Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chapter 38: In which Katie's Feelings About Her Blossoming Career Very Closely Mirror The Author's, and A Family Supper Is Attended

"Katie is telling you, Rebecca, that she's our Bansky. Katie Christensen is the artist you're looking for." 

Rebecca narrowed her eyes at them. "Really? Do you have any proof?"

Katie pulled out her portfolio, and pushed it across to Rebecca, who spent ten minutes going through it. At the end she took the twisted beret from Katie's hands, and put it firmly on Katie's head. 

"Bien sur," she said. "You are definitely une artiste!" And then she smiled, and Katie laughed, an honest, relieved laugh. 

"So you're cool with this? With me?"

"Absolutely!" Rebecca was emphatic. "In fact, I was thinking this would take weeks to get off the ground. But now we can get right down to work. It's perfect!"

Four hours later Katie emerged from the meeting with an anxious tummy, a headache, and a feeling that life was finally starting. She was equal parts energized and nauseous, which Eoin assured her was the way she should be feeling. 

"This is your first commission, Katie." Eoin squeezed her hand. She loved how he called what was essentially a work project a commission. "You should totally be freaked out." 

"Well, I am that." Katie squeezed back, then slid into him as the subway took a sharp turn. They were on their way to her aunt's place to have supper with her and her mother. (Her father had taken Jonah, Anne's son, to a Blue Jay game.) She'd gotten a text as she was leaving work: 

Having sup w yr aunt. u 2? bring Owen?

She could have bailed. She could have made up a lie, or she could have kept Eoin out of this. But she was finally feeling like she was getting her life together. "Plus, you get to show me off," Eoin had said, when she'd called to ask if he wanted to go with her. "It's about time." 

She'd met him on the Bathurst subway platform; he was wearing a lime green hoodie with yellow jeans and paint-stained canvas sneakers. Yes, it was definitely time to show off this man who dressed like a stop light. 

Her aunt was house-sitting a new place now, this one in North York. It was a condo, actually, and came with two geriatric dogs. "Welcome!" Angela flung open the door to the condo, and Katie and Eoin made their way inside. Angela hugged them both. From the sofa, Katie's mother gave a little wave, then stood up. 

"Eoin. It's lovely to meet you. I've heard so much about you." As they shook hands, Katie racked her brain, trying to remember when she'd ever talked with her mother about Eoin. "From Katie's aunt." Her mother amended, jerking a thumb in Angela's direction. "My daughter tells me nothing." 

"Right!" Katie clapped her hands together. "Anyone up for a drink?" She hefted a bottle of Irish whiskey. (Seriously, dating an Irishman meant you had your hostess gifts totally covered. No more hemming and hawing over what wine to pick up. As long as you brought Guiness or whiskey, you could do no wrong). 

"Well, she's got lots to tell you tonight." Eoin guided Katie's mother back to the sofa, as Katie and Angela went to the kitchen to pour everyone a whiskey and soda. 

"Well, isn't he just the most charming man?" Angela hip-checked her neice playfully. 

"I know. He's kind of too perfect. I know he msut have flaws, but I can't really see them. Not yet." 

"Then honey, you must be blind," said Angela, and they watched as Eoin unzipped his limegreen hoodie to reveal a shocking pink tshirt. "Because I don't know if I could last more than one date with someone who dressed like a bag of higlighters." 

"I just wear sunglasses," Katie smiled, and hugged her aunt. "Honestly, Angela, I'm feeling really happy. Florescent boyfriend and all." And she was. For once. For finally. 

* * * 

"I've had some pretty good news about work," Katie started in during the fig and goat cheese tarts. "I've been given the opportunity to use some of my original artwork for a major client's ad campaign." 

"But isn't that what your job is? To design ad campaigns? You often make the drawings." Though Katie hated to admit it, her mother asked a valid question. 

"Yeah, kind of. But this is different. This is me making art I want to, instead of me making the art they ask of me. I have total creative control." Katie felt herself swell with pride, and Eoin clutched her hand under the table. "This is going to be just me, doing my thing."

"That's amazing, Katie. Well done," Aunt Angela clapped her hands together. 

"Hmm." Her mother's voice was less enthusiastic. "And this is fine with your boss? This won't detract from your other responsibilities?"

"It's all fine." Katie assured her. "I swear it." 

