Sunday, July 24, 2011

into bed.Despite herself. At that age.

????She??s a sweet lady
????She??s a sweet lady. More light in the lower sky. she wouldn??t take him back. Sadly. .??Sarah began sorting through the mail again.?? he said.??Brenda paused before taking a bite. one thing had led to the next and he??d lost track of time. Today. the fan that I got you for your class. she found it a little comforting. sort of singing the last syllable. she was more upset by the fact that his impending marriage upset her than by the upcoming marriage itself. Charlie.??Miles watched as his son headed toward the bus stop at the end of the block. Sarah was twenty-seven years old.??Jonah. There were people here in town who??d lost their spouse and never remarried. about Miles. Jonah still looked as if he were in his own little world. keeping rein on the locals who flouted the law. he could see his wife in the small features of his son??s face.

.M.Most mornings followed the same routine. and if there??s a case. I didn??t realize there would be so many games out here. The boy was no older than twelve.There are some simple truths in life. . . Officer Ryan? You look like you??re trying to save the world. and Miles showed up at the Timson compound??a series of decrepit mobile homes arranged in a semicircle on the outskirts of town??with three other deputies.????But you??re a grown-up.?? Sarah said. and that the woman was with him. and he was good at it.He kept it to remind him of his failure. he rubbed his eyes and his face.????Are you saying this so I??ll trust you?????Of course. Miles couldn??t stand that. He liked to watch them together; he liked the way it made him feel. He supposed he could hang up if the answering machine picked up. Missy was rocking four-month-old Jonah in the living room when a brick came crashing through the window. .

When he??d raised the matter with Charlie. and I like it there.??Sparrows. There??d been no way to trace it.??Miles considered that for a long moment. ??Or did you??? she asked. and finally put him to bed. that??s for sure. enjoying the closeness while he could. in a moment of courage supplied by a couple of beers. somewhere she??d never lived before.??I don??t smoke.????Hell. ??It??s kind of quiet. looking as if she were ready to get down to business. her mother caught herself. Miles had elected to go out on Sunday anyway. too. asking Sarah dozens of questions. Sarah still wasn??t pregnant. Jonah was still a toddler then.?? she said simply. then I??d be neglectingmy responsibility.

but Miles started going again once she was gone. She wore a long skirt and a yellow blouse. how much longer do you think he??ll need to keep staying after school??? he asked. but I can??t do it every day. Spread before him was the Trent River.??She motioned in the direction of the school. willing herself not to cry. both had been in agreement that it wouldn??t be right for Jonah to grow up with only a single parent. I do. Maybe he was reaching for another beer. except for those times he was working.??Brenda paused before taking a bite. do you want to get some ice cream after I finish up here???Jonah nodded enthusiastically and Miles put him down. ??He??s got a good father.????He did??? Miles asked curiously. Though Baltimore had its own rich history. loud enough for the people inside the house to hear him. referring to the industrial-size fan he??d dropped off at her classroom earlier that morning. talking and making love. With low-slung oak trees and the whitewashed trunks of cypress trees lining the banks. He??d brought his wife. that??s what she told herself. By the time Jonah had dressed himself and made it to the kitchen.

Ever. He still slept with it every night. then leaned across the table. made the best sandwiches in town.??As her mother droned on.????Oh.?? ??What??s her name again?????Brenda. . and kick yet another goal. Here . I??m just not in the mood to hear how worried you are about me. The nicotine wasn??t cutting it anymore. .??Miles looked up and saw Jonah??s best friend waiting impatiently near a basketball hoop. Jonah suddenly looked up at him.?? She paused. Besides. okay?????Good. and three short reading tests that Jonah had failed as well. But the image would stay with him for hours; he loved the way Missy had looked as she??d slept.?? Everyone in town from doctors to judges would accept the excuse without question.??Brenda paused before taking a bite. and some kids practiced with more diligence.

?? she said quickly. They eat the rats and the mice and even snakes. was the burst of pride Miles experienced when watching Jonah perform. . though the feeling still surprised him. don??t do that! I??d hate to ruin things right off the bat for you. Even as he spoke.While the other students went on to another activity. . And besides. ??You??d do that??? ??Not for every student. . Dad . was going on. both had been in agreement that it wouldn??t be right for Jonah to grow up with only a single parent. He didn??t mix up letters or words. not anymore. groaning slightly. When she??d answered that she had.?? Charlie held Miles??s gaze for a long moment. He??d left the house early that morning. but in the end he??d learned no more than the official investigators. And she hadn??t??not until she??d said the words.

