I miss the flowers.
Don’t you wish you could go back to a time when you read your newspaper, the one with ink on it, that turned your fingers black, with your cup of hot coffee in one hand and your cat traipsing back and forth across the portion sitting on your table, rubbing against the section you are holding up and trying to read?
And then just when you get to the part of the story where you have to switch over to section 11A, where you are going to find out the details of that love-triangle-triple murder, the one with blood everywhere, a woman stabbed thirteen times, a loverboy with an axe stuck in his forehead, and an estranged husband on the floor no longer breathing due to a frying pan with what had been sizzling oil, in his face and the unfortunate way he landed on a salad fork that was sticking straight up in that pile of silverware, because that drawer was spilled a little earlier, and your sweet little kitty-cat, pops her fuzzy little face to the inside of your newspaper and you can clearly see that she is going make a kink in it, which will make it a struggle to turn over to 11A, without refolding a map, so to speak.
So you try to catch it before that happens.
It was a Friday night.
Fall was in the air when Sven and I arrived home around eight o’clock.
Our oldest son, who was closing in on fourteen, was busy entertaining friends.
Music was was drifting out the upstairs window as we parked the car.
We looked at each other.
There was no TV in the loft.
So it was rare to ever find a kid there.
But on that evening there were four of them.
Two of which, were girls.
“Hi Mom,” says Marques when I got to the top of the stairs.
“Hi,” I answered.
And then Sven and I were introduced.
“We’re going to walk them home,” says Marques a little while later.
Here is the thing.
Our house is located in the middle of nowhere.
“Where do they live?” I said. “We can give them a ride.”
Sven pokes me in the back.
“Nicolette just lives in the Grove, Mom. We can walk there. We do it all the time.”
That was a lie. That kid had never walked to the Grove.
My cell rang.
I pulled it out of my pocket, looked at the name and let it go into voicemail.
“Please God, just let me listen to this message.”
All I have to do is look at a call and my phone dials the number.
I got to the part where I had to type in my secret password.
My secret password is so secret that I have a hard time remembering it.
But that morning I tried my birth date.
I listened to the recording.
“Millie, I want to thank you for saving my life last night,” I heard Big D. say in his slow and easy voice, right out of the deep dark yonder. “You have no idea what I might have done if you hadn’t come along. Someday I would like to buy you a cup of coffee. God Bless you.”
It was last Thursday.
It was five PM.
I was starving.
That is why I stopped into the party room on my way out.
“I’ll be right there,” I’d said to Sven and got in a line that consisted of one big guy who was putting a lot of thought into what exactly he was going to eat.
I pictured hopping in front of him to the trays of cheese, but it seemed like it would have been a little rude.
I would have had to squish between him and his precious thoughts and the two women who were standing in front of the entire spread, wearing business outfits and pearls and chatting in a large and empty room, save for some tables, a shelf of books and an abandoned stage with a lonely guitar hanging on a stand.
When the man finally moved one step to the left, I picked up the lid of the first Nesco in line.