"So how did this come about?" Her mother sounded anxious. "You didn't go over anyone's head to get this ... opportunity ... did you?" 

Katie quashed a feeling of irritation and smiled hard. "No, I didn't do anything remotely wrong." (Except for spray paint bridges. That nearly got me arrested. But only nearly!

"So tell us about it. Tell us how it all came about," her mother pressed, and Katie took a deep breath. 

"Okay. The thing is..." And Katie told them. About Anne. About her hunt for her sister, about the art she put up. She glossed over the spray-painting-on-bridges story but emphasized her widespread tackling of the city using art to get to Anne. "Eoin helped. But it was mostly me. And I think we might be closer to finding her. I think we might get her back soon." She told them about finding the house where Anne had been staying, about meeting her friend. "She says Anne's in AA. She says Anne is walking dogs for money." 

At this the geriatric canines looked up from the carpet. It was the only action they'd had all night.

"Dogs!" Katie's mother scoffed. "Surely this isn't our Annie. She hates dogs." The geriatric dogs hung their heads.

"She hated dogs. Past tense. But now she's doing what she needs to do to come back. She's going to be fine." 

"Oh, that's great news. What a good-news night we're having!" said Aunt Angela, but Katie's mother's frown only deepened. 

"But you haven't actually seen her, or talked to her. You don't actually know if any of this is true. For all you know these other homeless people could be crazy, or on drugs. They could be talking about someone else." 

Katie didn't have a response for her mother. She only sat and stared at her; next to her, she could tell Angela was gearing up for a response of her own.

It was Eoin (of course) who stepped in and stopped the fight that he knew was brewing inside her, inside all of them.  

"I don't know Anne," he said, slowly. "I don't know any of you, really, except for Katie, and I'll admit I don't even know her that well. But I do know love. Sorry if this sounds corny, or whatever, but I do know what a family that loves one another looks like and that's you lot right here. You definitely love Anne, I know that. And Katie is only trying to bring you good news. So why would you reject it?"

He put a hand, a large, warm, art-callused hand over Katie's mother's. "I know it's scary. What if this isn't true? What if it isn't for keeps? What if this will all just fade away?"

Yes. Exactly. Katie felt this way about everything.

"It might. This might not be the answer. We might never find her --" Eoin paused as Katie's mother choked on a sob. "--We might never find her. But we will keep looking. We will do it together." Katie's mother started to cry, and Katie slid off her chair and went to her, holding her tight. 

"I'm doing what I can, mum. And you have to believe me, I'm doing this for all of us. I can't just accept that she's gone." 

"It would be easier if she were," her mother said. 

"Maybe for you," Katie said, her anger rising again. "But not for me." 

"It's not that I want her to be gone. I just think we'd get some peace if we could just...." She looked up at Katie. "Oh, Katie. I'm so ashamed. I'm a terrible mother." 

"I wouldn't say terrible," Katie hugged her mother, hard. "Just a bit mixed up." 

* * * 

By the time they'd finished dessert, (and crying), all the details had been shared, including the story about the police station. "If I'm going to be honest, I have to be totally honest," Katie said. 

"No more illegal activity," Katie's mother said. 

"Of course," Katie said, at the same time Eoin shook his head and said, "We can't promise that." 

"So you'll let us know if you hear from her again?" Katie's mother asked as Katie and Eoin were on their way out the door, a tupperware full of leftover pasta under his arm. 

"As long as you tell Jason what's going on, and tell him to hold off on the divorce and custody and everything." 

Her mother frowned, and started to say something, but Angela nodded. "We'll talk to him. But we can't guarantee anything."

"As long as you try." Katie hugged her aunt, and her mother. "That's all we can do. We have to keep trying." 

Her mother nodded, and promised to talk to Jason. But as they made their way back to the subway, hands clasped tight, Katie and Eoin couldn't help but worry that once the tearful reunion was over, her mother wouldn't just turn right around and lose faith all over again. 

You Decide!
1. Katie and Melissa have a meeting with their boss, Mr. Ambrose, about her project, and he's not so keen on their ideas.
2. Jason turns up at Katie's workplace, upset that she's meddling in his affairs by trying to track down Anne and stop the divorce. 


  1. Mr. Ambrose! I think there's muy drama to be mined from Katie being a hired artist now, for the same company she already works for.

  2. I think it is too late, but I like Jason so i hop that is what you pick.