Momma turned on the television. The opening strains of Loving You, by Minnie Ripperton, played.
With any luck it was just a commercial. A giant red heart filled the screen. Written across the heart in flowing script: The Love Doctor, Momma’s favorite show. So much for couldn’t be.
“Almost forgot about the marathon,” Momma said. “Goes all the way until midnight Sunday.”
Of course, it did. Now that she’d remembered, Momma would watch every minute condemning Addie to watch it too.
The opening credits dissolved. Dressed in a pale blue evening gown, a wannabe actress or trying to be model stood on a beach. In front of her knelt a tuxedoed man holding a single red rose, his declaration to the world that she was the one.
How could people watch this show? They did the same thing every episode. As the music swelled, her trembling hands would take his offered rose and press it to her bosom. She’d fan her face to keep from crying. Overhead, doves would take flight, his signal to sweep her into his arms and seal their love with a kiss.
Except that wasn’t what happened compelling Addie to look much longer than the nanosecond she’d intended. The image on the screen froze. Him on bended knee, her gazing down, their faces so blurred you couldn’t tell who they were or what they looked like. Odd for a show that built its success on beautiful people and their bogus love connections.
The scene switched to a doctor’s office. Behind a desk, in silhouette, sat the show’s creator. Addie didn’t know his real name. No one did. Embroidered in red above the breast pocket of his white lab coat was the only name the world knew him by: Love Doctor.
“Still searching for your prince? This Thanksgiving, let me prescribe the perfect man to cure your romantic ills on our special holiday episode: The Ugly Duckling and the Frog Prince. If you’re ready for your forever after love, contact me today.”
A web address and eight-hundred number scrolled across the screen. Mercifully, a commercial for hemorrhoid cream stopped the sappiness.
“You should go on that show,” Momma said. “I bet the Love Doctor could find you the one.”
Momma had lost her mind. How could the woman who’d seen through every lie Addie had ever tried to tell not see through this mess?
“There’s no way the Love Doctor could find the one for anybody, especially not me. I want the kind of love you and Daddy and everybody else in the family has, not some made-for-television version of it.”
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