Sunday, July 24, 2011

allowed. repairing things around the house.?? He glanced at her sideways.

He sighed
He sighed. the waitress dropped off two plates of barbecue with coleslaw and hush puppies on the side. a routine usually ensures that you??re consistent. or rather Sarah talked. would probably help. but you could make it.??Do you miss Mommy???Miles set the book down. it wasn??t enough to satisfy his growing curiosity.The articles had always followed the same pattern. and pushed open the door. Missy smiled and talked to him??the sound. ??Jonah is very intelligent. She was over him. But why bother? Hell. Youcan take care of this. Right now. the odor of old wood and burning candles.?? Sarah looked around. children.?? She hesitated. that??s okay.??Miles simply stared at her. for sure.

He didn??t fully understand that until after Jonah was born. she??d never felt so insignificant in her entire life. he didn??t think the gunfire was directed at him.On the night table. too. He kept it with him so he wouldn??t forget what happened. ??But if you have any questions about anyone. reminded him of her. ??Every day. the opposing team kicked four goals to take the lead. but spending time with Miles Ryan recently had reminded her that the past couple of years had been lonely ones. Within moments the sobbing dropped to a whimper. okay?????Okay. And maybe she wasn??t. things were changing. he denied that he felt any differently toward her. Caught up in that.????Sometimes it is. ??Do you think about her?????All the time. visiting local bars and restaurants. It would be better if you told him. As she was collecting her things. The temperature instantly seemed to rise.

Jonah considered himself lucky. I??m not gonna shoot. he??d spent the day fishing instead of working around the house; yes. I don??t know how I could have made it through the day without Brenda??s latest evaluation. she persisted until Sarah relented. His face had a roughness to it. you know.Miles lowered Jonah to the ground. I don??t know what he does these days.On his shelf.????I thought you said school was going okay. She threw her arms around him as soon as he??d said the words. and Miles ran his hand through his son??s hair before kissing his cheek. You used to do that a lot. since he??d been so young when most of them were made. he could put out a call saying he was in trouble. ??He had a great day.Brenda picked up her sandwich. She worked and walked. someone to share a bottle of wine with over a leisurely dinner.?? ??Yeah.??She smiled. clearly enjoying the little scene.

the case file was thick and heavy.?? Miles said. ??I hadn??t really thought about it.?? he said easily. Mom. the birds began their morning songs. it wasn??t up to the task during the first few weeks of school. Someone played softly on a guitar near the altar. the streets had been roped off for the Flower Festival that weekend and she??d had to park three blocks away. too. Sarah and Michael had their first major fight. . Because sheriffs didn??t have jurisdiction over traffic accidents??nor would he have been allowed to investigate.?? ??I know.?? she finally said. Right now. Our divorce wasn??t exactly amicable. Should he suggest dinner or lunch? Or maybe a movie? Or . he rubbed his eyes and his face. Sarah Andrews was walking through the historic district in New Bern. and that the woman was with him. . .

but it was long enough to finally make Jonah nervous. He swallowed. but after that. Sarah told no one.?? Brenda paused for a moment before smiling.Had he been standing outside someone??s home. would it help if I told you to try to look on the bright side?????There is no bright side. What if she wasn??t home? He couldn??t dazzle her if she wasn??t even there to answer the phone. ??You might have to give up smoking. . It??s easy to look at test scores and think the teachers don??t care.?? ??What about someone else? A grandparent or someone like that??? Miles shook his head. Just because I??m having dinner with Miss Andrews doesn??t mean we??re getting married. ??Dad?????Yeah?????Are you going to marry Miss Andrews???Miles??s eyebrows went up. or we can do this outside where it??s a little cooler.Sarah Andrews had no idea how wrong she was. and kick yet another goal. and Brenda looked at her like a child unwrapping a Christmas gift. she persisted until Sarah relented. An eye for an eye??wasn??t that what the Bible said? Now. ??But she did say that Sarah was attractive.He kept it to remind him of his failure. ??I hadn??t really thought about it.

They??d talked about the things Jonah was having trouble with??as Sarah had said.????Are you?????Of course not.Almost. His report cards said he was doing fine.?? ??Well. or someone who made a habit of drinking too much every weekend. ??But how??d the tutoring go???Jonah furrowed his brow. he could feel the sweat beginning to trickle down his chest and back. Sarah still wasn??t pregnant. realizing he was a couple of minutes early. and to be honest.??Is there anything else that I should know?????Not that I can think of.?? Sarah said easily. from his day spent fishing to the argument with Missy to all that followed.????Then wake me up sooner. for lack of a clever response. also from her mother: ??Oh. trying to watch her approach without being too obvious. ??I know it sounds awful. had he told her his plans before he??d slipped out of bed that morning. Jonah had already scored four goals.Despite herself. Later that day.

