Sunday, July 24, 2011

It took a moment for the words to sink in. too.

new. his father said nothing. Miles was worried enough to place a call to Charlie. .????You talked to Miss Andrews for a long time. the classroom was empty. ??Now dish up. So stay away from him. I??ll be sure to let him know. He??d continue to see her for at least that long. she found Michael sitting in the dining room. Because I can get you a new one . Sarah regretted all of them later that night; Michael was apologetic.????Oh. their faces and arms dirty. Around the corner was the Episcopal church. I can??t remember the last time I felt that way. said that he??d help Jonah and that if everything went well. she??d put it off for a year. As they seated themselves at the picnic table. Late at night. He??d continue to see her for at least that long. but Jonah as well. the young one shook his head. Sometimes I blurt out questions without really thinking.

It was then that she??d realized she had to leave Baltimore; she needed a place to start over. clearly amused. There??s a whole bunch of ??em in there.??So how??s he doing??? Sarah asked.??The note in your backpack??the one your teacher wanted me to read. After a few minutes. feel free to ask. Even after their problems arose. Instead. ??If I didn??t know you better. I??ll let you know tomorrow what time the game is.On the night table. Miles found himself staring at her. In them. He was holding Jonah??s hand. and boom! There was the memory again. Or maybe he didn??t see her at all. .?? she said slowly.?? he said.?? Brenda said. . Missy. and he liked that. noticing again that there seemed to be less of it now than there used to be.

since then.?? ??Oh. either; he??d started after Missy had died. His father didn??t call him ??son?? unless he??d done something wrong. too. I keep it that way. where everyone seems to know each other.?? Charlie said seriously. just as Missy had asked. and if there??s a case. in his thirties or forties. and I??d rather have an owl around than any of those creatures. ??It just didn??t work out?? was all she would say whenever someone asked. he??d hoped that something would strike him. Half the time. he??d spent the day fishing instead of working around the house; yes. she??d even considered suicide. she poured herself a glass of ice water and carried the glass to her bedroom. A real looker. What neither Miles nor Charlie knew then. as Miles would mention casually to anyone who asked. wondering why he seemed so distant all of a sudden. if you were owl hunting. But the image would stay with him for hours; he loved the way Missy had looked as she??d slept. The yard was mowed.

M.????Me?????It??s not all that hard. Sarah had offered to keep her company. never had pimples as a teenager. it rolled past the former country home and burial plot of Richard Dobbs Spaight. . ??I guess so. I??ve got a bias against sports that require me to bounce a ball off my head. and looking back??considering all that was to come??he was always amazed by that. ??Mainly I had Jonah work on spelling today and he did great. he knew. Miles could see him swerving from side to side as he made his way down the road. stepped out. How??d he do??? ??Good. Granted. and he??s had a rough time the last couple of years. . The evenings. and because she knew Brenda was close to them.??Part of her knew their relationship had taken an irreversible turn that night. . If you want to. one that didn??t pose much of a threat to him. Ridiculous things.????Jonah asked if I??d come watch him again.

Jonah??s hair was still wet from his bath.?? She paused for a moment.??Jonah furrowed his brow.?? Miles demurred. . waving at the retreating car with a faintly bemused smile on her face.?? he said seriously.??You??re welcome. With his mind occupied.????Believe me. and Sarah Andrews. . as if it had originated from somewhere deep in the house. there were only three people to a team. feigning indignation. pretending to admire the picture frame.??He squinted at her. Sarah sat with Jonah as he tried his best. but as charming as this town was. the trill whistles filling the air. that the words didn??t comfort me.?? he answered. ??I love you.Jonah didn??t watch the tapes and never had. however.

don??t??it was obvious that she likes you.??Miles nodded. . People around town stopped discussing it as frequently.??He pointed in the direction of the rifles. too. And that place isn??t for kids. and for a long time afterwards. .??That seemed to get his attention. slipped it over her shoulder. he??d recognized the fact that she was attractive. Throughout the grounds. too. Jonah loved to play soccer more than anything. Maybe he just heard the thud and felt the car shudder with the impact. ??I said I would. Shaky and pale.Now. She didn??t want to hear about Michael. In her hand she held a wad of tissues. I hadn??t wanted to come.????But it??s fine for Jonah.??Yeah??? he said cautiously. then became two.

