Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Sundays on Squire’s Isle 5 – Sunday, May 13 – Mama’s Girl


Butler Photography was always closed on Sundays, but Tamara Butler tended to go in just to make sure everything was ready for the start of the week. The morning light through the front windows was enough to see by, so she left the lights off as she checked orders and made sure all the prints were ready to be picked up. Once everything was in order, she left through the back door, tugged on the knob to make sure it was locked, and slipped the keys into her pocket as she walked down the narrow alley to the street.

Her eye caught on the building across from the studio she and her husband had run for nearly thirty years. It had always been there, but she’d never paid much attention to it until a few years ago. Tamara crossed the street and stood in front of the building’s glass entrance. No one was on-duty at the receptionist desk, but she knew it was open. A sign hung in the building’s front window, next to the glass door, identified it as KELF RADIO – 1220 AM.

She wondered how many times she had walked past that sign without even noticing it. She didn’t like classic rock even when it was just rock, so she hadn’t listened to the station before Nadine started working as a disc-jockey. She hadn’t particularly liked the idea; who wanted their little girl to grow up to be a DJ, of all things? But Nadine loved the work, so Tamara supported her. And then the whole… situation… a few years ago, when Nadine had truly shown what she was made of… well, now Tamara looked at the radio station with pride. She was even starting to enjoy the music. The Beatles weren’t exactly the best band she’d ever heard in her entire life, but they were passable.

She took the long way around the block, going down the pedestrian side street where tourists rarely ventured. She passed Coffee Table Books, their front doors open to accommodate the swelling line of customers waiting to be served. A sign in the window proclaimed that “MOTHERS EAT FREE! Fathers Pay Double” and Tamara couldn’t help but smile. She had never loved Mother’s Day until one morning about thirty years earlier when a tiny little girl in braids and pink overalls brought her a handful of Easter candy and stood silently by the bed for Tamara to wake up before she handed it over.

She smiled at the memory. Nadine had always done Mother’s Day so right that Tamara almost looked forward to it more than her birthday. Even when they were fighting, if May rolled around they put aside their differences long enough to have lunch together. Usually by the time the meal was over the argument had been settled and they were hugging.

Tamara reached Spring Street and joined the stream of people. Tourists and citizens mingled together, everyone eager to show their mother a wonderful day, and Tamara was reminded of the one afternoon she’d spent in New York. She understood the need for tourists on the island, but that didn’t mean she had to like sharing her paradise with them. She went north on First Street, choosing to approach Gail’s from the far side rather than risk getting swarmed in the ferry lanes.

The restaurants she passed were all filled to bursting. When she reached the boardwalk, she saw boats in the harbor with people enjoying their meals out on deck. How they managed to eat on a boat without getting seasick was beyond her. As she approached the restaurant where she was supposed to meet Nadine and her wife, she craned her neck and scanned the al fresco dining area and spotted her daughter almost immediately.

Nadine had gotten a haircut since their last meeting; it was cut extremely short on the sides and back, left a little longer and feathered across the bangs. Two tufts of hair hung in front of her ears, and the stems of her glasses disappeared into them. She was sitting at the railing with her back to the harbor. Miranda was seated beside her, close enough that they could have shared a single chair. Her arm was around Nadine’s shoulder, and Nadine’s right hand was turned up to lace their fingers together.

Tamara stopped and let the other people on the boardwalk swarm past her. She remembered worrying about Nadine during her teen years. While all her friends were pairing up and going out and breaking up and making up, Nadine had stayed in her room and gone out either not at all or in groups. Tamara had tried to prompt her to date, but Nadine didn’t show any interest in the idea. When Nadine grew up and seemed to have the same feelings about relationships, Tamara began to fret and form images of her daughter as a spinster.

Now she knew the truth. It had been shocking at first, of course, to discover her daughter was attracted to women. But the revelation had come not long before Miranda entered Nadine’s life. Seeing them together… Tamara thought of struggling over a crossword puzzle clue and then having someone tell her the answer. The sudden insight, the “Oh, of course. I should have known that” feeling was how she felt when she saw her daughter with Miranda Powell.

Nadine wasn’t dedicated to remaining single. She had just been waiting for the right person to come along. Enter Miranda Powell. Nadine may have had an ‘oh, of course‘ moment of her own.

Because other than gender, Miranda was exactly the partner Tamara would have chosen for her daughter. Caring, challenging, strong, sweet, and so in love with Nadine that it was obvious to see even standing thirty yards away. And as for gender, well… whatever difficulties that might create, Nadine had made it more than apparent she was willing to stand up for herself and her love. After years of worrying and fretting about her little girl ending up alone, she was now suddenly married to the best candidate Tamara could have hoped for. That was worth all the Mother’s Days in the world.

Tamara smiled and continued forward. When she was a little closer, Miranda spotted her and shook Nadine’s hand. Nadine turned, smiled, and waved her free hand in greeting. Tamara waved back and sheepishly slipped past the line of other children waiting with their mothers as she approached the hostess stand.

“I’m meeting, um, Nadine Butler.”

“Of course! Right this way.”

She was led through the crowded restaurant and out onto the deck. Miranda and Nadine stood on her approach, and Nadine greeted her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Hi, Momma.”

“Little girl.” She turned to Miranda and hugged her as well. “Hello, Miranda.”

“Mrs. Butler. Is your husband not joining us?”

Tamara laughed as she took a seat. “His idea of a Mother’s Day gift is leaving me alone for one morning. He dresses himself, feeds himself, and spends the day watching golf in the bedroom. I try not to let on how much I love the gift.”

Nadine and Miranda both laughed, and Nadine gestured toward the kitchen. “We went ahead and ordered. We figured they would be swamped, so it would save some time.”

“I’m surprised you were even able to get a table, let alone one so nice.”

Miranda said, “The perks of being a local celebrity.”

Nadine rolled her eyes. “The perks of making a reservation two weeks ago before people turned their calendars and realized what day was coming up. We ordered you the usual.”

“Thank you, dear. Now, let’s get our gossip out of the way before the food arrives. How have you girls been?”

Miranda started talking, with Nadine occasionally offering detail or clarification. Tamara smiled and listening, laughing and offering advice when necessary. Around them the outdoor dining area filled, and the wind continued blowing off the water, and the deluge of people continued flowing to and fro on the boardwalk behind Nadine and Miranda’s seats, but all of that was outside of Tamara’s notice now. She was focused on her daughter-in-law’s right hand, the fingers of which were still laced around Nadine’s, and she couldn’t stop herself from thinking:

Oh, of course.

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