On Popcorn, Track Record and the New Guy

survivors who thrive“Oh dear! I can’t bring myself to watch.”

“Pass the popcorn, Margaret.  This is getting good.”

Margaret passed the bowl of popcorn to Gladys.  “Gladys! How can you be so insensitive? She’s struggling. Can’t you see that?”

“Of course I can see that.  That’s why it’s getting good!”  Gladys scooped up a handful of popcorn in one hand and with the other, she deliberately ate one popped kernel at a time, while watching the drama unfold.

Basil walked over and sat next to Gladys.  “Uh oh.  She’s at it again, isn’t she.”

Margaret looked at Basil.  “Not you, too?”  Margaret dared to peek at the action.  “The poor girl deserves sympathy.  She’s doing her best, can’t you see that?”

Basil reached for the bowl of popcorn.  “Is this the kind you make on the stove, Margaret?  This is my favorite.  Well, after your pies, of course.”

“I never learned how to use one of those newfangled microwaves, Basil, how else would I make the popcorn?”

“Don’t get all upset, Margaret.”  Basil spoke between bites.  “I’m always rootin’ for our girl.  One day she’ll get it all figured out.  In the meantime, it’s pretty entertaining to see how she can turn something so simple into something so complicated.”


Margaret melted butter for another batch.  “Well the two of you could at least give her a little credit for coming along as far as she has.  She’s made some real progress, you know.”

Gladys wiped her hands on a cloth napkin.  “Yes, Margaret, she has made progress, but she’s still got quite a ways to go.  I can’t wait to see if this new guy sticks around long enough for her to finally learn to trust.”

Basil looked at Gladys.  “Oh, he’ll stick around, if he’s everything he says he is.”

Gladys laughed, “Yes, Basil, but if you’ll remember, she heard the same words from the husband, and we all know how that turned out.”


Just then Jon road up to a stop, kick-flipped his board and said, “What are you guys watching?  It’s not one of those chick flicks, is it?”

Margaret turned to Jon, “What’s a chick flick, dear?”

Jon laughed, “It’s a movie about love and relationships and stuff only girls like.”

Basil shrugged his shoulders, “Well, I dunno about that, son.  I’ve watched a couple good films that fall into that category.”  Basil chuckled, “‘Course I wouldn’t admit that to most folks.”

Gladys handed the bowl of popcorn to Jon without taking her eyes off the show.  “It’s our friend, Jesse.  She’s at it again.  She’s trying to get it right in a relationship, but her track record from her marriage to the narcissist keeps causing her issues.”

Jon grabbed the bowl and sat down, “Whoa.  What track record?  Narcissist?  I barely know that word.  That couldn’t have been from your time, Gladys.”

Gladys looked at Jon, “I’ve had lots of time to people-watch on this side, Jon.  Let’s just say I’ve picked up a thing or two.”

Jon scooped up some popcorn.  “So explain, please, in words a skater dude might understand.”


Margaret handed Jon a napkin.  “Gladys, if I may?”

Gladys wiped the corners of her mouth, “By all means, Margaret.”

“Well, that word wasn’t part of my time either, but I’ve gotten an education while watching Jesse.  She’s assuming that all the stuff she dealt with in her marriage will most certainly happen again in any new relationship.  She has an extremely difficult time trusting anyone.  If her husband told her one thing, she later found out that he meant something completely different.  She assumes that when the new guy says something, he really means something else.  Just like her husband did.”

Jon took the napkin.  “Okay…  so what’s a narcissist?”

Basil reached for the bowl.  “I’ll take this one, Margaret.”  Basil turned to Jon, “Jesse was married to a narcissist.  He was a self-serving, insensitive, inconsiderate son-of-a ….”

Margaret put her hand on her hip.  “Now watch your language, Basil.”


Gladys laughed, “Remember the days when she was married to the narcissist?  You weren’t here yet, Jon.  Boy oh boy!  We sure went through a lot of popcorn then.  Right, Margaret?”

“Yes, dear.  It seemed like every night I was cooking up a fresh batch.  I still wonder at how she survived that.”

Basil smiled, “Jesse is a tough one.”

Jon interrupted, “Okay, but what’s the big deal about being self-serving or insensitive.  From my perspective, a lot of them act that way.”

Margaret took the melted butter off the heat.  “Yes, Jon, and it’s a crying shame.  You see, though, that narcissists can really mess up reality for the folks they live with.  Her husband had her believing that she wasn’t good enough, that he was always on the lookout for someone better because Jesse wasn’t capable of measuring up.  Her confidence suffered.  She has a hard time believing the words she hears from the new guy.  She has a hard time trusting.  It’s not her fault.  And the new guy is doing his best.  You can tell he’s confused.  He tells her how he feels, and yet she doubts him.  What more can he do?”

Basil looked at Margaret, “He can keep telling her.  He can tell her every day.  He can tell her at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  He can keep telling her until the day she believes him.”


Jon stretched out his legs as he leaned his back against a grave marker.   “Pass the popcorn, Basil.  This is gettin’ good.”

Margaret looked down and wiped her hands on her apron.  “It’s too painful to watch.  Tell me how it ends.”

Gladys laughed, “Ye of little faith.  You’re going to miss all the good stuff.”

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  1. Wishing you lots of joy Jesse! It is not easy to try, but I know you have the wisdom and heart to know what and who you need in your life.

    Hugs and warm vibes your way . . .

  2. Lynn,

    Here’s the tape running through my lizard brain right now: Just keep trying. Just keep trying. Just keep trying.

    I guess that’s all we can do?

    Hope you and yours are well.

  3. Listen to your gut, my friend. Happy gut, happy life. Pepcid gut, run!

  4. Z,

    With a qualifier… sometimes the stress involved with a move can make a little (one tablet here or there) Pepcid necessary. How about: “If there are tears that necessitate Pepcid, then run!”

  5. Very true. For those that don’t cry much, any sadness or anxiety qualifier will do.

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