a whiff of exhaust through my wide-open window.
“Okay Charlie, I think that’s it.” My dad, ever the voice of reason, emerged from the bathroom. In his hand he carried the toilet brush. Was our plumbing all set? Was his plumbing all set?
Suddenly, I felt myself turning into that little fourteen-year-old Charlie girl who’d been dropped off at soccer camp for the first time and spent her days feeling homesick and waiting for mail–that is, until she’d met Kent Schindele and had her first-ever summer romance.
“Don’t go!” I wanted to scream. But then I remembered, I am an adult.
“Yeah, Dad, I think that does it.” I gave him a false yet beaming grin. And with that, they were heading to the door. “So Mom, I’ll give you a shout tomorrow about our girls’ date. Cool?”
“Yes sweetie, I can’t wait to hear from you.” And there you had it. A few more kisses, a couple of bucks from my dad, and they were scurrying down the five flights of stairs.
As if on cue, I could hear the soulful words of Mr. James Brown come blaring out from Syd’s room. “Get up, get on up, get up, get on up . . .”
“So are they gone, Charlie-poo?” Sydney appeared sporting a wife beater, paint all over her face and a cigarette hanging off her lip. She was painting her room an unattractive shade of green. She’d been thinking of the green that you find in celebrities’ hallways or kitchens, but she was getting the mossy color found in mental wards.
“Yes, I’d thought they’d never leave,” I sighed. “Can I get one of those?” I reached out for a Marlboro Light and Sydney whipped out her hot pink lighter.
“I haven’t touched a cigarette since graduation,” I said.
“Are you kidding me?” Tara appeared in her bathrobe and went into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee. “That’s a long time to wait for some stick. You must almost be a born-againvirg,” she tossed out with a grin as she disappeared back into her room.
“Whatever,” I sang. “I think you’ve had too much stick. You probably wouldn’t know a good one even if it was in the palm of your little hand.”
“Ha, ha! Very funny, Charlie,” she called from her room. Before I could even take a drag though . . . ring-ring. I picked up the phone. A voice on the other end said, “I had a thought.”
“Hey Mom, what’s up?” I tried to sound as if I hadn’t just talked to her in person about ten minutes ago.
“Well, you are in such a cultured mecca, I was thinking that you could probably find a cooking class somewhere in the city,” she said.
“Yes, there must be so many there.”
“Mom, I can’t cook. Why would I want to take a cooking class?” You could hear the annoyance building up in my voice.
“Precisely my point! You need to learn how to cook.”
“Why?” I asked. “After all, I did just master boiling water!” This was a family joke. When I was thirteen, I’d been babysitting and had to make some mac and cheese for my charges. Due to my lack of cooking skills, I’d had to call my father to ask how to begin the process–that is, how to boil water. Needless to say, it had been hard to live that one down.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Posted February 11, 2012
Posted November 12, 2006
I hated this book, and I love a good piece of chick lit! I feel like all the characters did was drink and hook-up, which may be fun once in a while, but is not endearing when done night after night. Additionally, the fact that Charlie could not get it through her head that J.P. was a jerk was frustrating (I know a lot of women face similar problems, but give it a break after a while!). And naming an investment banker J.P. Morgan? The authors could have been a little more creative. This is certainly far from the best chick lit I've ever read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2006
this book was really hard to finish. it was dull, i thought it was going somewhere but it just had little spots of flare. i thought something would develop for Charlie earlier on in the book, but it didn't until the end. I kind of wanted to slap her because she kept insisting that something was there between her and Mr. J.P.Morgan. She reminded me of a desperate woman, hanging on to a thread of hope when she should have given up. The book was fair, lots of detail. I'm glad I finished it though.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 14, 2006
This book is fantastic fun and delicious. It is well written and funny and I could not put it down. It also made me hungry (I had nothing in my house so I powered through a bag of marshmallows while reading). Listen to this review not the idiot who wrote the one up there...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 11, 2006
I could not put this book down!The adventures of Charlie Brown and her pals took me back to my roaring twenties in New York City!!I love the recipes from the cooking club plus the gossip that went on during the girls' get togethers.The Taco Salad recipe is easy to make and perfect for a party!!This book is well written with sharp witted lines and chapters that flow easily from one to the next.I can't wait for the next book to come out and see what has stirred up with Charlie Brown and her love interest, J.P. Morgan!!!I loved it and it's a must read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.