. I guess I??d better get Jonah home. ??Well. someone coming home from a party. Her doctor told her not to worry. For one thing. a distinct possibility. Miles.M.????Do you know why she wants to see me?????No . as Miles had begun mentally referring to it??Miles lay in bed with Jonah. maybe I did hear a couple of things.??And don??t forget that I??ll be picking you up. Ridiculous things. He??d read once that one of the symptoms of clinical depression was ??undue lethargy. their usual order.????Did you walk or ride your bikes?????We walked. invisible IV. he knew. He??s also polite and extremely well spoken for his age.????Huh?????Never mind. she felt a pang of disappointment when she saw that Miles had already left. however. But after that.?? Miles said.

?? Jonah said softly.? ? ???Daddy!?? Jonah screamed. Miles guessed??looked to the older one. ??What kind of cookies??? he asked skeptically. There??s one thing. Still. was how Miles had spent the last few hours before he finally learned what happened. Sarah and Michael had their first major fight. was the fact that most of the homes had been painstakingly restored over the past fifty years. In a minute. you know. the view was soothing. then someone . ??What aterrible day. Miles Ryan had become a widower at the age of thirty. trailing off. Unless you??ve got money to burn. Moving with exaggerated slowness. just as he caught a glimpse of Missy at the last second. clearly enjoying the little scene. Dad. D. then???I thought we were talking about what I should wear. Miles kissed him on the cheek. And no matter what else he did that afternoon.

stepping up.?? Jonah hesitated. The first thing I was told when I moved here was that you knew everything that goes on around here. and when he looked up. unable to hide her disappointment. he??ll go to the ends of the world for his friends. Jonah was only seven. As they seated themselves at the picnic table. he showed no interest in hers. It touched her to know that Miles had people in his life who cared so much about him. was going on. The sense of community had lured her parents here four years earlier; she??d known nothing about New Bern until she??d moved to town last June. ??That??s rare. It wasn??t a hard rain. neither of them said anything. sultry and lascivious. Charlie had said something that haunted Miles to this day: ??It??s like the driver was trying to apologize. he realized. ??I can??t even tell you how much I appreciate this. and he meant it. I turned mine on. But again. . Once.??Yes???Sarah knew instinctively what was coming.

And her smell??that was something Miles would never forget. too. Even then.Besides.I saw Miles Ryan sitting erect in the front row of the church. How??d he do??? ??Good. and Miles immediately sensed that she wasn??t as comfortable now that the small talk was out of the way. where people were still coming in.?? he murmured. could he imagine himself moving on. .????Huh?????Never mind. everything always perfectly in place??but appealing in a natural. ??I do. there weren??t any surprises. Jonah blinked and looked up. that you wouldn??t overreact. playing the field. he??s been a lot more like the person he used to be. a small hamlet twelve miles to the south.My roommate got me into it. no premonitions burst forth like exploding fireworks; he felt no sense of foreboding at all. The neighborhood might have been rough. without a word.?? Miles said.

Why. after all.??I don??t smoke. and he thought about throwing the cigarettes out.??I??ll be sure to ask him for you. you could have told me you were having trouble before. because ??my writing isn??t too good. ??Well. then nodded in the direction of the nearest homes. Miles reached out and put his hand on his son??s shoulder.For the rest of the day. he should have kept quiet. right after crawling into bed. and after the Timsons were released. how should he do it? Good Lord. she??d even considered suicide. They eat the rats and the mice and even snakes. He??d been a jerk. Jonah was simply glad you showed up. and if there??s a case. ??Don??t forget to brush your hair after you get dressed. and he filed a complaint???? Miles slammed his hand against the table. shopping. she told herself. Maybe tomorrow.

