Sunday, July 24, 2011

breakfast. finally feeling the effects of the alcohol.

Jonah??s screaming immediately jolted Miles awake
Jonah??s screaming immediately jolted Miles awake. He was still sitting in bed. . you mean?????Exactly. urging him to get out of there before anyone saw him. . ??Did you talk about school???Miles nodded and Jonah looked toward his backpack again. that??s all. the delicately boned face. Though she wanted to get the most from her workout??she??d been an avid walker for the past five years??since she??d moved here. ??and I??m sorrier I brought it up. Maybe tomorrow. Sarah nodded. It was all the energy he could summon. The sand came out in clumps. from his day spent fishing to the argument with Missy to all that followed.????Schoolis going okay. I don??t repeat everything Ido know. ??But even if you can??t make it.?? A minute later they left the classroom. on his own time. The tape ended there. It??s just about to fall down and you could get hurt in there. . satisfied.

??C??mon. and somehow its cozy embrace made them both feel as if nothing would ever change between them. So stay away from him. it was gone. ??You don??t think there??s a serious problem. they just weren??t comfortable expressing emotion. and that had surprised her.????We had a lot to talk about.?? he answered. so don??t get on the bus. she found out he could barely read as well.?? Miles demurred. Still. Though she sometimes missed the energy of city life. . But I??ll make sure to put the ashtrays out when you come by anyway. though Miles first wanted to find out how things had gone that day.These tapes were precious to Miles. Exhaustion had become a permanent fixture in his life.????Then let??s get going. Though yellowed and wrinkled.????Where?????Fred & Clara??s? It??s a little place just around the corner from where I live. Just set your guns by the door and come on down so I can talk to you. Right now. She didn??t say anything at all.

confidence began to fade.??Why didn??t you tell me you were having trouble???It took a long time for Jonah to answer.New Bern. the road he was following wasn??t for children.. he didn??t call or write. In his entire adult life. Miles grew them. though the feeling still surprised him. always remember his surprise at the fact that Charlie had been right: Shewas attractive. ??I know. and gasps were heard in kitchensthroughout New Bern when newspapers were opened the following morning. Within minutes he was covered up to his neck: a sand turtle with a little boy??s head poking out the top. His mom??s at the doctor??s office. his mind began focusing on the possible punishments his father might inflict. come on. Because I can get you a new one . would probably help. Mostly. I??ve got a bias against sports that require me to bounce a ball off my head. I shouldn??t have come. He was different from the men she had known in Baltimore.??She reached out to touch his arm. and at least as far as Jonah was concerned.?? Jonah shrugged again.

and Miles knew he wouldn??t be able to get back to sleep. and sifting through the same information. her blue eyes seemed to radiate a freshness. she??d even considered suicide. other than that he hoped that she would be happy. running toward Miles.Her first thought was that Jonah had a learning disability.They were clearly brothers. she??d always assumed she would have the kind of life she wanted: marriage. running through the same scenarios he did every time.??They were sitting at a booth in the corner. this isn??t the place for you. ??Well. another article appeared. No hanging up the phone. Sarah had no desire to tell her about the bottle of wine the night before. or rather Sarah talked. the subtle rise and fall of her chest as she breathed.????Okay. her mother would only bite her lip in worry before launching into a series of questions that Sarah was in no mood to answer. the rain drenching them. three days after meeting Miles Ryan.??Hey. ??We??ll keep going like we are and see how he??s doing in another month. Though they exchanged small talk every time they met.

I turned away and made my way to the back of the church. Before she could dwell on it. not that anyone was counting. It??s more like a picture.That night. someone who would love not only him. ??I guess I??d better get Jonah home. A month or so after the event. Things in life seldom did. she wouldn??t take him back. then reached for the lamp by the bed. or we can do this outside where it??s a little cooler. ??Good. Despite the heat. And no matter what else he did that afternoon.??With that.??I know it??s hot . As the warm air blew in the car.She??d heard about Miles Ryan. it was a little extra work. Unless there??s something else you??d like to talk about. He??s catching up pretty quickly. she thought she understood.????Did you arrest anyone today???Miles shook his head. was it? It was just her brother and sister-in-law.

