Blood, Salt, Water by Denise Mina


She saw herself suddenly as one of those old bastard bosses who were in charge when she was coming up, throwing their weight around because they could.

Pretend it’s Sunday:

I was not in a very good mood this morning, despite last night’s spontaneous dinner out with just the husband, a joy due entirely to the parents of our children’s friends somehow managing to extract said children from our house all at the same time. For a two-hour window.

We went to Jesse’s. We often go to Jesse’s. Well, we go to Jesse’s about twice a year, because that’s how often we find ourselves either child-free or selfish enough to wrangle my parents into babysitting. And even though we go to Jesse’s rarely/frequently, the bartender remembers us. She remembers that M likes an extra helping of horseradish with the prime rib and that I like red wine. She’s a dear. Once, we were just finishing up our calamari when a horse race came on the television and the whole bar stopped talking to watch the favorite be defeated, and we all felt sad together. I’d swear on my children’s life that none of us really knew much about horse racing, but on that night we were lifelong fans, shocked and devastated, grateful to have sympathetic¬†friends around to share the sorrow. It’s that kind of place.

Last night, though, there was no horse race. There was basketball on the TV, and M and I have really no interest in basketball. We were planning on attending a basketball game, a live one, later in the evening at the request of our youngest boy who is still uncomfortable being out in the world without his parents. His friends were going to the game, though, and while he thought he could manage the pizza part of the night, a whole basketball game surrounded by people who weren’t blood relations was beyond him. So we were planning to go. Which is partly why M had two drinks instead of his usual 0-1.

The people next to us at the bar took an interest in his first drink, a rummy thing with ginger beer.¬†“We had that in Bermuda!” the wife told us. “It’s really delicious.” They went on to explain about a bottle they’d brought back from Bermuda ten years ago (“When was the last time we went, honey? At least ten years, right?”) that was either 150 or 141 proof that was too alcoholic to actually drink. Even their kids left it alone, though apparently they’d drained the rest of the bottles in the liquor cabinet before going off to college. The husband and wife knew this because they’re recently rearranged their liquor cabinet and found all the bottles lacking.

Dinner was lovely, the basketball game was tolerable, the evening a success.

And this morning I was cranky. Well, not cranky exactly. I am an introvert who gets about two hours of alone time over the course of a weekend, and one of those hours I claimed by hiding in my seven-year-old’s room and the other I managed by waking up at 6 am, an hour before my seven-year-old. Introverts gain their energy (and good moods) by being alone. When we aren’t along for extended periods of time, we can get sullen.

I live in a family of five. You can see my dilemma.

But we went to visit some puppies and we got to see our six-month-old dog, Rosie, greet her canine parents and her human dad and that was just sincere and affirming. And watching her be curious yet maternal with the puppies (who were no bigger than guinea pigs) was satisfying and reassuring. Despite the stench of smoke in the house and the resulting headache, it was a sweet visit.

And then we bought a hamster on the way home. Because what else do you do on a Sunday?

3 thoughts on “Blood, Salt, Water by Denise Mina

  1. I hear you on the introvert time. I wake up super early on weekends. Like, dawn early. It freaks people out -but that way, I get the “rest” I really need :p

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