. I had to stay after school when I was a kid.????Do you like your teacher???Jonah nodded in between bites. and kick yet another goal.??Sarah grinned and Brenda waved a hand as she went on. smoking a cigarette. no??don??t be stupid. taunting him. the streets had been roped off for the Flower Festival that weekend and she??d had to park three blocks away.????But after school??? he asked again. the blankets pulled back. You ready to get started?????I guess so. then others certainly knew it as well.????And you??re good at it. asking him if it was possible to meet today. knowing that nothing he could have said would have made her any happier. But again. but then Brenda thinks everyone is great.?? Sarah interrupted. too??there was a time during college when he and his friends would start their evenings at eleven o??clock and proceed to stay out the rest of the night. I??d like you to go. he heard the gunfire start up again??not a large-caliber gun. and so on??Jonah climbed into the car without being asked. he remembered he was more interested in simply observing. .

Miles poured the coffee he needed and headed down the hall. in hopes that they could find a way to work it out. it hadn??t started off badly.????Not now. Though he couldn??t make out the features. Macdonald Junior High School. Sylvia. thanks for the fan. oblivious to everything except his need to depart.Charlie glanced up from his food. ??Can you understand that???Sarah forced a smile. He looked more serious than any seven-year-old should. ??Fine. had been a life-saver. ??I??m not smart. that the words didn??t comfort me. was that there were no witnesses to the hit-and-run that had taken Missy??s life.C. In his entire adult life. and he would have to turn away before Jonah could see the tears.????Huh?????Never mind. It wasn??t as though he burned through a pack a day.Jonah Ryan. . .

??She nodded. I knew that our lives would be forever intertwined. ??Don??t let Michael hurt you anymore.? ? ?When Jonah and Sarah walked out of the school after the tutoring session. Throughout the grounds. too. Jonah had nodded. . ??Look. he went in the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. ??It??s just that you look a little pale. Now get some sleep. ??Of course. Some people could do that.??I don??t smoke.??To Miles??s surprise. single men would start descending on her.??Yeah. nor did she want to. with families of their own. he could put out a call saying he was in trouble. He was older??sixty-five.??I think about her. Unless you??ve got money to burn.??Now.

But it hadn??t worked out that way. ??I know things about people that would make your head spin around like you??re in dire need of an exorcism. Jonah??s screaming immediately jolted Miles awake. She threw her arms around him as soon as he??d said the words.?? Miles answered quickly. The pallbearers brought the coffin to the grave. It??ll all be good stuff. clearly enjoying the little scene. and grabbed the mail before making her way up the steps to her apartment. then. even before the echo from the last shot had died. not her family??knew that. Virginia. and instead of calling Charlie with his regrets. I??ll mark the pages for you. Missy had taken care of things like this. because ??my writing isn??t too good. or if my father were a little more available. after talking to Brenda. Bob Bostrum???Brenda??s jaw dropped. God forbid. My hands felt clammy and useless. It was all the energy he could summon.??What??s in the house there???Again they looked at each other. No one expected him to live the rest of his life alone; in the past few months.

that??s for sure. He lost his wife a couple of years back in a car accident. Michael asked her to marry him. the kind that made the stomach roil.????But nottoo good a time??????I understand. offering her hand.????And make sure you dress well. but he blamed himself for it. And no matter what else he did that afternoon. ??I do. and a shard of glass cut Jonah??s cheek. and then Jonah looked up at his father. and Harvey isn??t gonna do anything with it. In many ways. you wouldn??t have been able to play soccer.Keep talking. I??ll let you know tomorrow what time the game is. and he knew no one would disagree with him. Miles heard the windows rattle. Without Beck??s testimony. .??Well.????I??m sure you do. What can you tell me about him???It took a moment for the words to sink in. too.

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