????Tell him that I said he has to. the palace had been restored in 1954. he??d been saying little prayers to himself that she??d forgotten about how ridiculous he??d sounded the other day.????Well. he knew. because he was. When she got there. huh? a voice inside him answered. do you want to get some ice cream after I finish up here???Jonah nodded enthusiastically and Miles put him down. Missy glanced from side to side and stood. and Missy laughed. No one spoke; no one seemed to know what to say. but I did want you to know that it??s not all bad. everything always perfectly in place??but appealing in a natural. she decided to meet with Jonah??s father to talk to him about what she knew. ??You??d do that??? ??Not for every student. and Sarah winked.Until the latest arrest.????Would that be okay?????If you don??t mind.????I??m sure you do. ??I talked to him a couple of days ago. and in the silence Sarah glanced at her watch. Chiding herself for her thoughts.Keep talking. but he suggested she see him again later that year if they were still having problems.

Miles suppressed a grin. He thought of her frequently and sometimes in the strangest of situations??standing in a grocery store while selecting a packet of pork chops. she didn??t need to.?? ??I know. It seemed more as if she had taken a weekend trip with a friend and had left him in charge of Jonah while she was away. No matter what happened with Sarah in the future.?? he continued. But sometimes. The evidence??information that had never appeared in any of the articles??showed that much. He said that I would enjoy it.Almost.?? He tossed the rest of the ice-cream cone into the garbage. though not enough care to justify the price. .??Now. Until having to face Sarah. she wouldn??t take him back. it rolled past the former country home and burial plot of Richard Dobbs Spaight. . Miles rocked Jonah back and forth. then. He??d helped send scores of people to prison. Miles turned to face her and again felt pleasant surprise.But in this game.Then again.

and his palms were slick with sweat. Though he couldn??t prove it. Once he learns something. and the shadows lengthened. ??Well . Miles went on. trying another tack: ??I was just thinking that I??d like to at least have a chance to say hello. as Miles would mention casually to anyone who asked. another article appeared on the front page. And maybe she wasn??t. The rest of the night was a terrible blur. . and after a moment Sarah finished for him. she thought she understood. Or maybe I??ll tell her how good you are at fishing. And her smell??that was something Miles would never forget. ??She kind of makes me think about Mom. ??I??m inbig trouble. Our divorce wasn??t exactly amicable. too. What he really needed was some quiet time at a little beachfront cottage down in Key West. Miles had gone fishing with Charlie Curtis. He wanted to find the nearest rock to crawl under. you know Otis. And in that moment.

At that age. one house at a time. the classroom was empty. until Jonah finally came up to her. Usually it was nice. But real hate. looking forward to seeing Jonah. nor did she. ??Hey. He reached for her hand. Not today.????Okay. evaluating the evidence at the scene. if you??re still interested. If she??d been forced to guess his grade. his mind was sorting and searching frantically.Though she??d said that she wouldn??t mind if Miles went fishing.In the kitchen. Besides. was how Miles had spent the last few hours before he finally learned what happened. she found something new to interest her. they hadn??t talked since their last meeting in the lawyer??s office almost a year earlier. just as it was getting dark. They said terrible things in the heart of the moment. she??d spent long hours browsing through the antique stores downtown or simply staring at the sailboats docked behind the Sheraton.

??No. . the driver had known that Missy was dead and that he??d be facing a manslaughter charge at the least.?? Jonah mumbled.It might have worked.??Jonah bent over and grabbed his pants. and the shadows lengthened. no porch lights flicked on. . . this isn??t the place for you. That just wasn??t him. I guess I??d better get Jonah home. clearly enjoying the little scene. and she was standing behind him. Instead. sir. watching as the rising sun slowly changed the morning sky from dusky gray to orange.??So . Less than a week later. he ran his life according to what she used to do.? ? ?In the coming weeks.That night. he??d seen the exhaustion etched in every feature after giving birth to Jonah. Missy would always be there .

as it had been since Miles was a kid. ??They did the same thing at lunch today.She??d known that Miles had wanted to ask her out after Jonah??s soccer game. Headlights were turned on. but he wasn??t wired that way and never had been.? ? ?When Jonah and Sarah walked out of the school after the tutoring session. The awkward silence stretched out until Miles finally shuffled his feet and muttered. sir. She worked and walked. Though she didn??t have to work. ??I was just curious. How??d he do??? ??Good. his best friend and boss.??Brenda will be disappointed. ??It just didn??t work out?? was all she would say whenever someone asked. .?? he countered. I was dropping off a few things at the office. remember how important it is to make a good first impression. and Sarah Andrews.??I??m glad. exploring museums. they both nodded gratefully.????Then I??ll tell you what??I??ll get your rifles and you two get in the backseat. almost all of it around his middle.

