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, head over to Amazon where you can purchase a copy. (There’s a button on the left that will take you there.)
“Thank you so much, Ms. Bennett!”
“Phoebe, please! Call me Evelyn!”
“Thank you, Evelyn.”
“You are most welcome. More coffee? Guys?”
“We should probably be going soon,” Adam says, rather anxiously. “The demonstration starts in two hours.”
A part of Evelyn wants to confront Adam’s unwillingness to talk to his father, but she knows she can’t do so in front of his friends. If only she could come up with just the right words—
“HELLOOOO!? Anybody home?”
“Is that Angie?” Adam asks his mom.
“Sounds like it is.” Evelyn looks into her coffee mug, as if the swirls might have some sort of message. Then she calls out, “In here, Angie!”
“My God!” Angie exclaims, entering the room in a fit of her own energy. “You’ve got the troops here! Adam! Good to see you!”
“Good to see you, too!” Adam responds, returning Angie’s hug and kiss. “And I wish we could hang. But we’re on our way to Albany.”
Brian, Aaron, and Phoebe take this as a sign to stand up.
“What? You all runnin’ for something?”
“We’re protesting, and we’re going to be late if we don’t leave now. Mom? Good to see you!”
“You don’t want to say hi to your dad?”
“We really have to go.”
Evelyn smiles tightly as she walks Adam and his friends to the front door. “You staying in Albany tonight?” she asks.
“Probably not,” Adam responds. “Depends on who we meet, I guess.”
“Well, be safe,” she says, giving him a hug and then kissing his forehead.
Evelyn stands at the front door and watches the activist contingent take off in the small, beat-up car that must belong to one of them. She regrets that she never has time alone with her son. She feels she doesn’t know him.
She is about to return to the kitchen when a hand touches her shoulder. It startles her.
“Hey, hon,” says Angie, “I see Davy is getting a workout out back.”
“Yes,” Evelyn replies, still looking at the street. “Mrs. Krosky. Quite the task-master!”
Evelyn shakes her head, conjures a smile, and looks at her friend. “Coffee?”
“Oh, Ev, I can’t,” Angie protests, as if having coffee with Evelyn would otherwise be her first choice. “I’m so sorry, it’s just that I’ve got a load of things to do—” After punctuating her excuse with a roll of her eyes, Angie looks directly at Evelyn.
But Evelyn does not appreciate the eye contact. There’s something there that she’d rather not see. Is it pity? Disappointment?
Evelyn doesn’t let Angie’s look have the upper hand. Rather, she responds directly to the messages she played the night before. “I’m sorry things are so hectic for you right now, Angie. You know, if you ever need to talk—”
“Oh, Lord, listen to you!” Angie interrupts. “As if my problems mattered!”
Angie squeezes Evelyn’s wrist in an effort to slow her own pace. “Anyway, I put my concert ticket on the counter. I really hope you have a great time tomorrow. Were you able to find someone to go with you?”
“Mm, well, Judy is supposed to get back to me today. So—”
“I’m so sorry, Ev,” Angie offers, with the sincerity that is available to her.
“I am, too.”
Evelyn does not bother to return the overzealous wave that Angie delivers from her car. But seeing it—really looking at it—makes her feel tired.
“Are you going out?”
It is Davy, having been dismissed, apparently, from his fitness training. Evelyn turns to respond to him.
“No,” she says. “No. I’m just… standing here.”
“And I’m standing here!” he exclaims, with absurd enthusiasm.
“Yes, Davy. That’s exactly right.” She cocks her head and smiles because she loves him still. “You are standing there.”
(And behind you, she wants to add, is your Drill Sergeant!)
Still smiling and with practiced warmth, Evelyn says, “Good morning, Mrs. Krosky.”
“Good morning, Mrs. Bennett. I’ll just take him up now and see that he bathes himself.”
“Good idea. Thank you.”
Evelyn watches Davy obey his caregiver, and she wonders if there is some beefy, bone-shaped biscuit waiting for him when he comes out of the shower.
Evelyn tries not to follow the weekend routines too closely. And she has long since given up on asking that Mrs. Krosky call her “Evelyn.” She had suggested, during The Krosk’s first weekend there, that they establish a first-name basis relationship. But Mrs. Krosky would not even go there. Evelyn has since concluded that Mrs. Krosky has no first name.
* * *
…to be continued on August 21st .
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.