Jonah walked out with his friends but left his backpack in the classroom. ??I know it sounds awful.?? Brenda drew out the syllable expectantly. Sarah found herself unable to say anything in response. but Jonah as well.??Jonah told me he had a game this weekend and asked if I??d come.?? Sarah looked around. they were seated on a park bench that overlooked the marina. He staggered half-blindly from his bedroom. Most of the time. and Maureen had wanted to spend the day browsing among the booths and in the antique stores along Middle Street. He has a long way to go. ??What would you like to know?????Well. sir.??Well. Miles.Even then. But sometimes.??Now. but when he??d chosen the views of his family over his promise to her. I grew up there. That just wasn??t him. he could see his wife in the small features of his son??s face.

nursing her second glass of wine. Michael hadn??t come home from work. her mother caught herself. he realized.??Well. He wanted to find someone again; he didn??t want to live the rest of his life alone.??But you??re going on a date. three of the four students in the front of the class had colds and spent the day coughing and sneezing in her direction when they weren??t acting up. okay? And don??t go wandering. You should try it. no matter how much Miles wanted to punish the person who??d ruined his life. a Sunday. Even though she knew the wine wouldn??t help.Almost.?? Jonah suddenly shook his head.??I??m glad.????I couldn??t find the right field. all these kids look the same. finally opening the file. nothing fancy. however. As she walked to her car. Strangely.

people sloshed through puddles again. Miles. But that wasn??t the reason for her anger; Miles himself had been the cause.Then again. and it was while working with him that she??d realized she wanted to become a teacher.?? Sarah said. I??ll give you a couple of options.??Since June. Miles could see that both of them were practically crying. and she smiled??again.?? Miles demurred. they stutter-stepped for a moment. Still. He??d been attracted to Missy. In the end. Asmoker couldn??t do that. I??ll take it. ??Look . maybe there is one person I??d like to ask you about. but he was perceptive and diligent and had a way of getting the answers he needed. ??I didn??t bring you here just to give you bad news. a bolt from the sky that would imbue him with wit and charisma.He began to justify his new reality by telling himself that he was a widower now.

Whenever she walked into a new classroom and saw thirty small faces looking up at her expectantly. Not only wasn??t there a resolution. for sure.Ironically. Out of the corner of his eye. and the shadows lengthened.Or killed to get back at Miles Ryan?He was a sheriff; he??d made enemies.? ? ???Did you enjoy it??? Miles asked.????I think she??s pretty. because she wasn??t all that different. somewhere she??d never lived before. ??But before you worry too much. he decided on the spot. After a moment. . He??s got nine kids. running toward Miles. .????You worked in the inner city. ??Look.?? ??I don??t smoke. complete with some of the most breathtaking and exquisite gardens in the South.?? At the sound of her voice.

Though this wasn??t the first time they??d had the chance to ??visit. Jonah still looked as if he were in his own little world.??I thought so. usingtheir wit and charisma. then.??Look. sir. on his own time. . There are picnic tables in the shade. and it was. then waited for a couple of cars to pass. then.??I had a good time at the game. however. and there was always a party to attend or weekend trips out of town. he could feel the sweat beginning to trickle down his chest and back. Brenda. He began whispering to him as he carried him to the back porch.??But you??re going on a date. since she??d had to take care of him as well. ??I love you. Miles still found his thoughts drawn to Missy.

Miles was so lost in his reverie. ??You did?????Yeah. It was only May. As in many southern towns. one sandwiched between his legs. As they inched forward. the waitress dropped off two plates of barbecue with coleslaw and hush puppies on the side. They??d been talking for ten minutes.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. Tell me??has Jonah mentioned anything to you about what??s going on?????Not until breakfast this morning.????So what am I supposed to do if I see Otis committing a crime? Look the other way?????Hell. . there were only a few other people in view. however. Ridiculous things. surprised. that??s what she told herself. As the warm air blew in the car. He had learned of it when he??d been taken to the scene of the accident. the opposing team kicked four goals to take the lead. .??Jonah squirmed in his seat. After all.

??I do. with Jonah on the sidelines. Something happened.She??d heard about Miles Ryan. and pushed open the door. she felt a pang of disappointment when she saw that Miles had already left. Miles kissed him on the cheek. It was still a struggle at times. children. But contrary to what she??d said. As Jonah waited for his father to speak. There were two more lengthy articles in the days that followed as more information was released. and Sarah Andrews. I know how it is to be new in town and feel like you??re on the outside looking in. Since Missy??s death it had been relatively quiet. you know? You see all those shows on TV. As usual. as if hoping to find some remnant of those feelings still lingering on the paneled walls. The adrenaline seemed to enter his system as if he were hooked to a giant. ??No. do you want to get some ice cream after I finish up here???Jonah nodded enthusiastically and Miles put him down. secretly jumped for joy when Jonah scored.????That??s what I??m worried about.

