A NOTE BEFORE READING: I began sharing weekly excerpts from my novel, The Somebody Who, on June 26th. If you want to begin at the beginning, go here. If you want to read more sooner, feel free to head over to Amazon (there’s a button on the left that will take you there).
Evelyn parks the car in the garage, but decides not to click it shut. She doesn’t feel like going in through the utility room. She doesn’t want to look at the mess in there.
She opens the trunk and pulls out the two bags that represent today’s acquisitions—a few pairs of knee-highs from Nordstroms and a book about quilting. Not bad, she thinks to herself. Not bad for a lady on the run.
Then, still wanting not to be home yet, she shuts the trunk ever so quietly, heads out to the driveway and wanders around the front yard.
The day is incredibly crisp, as late October always is in Westchester. The leaves are on their last days of luxuriant color. Soon, they’ll be making their slow, gliding dives into the yard. She will have to call a service. Pay someone to come out and help. Davy can't possible rake them. He has the strength to do so, but—the job would confuse him. Besides, she never feels comfortable when he goes outside without a companion.
“What are you doing?”
It is Davy. He probably saw her from the living room window, and now he has opened the front door.
“What are you doing?” Davy asks again.
“Your clothes sort of match,” Evelyn comments, marveling somewhat at the fact that he’d found a striped shirt to wear with his striped shorts. (She has long since given up on suggesting that it is a little late in the year for summer clothes.)
“That’s what I mean,” says Davy, nodding.
She smiles at him and shakes her head ever so slightly. She notices that his beard is getting grayer.
“I don’t know where my friend is,” Davy states next.
“You mean Claudia?”
“I don’t know.”
“She’s probably in the kitchen getting dinner ready.”
“I don’t know.”
I don’t either, Evelyn thinks.
After yelling a “Hello” to Claudia, who is—as Evelyn had suspected—in the kitchen preparing their dinner, Evelyn puts her bags on the table in the hall and goes into the study. The answering machine is blinking, as she knew it would be. Three messages.
She presses the button marked New and waits as the tape rewinds. She puts her hands on her hips and stretches her back into an arch. It feels good to stretch.
“Ev—it’s Angie. Calling on Friday. I guess it’s about two. Anyway, I am so sorry to do this to you, but I can’t do the concert on Sunday. Ugh. God. The shit is just really hitting the fan for me these days. I won’t go into it. I’ll spare you. Anyway, I hope you can find someone to go with you. I’ll swing by tomorrow with my ticket. Probably won’t have time to visit. God, I’m sorry. Things just really need to slow down, if you know what I mean. Anyway, you don’t have to
call me back. I know that you have your hands full.”
Since Angie had hung up without saying “Goodbye,” Evelyn feels compelled to give the message closure. She hits the Off button on the machine. And she realizes that she isn’t surprised. Put off. Inconvenienced. But not surprised.
She looks toward the clock on the mantle to see if it is too early for a glass of wine. Then, her eye having been distracted by the appearance of something that is clearly not mantle-worthy, she shakes her head. And she feels, as she has come to feel a million times daily, the type of exasperation that churns in the soul when one is no longer shocked by nonsequitur. The mantle has a new decoration, placed there, no doubt, by Davy. It is between the clock and the brass candlesticks. It is a 16-ounce jar of pasta sauce.
Evelyn approaches the mantle and retrieves the sauce. She then moves the candlesticks a bit closer to the clock. Maybe if there is no empty space, she thinks.
* * *
... to be continued on July 17th.
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.