A NOTE BEFORE READING: I began sharing weekly excerpts from my novel, The Somebody Who, on June 26 2010. If you want to begin at the beginning, go here. If you want to read the book in its entirety, head over to Amazon and purchase a copy. (There’s a button on the left that will take you there).
“HELLOOOO!” Angie calls into the Bennett house, having let herself in as always. “Trick or treat!” she then yells, playfully.
Evelyn, heading from the kitchen to the front hallway, is struck by the option. Is this a trick or a treat? She realizes immediately that she doesn’t know. Nor does she know who will be tricking or treating whom.
Not giving away her silent musings, Evelyn greets Angie with a smile and a hug.
“You look fabulous as always, Ev,” Angie says with her usual energy. “Here,” she then adds, “I brought a bottle for your cellar.”
“Thank you,” says Evelyn, studying the label and recognizing it from the two-bottles-for-$6.00 special that the grocery store was carrying that day. She’s glad there is a bottle of a better cabernet already opened. “Would you like a glass?” she asks her friend. “I’ve got an opened bottle in the kitchen.”
“Sounds good to me,” is Angie’s reply, as they walk down the hallway.
As they enter the kitchen, Evelyn is curious to see how Angie will respond to Davy’s Superman costume.
“And there he is!” Angie says regarding Davy, who is perched at the counter with The New Yorker in front of him.
“I don’t know how this works,” Davy says, holding up his glass of soda.
“Just drink it, sweetie,” Evelyn tells her husband.
“Okay, but I have to—you know…”
“Do whatever you have to do, Davy,” Evelyn tells him kindly, smiling as she senses Angie’s mounting discomfort.
“So!” Angie blurts out, turning to Evelyn. “Any trick or treaters yet?”
“Not yet,” Evelyn replies, handing Angie a glass of the wine that was not on special.
“I bet you get a ton of them, though, once the parade begins.”
“We generally get quite a few,” replies Evelyn, already realizing that the evening ahead might bore her to death. “Anyway, I’ve got a casserole in the oven, in case we get hungry later, and I thought we’d park in the living room, so we can be close by the door.”
“Where’s Mrs. Krosky?”
“I let her go home early. She started to cop an attitude after Davy changed into his costume.”
“I can’t imagine why,” Angie responds, making little effort to cover the disapproval she apparently shares with Evelyn’s weekend help.
Evelyn feels remarkably strong in this moment. She is going to do what Joy suggested. She is going to observe. And perhaps by the time Angie leaves that night, Evelyn will have a clearer picture of the friendship she once valued.
“Anyway,” Angie continues, enjoying the comfort of the living room armchair, “I just had to tell him to quit calling me! He was so focused on getting married, and besides—the sex wasn’t all that great, anyway.”
“What’s that?” asks Davy.
“What’s what, honey?” Evelyn responds.
“Oh,” Davy says, waving his hand dismissively. “I forget.”
The doorbell rings.
“Should I—? Do I—?” Davy asks, rising and beginning to instinctively follow the candy-doling routine that Evelyn coached him through for the first ten groups of trick-or-treaters.
“Go ahead, sweetie, you’re doing great,” Evelyn responds.
As Davy answers the door, and the children respond gleefully to the presence of a Superman, Evelyn follows up on Angie’s story. “So you’re still dead-set on never getting married?”
“Jeez, Ev! I’m sixty! If I haven’t fallen for that legal trap yet, I’m not likely to do so anytime soon.”
Davy returns to his chair, which is closest to the front hallway but not outside of the conversational circle. He looks especially confused, and perhaps upset.
“Everything okay, Davy?” Evelyn asks.
“I don’t know,” he says, shaking his head. “I think I need to—do that thing. You know, I think I need—” he adds, indicating the direction of the kitchen with the thumb of his right hand.
“Does he need to go potty?” Angie asks Evelyn.
“Angie!” Evelyn responds, in a distinctly scolding tone. “He’s not a two-year-old!”
Evelyn then rises, sensing that Davy has had his fill of trick-or-treaters and would like to sleep with the television now.
“Angie,” she says, “would you mind answering the door until I get back?”
* * *
to be continued on January 29th.
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.