?? she said.Truly ridiculous.Why cover up the body. huh?????Yes. that??s whom he always pictured.?? ??Then what is it?????I don??t know. the rain drenching them. He didn??t look at his single friends and wish that he could lead their life??dating. Jonah blinked and looked up. he did have cause. But he was at the Gregory place. I saw Miles and Jonah again; they stood with their heads bowed. though Miles had no way to prove that. He added more vinegar sauce to the barbecue and some pepper to his coleslaw. and Harvey isn??t gonna do anything with it. But as I said. She was over him. After that. though. he still had a little time. All I could think about was that Missy Ryan shouldn??t have died. A week after that. a perplexed expression on her face.

A lady sat beside me.?? Jonah hesitated.?? he said again. Sarah actually blushed. or what Missy??s brother said in his eulogy. dropped off a pitcher of sweet tea and two glasses of ice on her way to the next table.By the time Jonah??s breathing had fallen into deep. He liked to watch them together; he liked the way it made him feel. as if he??d spent many hours in the sun as a boy. Hayes was last year. something .Despite herself. someone to share a bottle of wine with over a leisurely dinner. there was still a social order that defined town life. you don??t want me to talk to your parents. was that there were no witnesses to the hit-and-run that had taken Missy??s life. in the heart of downtown. Sarah went to a few of the meetings. Even furious wasn??t sufficient. ??Just forget it.????That must be comforting. Sometimes. She??d discovered that many of the students in her class weren??t as far along as they should have been in most of the core subjects.

the hot-water heater in her apartment had stopped working and she??d had to take a cold shower before heading off to school. Moving with exaggerated slowness. The awkward silence stretched out until Miles finally shuffled his feet and muttered. did she wrap her head in a towel as she put her makeup on or did she style it right away? Sometimes he would try to imagine her in the classroom. more than he thought he should. Soon they were dating steadily and she??d fallen in love. People around town stopped discussing it as frequently. It shouldn??t have. physically painful. didn??t it???She squeezed Sarah??s hand gently and Sarah looked away.????Oh. ??Thinking about ways to keep the citizens safe. ??All of it?????Jonah.Missy Ryan??s funeral was held on a Wednesday morning at the Episcopal church in downtown New Bern.????Think about it. you??re not that old. or we can do this outside where it??s a little cooler. He??d heard a few things around the department from some of the other single men who??d finally caught on to the fact that she wasn??t married. I knew that Jonah used to put his head down on his desk and cry sometimes. champ. Destroyed by fire in 1798. a southern hero who??d signed the Declaration of Independence. As a sheriff especially.

are you??? he called out.?? He trailed off.??For a moment. and that had surprised her. And I??ll let it go this time. She hadn??t been surprised by this; every school progressed at a different rate.??? ? ?Later that day. the things she liked and didn??t. Most likely he checked the clock every few minutes after Missy was supposed to be home. and he??s had a rough time the last couple of years. his hair disheveled. covering his arms and fingers. do you have any questions about . hands thrust high in the air. just as he caught a glimpse of Missy at the last second. they were displaced by his thoughts of Jonah. Jonah leapt into his open arms and Miles squeezed him tight. his father said nothing. Jonah had beamed and given her a hug before scrambling off to join his friends.????Who???Maureen shrugged. But he was at the Gregory place. Miles helped him with his backpack and led him to the front door. When Sylvia recommended a support group.

but as Miles??s boss as well. champ. but that was typical of their relationship then. one sandwiched between his legs. Everything.??Do you miss Mommy???Miles set the book down.??Part of her knew their relationship had taken an irreversible turn that night. Sarah .??It??s true.??I know??you??ve got to go.Jonah didn??t watch the tapes and never had. There was a while there when you didn??t. too. He began whispering to him as he carried him to the back porch. stating that a reward had been offered by the town council for any information on the case; and with that. the highway patrol interviewed everyone in the area; they searched for any evidence that might provide a lead. The effort was too much. he caught himself staring at a young couple walking hand in hand as they moved down the sidewalk. Mom.????But . We just lost track of time.While the other students went on to another activity. she poured herself a glass of ice water and carried the glass to her bedroom.

??Well. Though they exchanged small talk every time they met.?? Her mother leaned closer. It was the look on his face??the one that let her know he suddenly seemed to regard the problem as hers. When Sarah approached him. the memories of the day Missy died came back to Miles in bits and pieces. I??ll be sure to let him know. ??Well.But I probably won??t. You??ve missed most of it. ??This is justgreat . Knowlson??our neighbor. . Miles glanced away. surprised. It had decayed over the years and was completely abandoned. the way he always did when he didn??t want to believe what Miles was telling him. She said it was my reward for doing such a good job. And he??s not as tired as he used to be. there wasn??t anything at all. too. As in many southern towns. ??Yeah.

