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).
A third of the way into the program, when the guests are enjoying their entrees of herbed chicken, basmati rice and steamed vegetables, the evening’s Emcee returns to the stage. Evelyn looks at the program again. Although her thoughts were elsewhere when the Emcee was introduced initially, the woman seems familiar somehow.
Who is she? Evelyn wonders, flipping through the program. I know I’ve seen her somewhere.
As the Emcee proceeds to recount her own experiences with Alzheimer’s—“Grammy’s slow demise”—Evelyn finds the page with the Emcee’s bio. That’s it! Evelyn thinks, looking at the photograph. She’s that bimbo anchor from The Crime Report. Talking about the 7-11 heist or the pulled-over semi on the Hutch as if it were comparable to news from the Middle East. That’s who she is!
Evelyn closes her program and looks up, but not without meeting Joy’s curious glance.
“So,” Tiffany Broadbent concludes, “I understand what you all are supporting tonight. And, on behalf of my Grammy, I want to say ‘thanks.’”
She wipes away her tears during some extended polite applause.
“Thank you,” she says again, her teeth perfectly bleached, her posture studied. “And now!” she says, her tone changing, as per directions in the script, “I have been asked to announce that the silent auction is going to close in five minutes!”
There is a great deal of shuffling in the room.
“Bidders, this is your last chance!” Tiffany continues. “If you want to make sure you win one of the fabulous items we have put up for auction tonight, go now and make that closing bid!”
Gus and Ed both leave the table, and Evelyn turns to Joy. “I know it’s Davy’s art,” she says to her daughter, “but I kind of feel like I’m being fought over!”
“And are you enjoying it?”
“Kind of,” Evelyn replies, nodding slowly and shrugging.
“Oh, honey,” Evelyn says to Joy, as they hug goodnight on the platform at Grand Central, “thank you so much for joining me tonight. That really was fun.”
“That was. Thank you. Now, are you going to be okay getting home?”
“Aren’t I supposed to be the one asking that?”
Joy smiles at the irony. “How about this?” she suggests to her mother. “Call me when you get home, and by that time, I’ll be home, too. Then, we’ll each know that the other is okay.”
“It’s a deal,” says Evelyn, hugging her daughter again before entering the virtually empty train that will deposit her in Westchester within the hour.
Per their agreement, Evelyn calls Joy as soon as she gets home. Joy is home, too. And their mutual safety makes them both feel all the better about the wonderful night they shared. They don’t engage in a long conversation because doing so is unnecessary. They each know they will talk together again very soon.
After hanging her leather jacket in the hall closet, Evelyn goes upstairs to look in on the sleeping. She opens the door to the master bedroom. Davy appears to be in deep REM in the bed she shares with him. And down the hall, in Joy’s old bedroom, Evelyn smiles as she witnesses Claudia’s loud snoring.
Evelyn’s quick tour of the second floor enhances her sense of peace. And she is happy to feel as relaxed as she does, considering how different and unusual the night’s activities were.
Were she tired, truly tired, Evelyn might find something relatively passive to do, something that might act as an organic sleeping pill. But, despite the hour, which is decidedly close to midnight, Evelyn is not tired, not by a long shot. And she knows that part of the energy she is feeling—much of that energy, in fact—comes from the Quilt Room. From the project that is still in process.
* * *
to be continued on May 21st .
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.