It's time for our second visit of the year to House of Mercy.
But first I need to say that this morning was remarkable. I got Max to daycare with no complaints. Not a one. None whatsoever. And when we got there I stayed for like half a minute, got a hug and a bye, and I was out of there. Zero fuss.
That was undoubtedly the easiest drop off I've had with him. Like, since he started going back in November. Nothing else even comes close.
I think - and I hesitate to say this, for obvious reasons - but I think we may have turned the corner on this whole daycare thing.
Anne was sitting in her car, drumming her fingers against the wheel and trying to decide whether or not she was doing the right thing. The parking lot was busy enough that she would have to make up her mind quickly, lest she end up in the mental hospital herself.
She had dropped Julie off two and a half weeks ago. They'd said they would call in two weeks but her phone had been deathly silent, the answering machine as empty as the fishbowl in her bedroom. Anne had given them another two days before dialing the number in the phone book for House of Mercy.
No one had picked up. There wasn't even a voicemail where she could have left a message. She knew this because she had counted the rings up to fifty-five before hanging up the final time she'd called.
They had told her they'd take good care of Julie. They had told her not to worry. But she was worried. She wanted to know how her friend was doing. If she was close to being released. If she needed more clothes or more shampoo or more... anything. That was reason enough to stop by, wasn't it?
Anne decided that it was. She got out of her car and strode across the parking lot before she could change her mind again. Or start worrying that she was only being a bother. Or interfering. Or...
She slipped into the lobby and approached the front desk. There was a man with thin, grey hair wearing a frayed suit in line ahead of her, so she was forced to wait. She tapped her foot on the soft carpet and kept her hands trapped in the pocket of her jeans in order to avoid chewing on her fingernails. Finally the man turned and shuffled away and it was her turn.
"Hello there," the receptionist said with an insincere smile. "How can I help you?"
"Hi, yes, I would like to see my friend, if that's at all possible," Anne said before stopping to take a deep breath. "I dropped her off on the 10th?"
"Her availability will depend on her status," the woman behind the desk said as she turned to her computer. "What's your friend's name?"
"Oh, right. It's Julie. Julie Miller."
"Let me have a look in our system," the woman said as she tapped away at her keyboard. A few clicks of her mouse later she returned her attention to Anne. "I'm sorry, there's no one registered here under that name."