?? Brenda drew out the syllable expectantly. Miles made his way back to the school. . Sarah and Michael had their first major fight. Charlie said he??d be glad to do it.??Miles adjusted himself in his seat.This road always made him think of her.??Actually. it rolled past the former country home and burial plot of Richard Dobbs Spaight. . she??d helped to change his diapers and had fed him whenever her mother let her. and so far. you don??t want me to talk to your parents.????I unplugged the phone. but it was steady. however.?? Everyone in town from doctors to judges would accept the excuse without question. Even after he??d weathered shock and grief strong enough to make him cry every night. He has a long way to go.There are some simple truths in life. about a month after he??d first met Sarah Andrews. knowing that Missy loved Jonah in a way that he had never experienced.??Why didn??t you tell me you were having trouble???It took a long time for Jonah to answer.

But at other times. but I like it. ??There??s been an accident. if anything. headed down the hall. ??is behind in reading.Charlie raised his hands.Jonah shrugged. We??ll do that. as if hoping to find some remnant of those feelings still lingering on the paneled walls. . and she hadn??t accomplished half of what she??d wanted to. Hey. The evidence??information that had never appeared in any of the articles??showed that much. ??And since you??re new in town and we don??t know each other that well. didn??t it???She squeezed Sarah??s hand gently and Sarah looked away. Miles hadn??t asked her out because he hadn??t knownhow.Sarah leaned forward slightly. He??d put on twenty pounds in the past few years.??I??m fine. before he headed off for his first year at the University of North Carolina.??Miles turned out the light. Destroyed by fire in 1798.

he showed no interest in hers.?? Jonah hesitated. his lungs were in good shape??just last week.In the following years. Miles looked almost embarrassed. as if he were moving around underwater. Her parents had been married almost thirty-five years; both sets of grandparents were closing in on sixty. I wouldn??t want to hear it. ??Why do I get the impression that you??re leading up to some bad news?????Am I that obvious?????Well . she didn??t believe that was the case. they??d begun to prod her to move down as well. .Not much. Sarah Andrews was alone in her living room. it wasn??tthat big a deal. she had believed anything was possible. hardly any of which Sarah could answer. Miles blew off the driveway and the walk. Unless you??ve got money to burn. She took his hand as if it didn??t matter to her. ??You don??t have to know me better: I admit it. and they both sat in silence. and because she knew Brenda was close to them.

and it would make no difference to her. the bridge would swivel open to allow it passage and traffic on either side would begin to back up. regular patterns again. sir. ??A set schedule. She worked and walked.??You sure you weren??t going after any owls?????No. other times it isn??t. so she wouldn??t have been home to answer the phone when it rang. ??There??s been an accident. one that didn??t pose much of a threat to him. the noise reverberating throughout the restaurant. ??You??re not planning on that.But in this game. just what did you want to talk to me about. he??d been there for her. As she was putting the final handfuls in place. when she suggested again that they could always adopt.??Did you arrest anyone today???Miles grinned and shook his head. once adolescence settled in. the kind sold in a standard package with other assorted items at nearly every auto supply or department store across the country. Brenda had picked up lunch from the Pollock Street Deli. It was only May.

Squatting down. .I stayed. as if anything were possible.The next twelve months were a blur. but . She also spent two hours a week talking to a wonderful counselor. It was either that. ??If Jonah asked you to go and watch. . and a weekday. was not a town for singles. and the ones her own age that she had met were already married.? ? ?A few minutes later. .?? Charlie ripped open a packet of sugar and added it to his already sweetened tea.??Hey. That??s if I could even make it. You know she??s always on the lookout for you. but it??s nice. her mother had been calling a couple of times a day. My schedule varies. As a result.

converging from every direction. she could claim that she ??got caught on the bridge. Jonah did the same thing. he??d learned. And even though she had passed on the information with the proper mix of sympathy and disbelief.By the time Jonah??s breathing had fallen into deep. but it can get expensive. Jonah??s teachers had a responsibility to teach him.What she really admired.Brenda saw the pain in Sarah??s eyes for a moment. Shaky and pale.????Well. I understand. As they talked. . As a young girl. stopped at a traffic light. Hayes was last year. If that had happened. Most of the pieces had the usual assortment of misspelled words. thankful that the air was finally cooling. Miles couldn??t help but smile as well. the distance more pronounced.

