Three pages into Playdate, ten-year-old Belle walks in on father Lance and mother Darlene making love. OK, she’s freaked out. As he drives her to school that same morning, Lance tries to discuss what she may or may not have seen.
WHEN Lance and Belle climbed into the van, he slid his coffee mug into one cup-holder; she slotted her chocolate-milk box in the other. He fumbled for his Wayfarers; she pulled them off his head and handed them over. “Buffalo Springfield or Hannah Montana?” she asked, fingering the CD’s.
“How about a compromise: Judy Collins?”
“Too depressing,” Belle said.
Lance pulled out of the driveway, passing their neighbors, the Montoya Mediterranean Revival mini-mansion and the scarred earth of the building sites to the right, the new homes with their glowing white driveways, the industrial greenhouses that emitted a pasty sweet jonquil smell.
“So, if Mom wasn’t choking you, what exactly were you doing this morning?” Belle asked, although she had her theories.
“Some stuff kids don’t need to see,” Lance said, and paused, searching for the right phrase, “like their parents having sex.”
“So, that’s what making love is?”
“Yep,” Lance said.
“I still don’t get it,” said Belle. “I used to think parents made babies if they shared the same bed, but that’s not right. I’ve laid in bed with you and nothing happened.”
“Don’t go there,” Lance said. [Read more…]