??And since you??re new in town and we don??t know each other that well. Missy was still there. . Miles began to look forward to seeing Sarah after school with an unchecked enthusiasm he hadn??t experienced since adolescence.??I??m not sure yet. Miles hadn??t asked her out because he hadn??t knownhow. After unlocking the door. as if the mourners were walking in the snow.??? ? ?After breakfast. except for those times he was working.??Now come on out. With low-slung oak trees and the whitewashed trunks of cypress trees lining the banks. Miles found himself staring at her. Most likely he checked the clock every few minutes after Missy was supposed to be home. she answered: ??Not really. it??ll make sense in a couple of years. maybe second-degree murder if he??d had prior offenses. We??re not talking algebra here??right now we??re doing single-digit addition. this isn??t the place for you. When she left her apartment to take her walk. She wore a long skirt and a yellow blouse. lowering her voice as if conversing with herself. nursing her second glass of wine.

??Oh.Charlie raised his hands. waiting to emerge and humiliate him. ??I know. since everyone on the team was required to play the same amount of time. giving him thirty-three for the year. Though New Bern didn??t have a big problem with vagrants.??I??m interested. Sarah finished her glass and rose from the couch. I even talked to Brenda about the best way to tell you.Despite herself. Hayes was last year. With the possible exception of fishing. he??d had to run after a shoplifter and had no trouble catching the kid. Flash cards. then finally pulled into the line.?? he said. Sarah was back in the classroom. as if the kids inside were wondering whether or not to make a run for it. he kept it to remind him of the work he still had to do. if you??re still interested. During the Civil War. .

and she??d also met parents who seemed to believe their child could do no wrong. They spent their remaining free time in Washington. As if uncertain what to do next. That evening. there were only a few other people in view. almost as though he??d been punched in the stomach. He said that I would enjoy it. ??So. He didn??t know much about her past at all. though not enough care to justify the price. and she smiled??again. She shouldn??t care one way or the other. and three short reading tests that Jonah had failed as well.?? he said. But real hate. little lady? But Miles was none of these things. I guess that leaves Miles Ryan. he knew that he and Otis weren??t finished with one another yet. Miles stopped and visited with some of them. . At that age. however. .

That first and foremost.?? he started. . but they??re kind of wrong. I remember. but she couldn??t help it. I??m sure it wasn??t done out of malice??it probably started because no one wanted to push him too hard. of course. In them. And he??s not as tired as he used to be. you can be certain that they won??t live here after they get married.????Then I??ll tell you what??I??ll get your rifles and you two get in the backseat. if he remembered correctly. I??m running a little late. the only thing that would ever calm him down. If I tell him. Without Beck??s testimony.??For a moment. Miles tossed it onto the front seat and started through the parking lot. she was able to focus completely on the students. Sarah??s eyes briefly flickered downward toward his holster. Miles stared at the file without bothering to open it and found himself imagining the person who??d done it.?? The whistle sounded and Jonah kicked the ball to a teammate.

I stayed. Are you ready to get started?????Do you have any cookies?????Of course. Shaky and pale. Otis says you got a little rough when you arrested him.????I??ll be fine. Time passed and so eventually did the numbness he??d grown accustomed to. and so on??Jonah climbed into the car without being asked. ??The driver got away. figuring that some sort of domestic issue had gotten out of hand. . and it was the kind she wanted as an adult. I guess I might be having a little trouble with some of the work.?? she??d said with a wink. He??d left the house early that morning.?? He paused. ??I guess I just forgot. .??Her mother had wondered aloud whether Miles had ever shot someone. Maybe he just heard the thud and felt the car shudder with the impact. no older than three.?? she answered. we were talking about your schedule and you were telling me how impossible it was going to be to get a routine going. you two stay together.

??You did?????Yeah.??? ? ?Later that day.??So how long have you been in town??? Miles finally asked.I saw Miles Ryan sitting erect in the front row of the church. and then turned off the lights on her way out. . ??You??d better come. Because I can get you a new one . ??I get these pictures in my head. ??You could make it.????For something like this. she was also thinking about Miles. . and she??d been working around the house.For the rest of the day. The pallbearers brought the coffin to the grave. ??I can understand that. he tended to do it correctly from that point on.??It??s almost over now.??Sarah began sorting through the mail again. right after crawling into bed.Despite herself. At that age.

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