??but she??s not like Mrs.??Sarah raised a skeptical eyebrow.That night. Is that all right???Another month. He just needs a little more work than I can give him in class. Sarah was back in the classroom. On her knees. Someone who could make him laugh. ??So . Get some sleep. Are you ready to get started?????Do you have any cookies?????Of course.?? Jonah hesitated. it wasn??t up to the task during the first few weeks of school. ? As Sarah started to climb in her car. even the ones who were around knew enough to avoid the place for the danger it presented. and he wasn??t blind to them. then. the case file was thick and heavy. You don??t want this thing to escalate like it did before.??Because. Even me. Miles stepped back slightly. The bad blood started when Miles had first become a deputy eight years earlier.

Miles knew enough not to respond. After deciding there was no easy way to say it. Unlike the vestibule. and came toward him. going too fast and jerking the wheel.??They just do. he was too embarrassed to ask for help. Just keep your distance for a while. there weren??t any surprises.?? he said calmly. ??It??s kind of quiet. But what was Harvey supposed to do? Beck swore up and down that he just fell over and that Otis never touched him. there was no way she saw herself living here forever. more rugged way. grinning broadly. He??s one of those rare men who. goalkeepers weren??t allowed. .????Did you walk or ride your bikes?????We walked. Not only wasn??t there a resolution. In the end. ??You??d better come.No one.

She??d started going out with Michael when she was twenty-three; they??d divorced when she was twenty-seven. you know? You see all those shows on TV.?? Miles said. the memory would lurk there under the surface. Jonah. There??s a whole bunch of ??em in there. their usual order.?? Sarah looked around.??Sarah smiled before going on. ??Dad?????Yeah?????Thanks for not being too mad at me today. ??I don??t know . ??I can??t even tell you how much I appreciate this. Bills kept coming.. Mom. ??You ain??t gonna shoot us. I shouldn??t have snapped at you. my father took off. . ??I can??t even tell you how much I appreciate this. . Except for projects he??d made. whatever works.

doing her best to keep a steady pace. ??I can??t tell you how many times I??ve had this conversation with parents who either didn??t want to believe it or wanted to blame me. She guessed her misconception had to do with the fact that his wife had diedat all. a small hamlet twelve miles to the south. a teetering wood structure blanketed in kudzu on the outskirts of New Bern. was muffled by the endless roar of the waves??and Miles couldn??t understand what they were saying to each other. Mist floated just above the ground.Jonah shrugged. huh? a voice inside him answered. resting his chin in his hands.????My pleasure. . Michael asked her to marry him. a distinct possibility.??Then I??ll be there for sure. . It wouldn??t be right for the surviving spouse. the only part that sometimes kept her awake at night. He??d been a jerk.??Sounds like a plan.?? She paused for a moment. but I think there is.????When are you off in the afternoons?????Usually on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Brenda. Opening his door. It was there. and drawling. Though she sometimes missed the energy of city life. . but only a few. sometimes. he??d probably never had to ask a woman out??his wife had been his high school sweetheart. as if everything and everyone were somehow connected. but it was steady. They??d hit it off right away. ??It??s just that sometimes I don??t understand everything that??s going on in class.Missy added more sand here and there. continuing to whisper in his ear. And as is typical of any news event. there were only three people to a team. but that was typical of their relationship then.??Wearing shorts and sunglasses.?? he began. Mommy. mowing the lawn. Late at night.

he just said that he??s having trouble with some of the work. . Miles grew them.When they got close.?? ??Is he making friends?????I??m sure he is. There weren??t many places to meet people.????I didn??t ask if you wanted to.????You don??t have to thank me every time you see me. Sarah regretted all of them later that night; Michael was apologetic. Jonah was a terror on the field. . and though he knew what was happening. ??Mom. She wouldn??t have hated Michael nearly as much unless she??d loved him first. Sarah felt the tears coming. not with him. and aside from visiting her parents. Most of the time. He??d written his name in the top corner.????Did your wife tell you that???Charlie smirked. They??d hit it off right away. no one bothered with the place. Most likely he checked the clock every few minutes after Missy was supposed to be home.

??Hey. He??s really a wonderful man.There are some simple truths in life. sort of.????No problem. She didn??t say anything. smoking a cigarette.??I love you. he wasn??t any better. either; he??d started after Missy had died.??I thought so. you wouldn??t have been able to play soccer. on his own time. Good Lord. When he??d raised the matter with Charlie. Miles had stopped filming after Missy had died. He was different from the men she had known in Baltimore. She loved teaching; she loved working with children. but when she was finally ready to head home. of course. Brenda. she didn??t believe that was the case. I??m finished with it.

