By Rhiannon Giles of rhiyaya.com
Durham, NC – Seemingly oblivious to the stares and hushed comments, local mother Ruby Grace was recently seen reading at the park while her children, Arlo and Eliza, played quietly nearby. The 35-year-old mother of two was the subject of much speculation as she sat with her nose buried in an actual paper book.
“Do you think her Kindle broke?” asked incredulous mother Sally Salsburg, proud owner of three Kindles, an iPad, an Android phone, and an obsolete Blackberry that she calls her “Crackberry” while believing to be the first to make that joke.
“I’ve heard she doesn’t have a Kindle,” whispered PTA president Rebecca Haywood. “Look at what she’s reading — that’s a library book. Do you think she’s having money troubles? Maybe we should do a fundraiser! Gift wrap or candy bars?”
Salsburg clapped her hands together and added, without the slightest hint of irony, “Oh, I know, a Scholastic book sale would be just perfect!”
“At least she’s not on her phone,” noted mother of three Clara Bartock. “That would be way worse. Somehow.”
The three women began to argue over which could be considered more neglectful — reading a book or playing on a cell phone.
After waving her youngest daughter away, Salsburg shook her head sadly and noted, “Either way, she is not giving her children 100% of her attention.”
While failing to notice her three sons throwing sand, Bartock added, “They’re bound to internalize the idea that she loves books more than them. If she’s not careful they will grow up to be hooligans. Or worse, librarians.”
While the mothers continued their heated discussion, Haywood’s oldest child, Samuel, screamed, “Watch this!” before hitting Grace’s daughter with a shovel.
“I really don’t want to gossip,” gossipped Haywood, “but Harriet told me Ruby makes Eliza do her own homework while she sits on the couch and reads. What sort of example is she setting?”
“Gosh, you know I hate gossip, too,” yammered Salsburg, “but letting her do her own homework? She’ll never get into a top university. Oh, that poor child; how will she ever be first grade valedictorian if she’s the one actually doing the homework? Next you’ll tell me she had to do her own science fair project!”
Haywood, still concerned about the hidden meaning behind a book that was not only used but also returnable, gently scolded, “Now now, Sally, as shocking as it seems, maybe Ruby can’t afford to hire someone to do the work.”
Grace, who said she took her kids to the park to find half an hour to read in peace, was heard muttering, “Oh, for fuck’s sake” under her breath as she looked toward the women. Seeing that they all had their backs turned, she coaxed Salsburg’s son down the highest slide and applied a Band-Aid to Samuel’s knee. With a heavy sigh she opened snacks for the Bartock boys and then sat back down with her book.
“I know they’re talking about me, but honestly that’s about a million times better than if they were talking to me.” She gave a grin and a wink, adding, “I actually finished my book an hour ago.”
About the Author
Rhiannon Giles is an overwhelmed mother who only occasionally considers giving her children to the circus. She has a sarcasm problem and writes regularly at rhiyaya.com. To keep up with new posts and see some of her favorites, join her on Facebook and Twitter.