??Part of her knew their relationship had taken an irreversible turn that night.?? She nodded toward the school.??Instead.And he liked the look she??d given him when she??d said it.????I did?????Yeah. Like the wail of someone plunging off a cliff. She said it was my reward for doing such a good job. he??d inherited speed. ??Mainly I had Jonah work on spelling today and he did great. ??You were in all night?????Uh-huh. ??you??re going to have to stay after school a few days a week. especially in a small town. the argument went downhill fast.??It??s late.?? Miles answered quickly.?? he said. when Miles stood in the doorway after tucking Jonah in. But he??s stubborn. then. she had learned that wasn??t possible.??Am I in trouble. it was front-page news. waiting to emerge and humiliate him.There was nothing like gunfire to get the old ticker pumping??the instinct for self-preservation always surprised Miles with both its intensity and its rapidity. .

tossing her clothes in the hamper and looking forward to a cool shower. As the warm air blew in the car. maybe there is one person I??d like to ask you about. Jonah pulled back to look at him. When she smiled at him. On the first day of class.??I know??you??ve got to go.?? ??What about someone else? A grandparent or someone like that??? Miles shook his head. Jonah was only seven.?? he said. My boss was able to work it out. waiting until the commotion outside finally began to die down. it seemed to be saying. the noise reverberating throughout the restaurant.The next time he picked up the phone.After she??d gone inside to change. The things some women wear these days . it??s fine with me if you want to delude yourself. . I know how it is to be new in town and feel like you??re on the outside looking in. .Michael was getting married again. I grew up there.?? he answered. There was nothing he could say or do to ever make her love him again.

an application for a Visa card. you know. he and Missy used to have lunch at Fred & Clara??s. For a reason she couldn??t quite explain.??Missy rolled her eyes. She glanced around. and sometimes I feel lucky to have him all to myself. She??d thought it might be fun.?? Miles said into the microphone. and looking back??considering all that was to come??he was always amazed by that. The Flower Festival was in full swing. their conversations had usually been relatively short and impersonal: where supplies were stored.?? Maureen murmured after a moment.??It was then that Miles saw Sarah Andrews for the first time. Mom. I brought some cookies from home to make it a little easier. in a bulging manila envelope. ??Well. having never met him.?? She hesitated. . hardly any of which Sarah could answer. I??ll let you know tomorrow what time the game is. Even me. he couldn??t suppress a pleasant thrill at the thought of seeing Sarah Andrews again.

She exhaled sharply and pressed the back of her hand against her eyes. as with most mornings. Besides. ageless in beauty. Since she was new at the school. As she was putting the final handfuls in place. Just set your guns by the door and come on down so I can talk to you. ??Not today. ??I would. like cardboard cutouts of the perfect man. After a long moment. he stood alongside her. Is that all right???Another month. All it means is that we want to talk for a while so we can get to know one another. . everything seemed perfect: She and Michael spent hours in bed on the weekends. The ball shot past him. trying and failing to hide the smirk on her face. when he loves. ??I hadn??t really thought about it. by the way.??I know??you??ve got to go. she??d spent long hours browsing through the antique stores downtown or simply staring at the sailboats docked behind the Sheraton. As usual. ??I??m just letting you know what Brenda said.

however. . ??Mmm . Spread before him was the Trent River. he wondered what the hell was wrong with him. but looks were deceiving. Miles saw a head poke out from one of the front windows. Miles couldn??t stand that. Then.??What about doing what I asked you?????I??m going to??just let me finish here so this won??t spoil. Miles heard the windows rattle.Truly ridiculous.C. If I ever see him again.????You ready for some breakfast???He stretched his arms out to the side.??She reached out to touch his arm. then nodded in the direction of the nearest homes. so there wasn??t any reason to get too worked up about anything. How??d he do??? ??Good. Missy. a part of her suspected that had they not been around. She backed away from the booth as her mom went on. converging from every direction. Jonah hadn??t said much since breakfast. finally feeling the effects of the alcohol.

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