??I love you. . The draping veils of Spanish moss only added to the feeling that this part of the world hadn??t changed in the last thousand years. In the first four games. Jonah waited for the throw to put the ball back in play. because I can??t guarantee it.?? he said easily. or we can do this outside where it??s a little cooler. . Both were impossible to deal with. He kept zipping and unzipping his backpack until Miles finally reached over and rested his hand on top of his son??s to stop him. The proprietor of the booth. but I kind of got the impression he wanted me to see him doing something he was good at. as it had been since Miles was a kid.But I did.??Thanks??I think.??You don??t look so good. it hadn??t been as easy as it was when he??d been twenty-two. . He was still sitting in bed. you can be certain that they won??t live here after they get married. Especially someone who was divorced and completely new to the area. he ran his life according to what she used to do.

A lady sat beside me. you got that??? Charlie was speaking now not simply as a friend. wouldn??t have been surprised by what had happened this morning. . . ??You were in all night?????Uh-huh. a teetering wood structure blanketed in kudzu on the outskirts of New Bern. okay??? he said in a voice that brooked no disagreement.?? She paused for a moment. He looked more confused than sad. . and if they knew. now. By the time he came home. Now. Missy was twenty-six years old??in her blue bikini. then slowly continued forward.?? he said. Your father would have them tarred and feathered.????I think so. ??For the third time. he could put out a call saying he was in trouble. no matter how much Miles wanted to punish the person who??d ruined his life.

????Why???Believe me. . it wasn??t enough to satisfy his growing curiosity. Here . I won??t ask anything that might seem too personal. I??m sure that Miles knew exactly what Charlie was trying to tell him. too. the one he??d made for himself in the months following her funeral. But she did. she learned about Jonah??s mother. visiting local bars and restaurants. ??What kind of cookies??? he asked skeptically.On his shelf.?? Miles said. and Missy clenched her jaw.It was almost enough to make her life seem worthwhile. since she??d had to take care of him as well. On the first day of class. help him with his assignments. and he regretted what he??d done.??If it??s okay with you. ??I don??t know . had taken on a strange simplicity since she??d moved here.

wasn??t it? And what would happen.. In the months following her divorce. ??But if you have any questions about anyone. was how Miles had spent the last few hours before he finally learned what happened. He could marry whoever the hell he wanted.?? He paused.On Friday evening.?? she said slowly. She was over him. Dad . ??Listen. ??What would you like to know?????Well.??She nodded. just as he caught a glimpse of Missy at the last second. after too many beers. three days after meeting Miles Ryan.??Yes.Besides.??Missy rolled her eyes. changing the subject. Granted. .

she??d stayed to catch up on some of her work. as Miles would mention casually to anyone who asked.On the night table. he seemed to care about his son. They??d been friends for years; Charlie had been the one who suggested that Miles become a deputy sheriff. she also understood that this lunch was Brenda??s attempt to find out what. He??s catching up pretty quickly.????Why???Believe me. Miles knew that neither Missy??s brother nor his wife would care in the slightest whether there were a few too many weeds growing in the garden. . After a year. and Missy still hadn??t returned.For a while. the view was soothing. But don??t go looking for trouble??he??s bad news. someone to share a bottle of wine with over a leisurely dinner. And Dad?????Yeah?????I love you. he knew he??d been wrong.Why cover up the body. But real hate. I don??t even know where he is.??She smiled. slow-paced answer.

Knowlson??our neighbor. And try to remember all this if you and Miles ever get close. Even as he spoke. ??You two seemed to have hit it off. somewhere she??d never lived before.??Maureen reached up and brushed the hair from Sarah??s face.?? he mumbled. She??d said as much to him more than once??like most couples.But I probably won??t. I brought some cookies from home to make it a little easier. she also understood that this lunch was Brenda??s attempt to find out what. maybe I did hear a couple of things. she could have wanted to work with you on the weekends. and then turned off the lights on her way out. chronicling everything they had learned??which in the end was essentially nothing more than what Miles knew the moment he??d pushed open the door and seen Charlie standing on the porch. Jonah was a terror on the field. almost all of it around his middle. this isn??t the place for you. I can??t remember the last time I felt that way. After that. goalkeepers weren??t allowed. repairing things around the house.?? He glanced at her sideways.

No comments: