The usual disclaimers apply--this is the sequel to my last challenge
story, titled Packing. Hope you enjoy :)
4247 Maplewood Dr.
Sunday, April 12, 1998
"Sweetheart, I don't know what else I can say," Amanda put the grocery
bags on the table. "I told you what a wax was."
"You said it's when someone has hair removed from their body," Jenna
took the milk and orange juice, putting them both in the fridge. "But
why do they call it a Brazilian wax?"
"It's just –um—it's a certain name for a certain type of wax." Amanda
said. "Now are you sure this poster board you picked is the right size
for your project?"
"It's perfect—I like the pink a lot," Jenna took the poster board and
the glue stick that Amanda gave her. "What kind of wax is it? And
why'd that girl Candi think it would make things more interesting?"
Two straight hours of this. Amanda closed her eyes and wondered
whether interrogation techniques might actually be an inherited trait.
Striving for calm, she took a deep breath and mentally counted to ten
before answering. "Sweetheart, listen to me. That letter was from a
long time ago—way before your father and I even met one another. It's
nothing that should worry or bother you."
"I'm not bothered, Mom," Jenna said. "I just want to know, that's all.
No one will tell me anything."
"Jenna shouldn't you get started on that collage before it gets much
later? It is due tomorrow. "
"That's changing the subject!" Jenna accused. "Why can't you just tell
Looking into her daughter's face, Amanda knew what she had to do. She
took another deep breath—
SMK SMK SMK SMK
"I really wish you had destroyed that letter," Amanda grabbed Jenna's
shirt, the pink one with the palm tree on it—from the hamper, putting
it into the already-overflowing laundry basket.
"I thought I had destroyed it. I thought I'd destroyed them all along with
my black books years ago," Lee followed his wife down to the utility
room. "That letter must've been at the very bottom of that box— I
don't even know how Jenna managed to stumble across it."
"Look at whose daughter she is." Amanda pulled out the laundry,
double-checking the pockets for objects. She found a tube of
chapstick in Jenna's pocket and set it aside.
"Yeah—good point." Lee ran both hands through his hair, letting his
breath out in a giant whoosh. "I'd almost forgotten about Candi—there
was never really a relationship there. She was a real flirt— she came
on to any male with two legs."
"Well she was serious enough for you to go sunbathing on an Australian
beach with." Amanda opened the washer and popped the clothes inside,
adding detergent and starting the cycle. "Quite a trip for someone
that you never had a real relationship with."
"A-man-da! Look, like you said, it was all a long time ago."
"Relax, Lee—I'm not jealous of Candi," Amanda said. "It's just not
every day that you find yourself trying to explain a Brazilian wax to
your own child."
Leaving the utility room they entered the kitchen. A pot of chili
simmered on the stove, the aroma filling the room. Amanda took a
wooden spoon from the overhanging rack and slowly stirred the mixture.
"Well what exactly did you explain?" Lee asked, not sure if he wanted
to know the answer.
"I explained that people used wax to remove body hair."
"And what did Jenna say?"
"That it sounded like it would hurt."
"So did that satisfy her?"
"Not exactly," Amanda took some thyme out of the cabinet and sprinkled
a small amount into the chili. "She wanted more details."
"Exactly how much more detail are we talking about here?" Lee said.
"She's only nine years old."
"Well I started to explain about what body parts they remove hair from—"
"Amanda you didn't—"
"Lee, relax," Amanda said. "As soon as I started to explain Jenna was
the one putting her hands over her own ears."
Lee let out an inward sigh of relief and smiled. "Good to hear. So now
that's the end of it, right?"
Amanda smiled. "Almost."
Lee's smile vanished. "Almost?"
SMK SMK SMK SMK
Jenna was sitting on the floor of her bedroom, blond hair curtaining
her face as she bent over the poster board. As Lee entered she looked
up and smiled at him.
"Hi there." Lee knelt down beside his daughter . "Still working on
"I'm almost finished." Jenna said. "It's supposed to be all about
things I love—mom let me use some family photos too—see? There's
Philip and Jamie--grandma, you and Mom--"
"Yeah I see—it looks beautiful." Lee paused for a moment. "Listen,
Jenna—about that letter and about what it said I—"
"It's okay," Jenna said. "I've been thinking about it and I think I
"What do you understand?"
"Well—I think that before you were with Mom you were with some very
strange people," Jenna said. "And that you're very lucky you ended up
with us and not with Candi."
Smiling, Lee pulled Jenna into a brief hug, kissing the top of her
head. "Yes I am, munchkin," he told her. "I'm very lucky indeed."