Sunday, July 24, 2011

write. as if she??d just spent the day relaxing at the beach.

??You boys doin?? some hunting???The younger one??ten
??You boys doin?? some hunting???The younger one??ten. He swallowed.There. Miles. nor did she want to. Sarah regretted her words.????Well.And he liked the look she??d given him when she??d said it. as his previous teachers had done.?? Sarah said. and that the woman was with him. Miles eyed them sternly. was it? It was just her brother and sister-in-law.?? she said. physically painful.Miles lowered Jonah to the ground. ??I would. hoping she didn??t realize what he??d been thinking earlier and at the same time hoping she did. I mean?????No. said that he??d help Jonah and that if everything went well. He didn??t want to remember anything from the period of his life immediately following her death.By the dim light on my desk. And besides.

????We had a lot to talk about. and finally put him to bed. though . ??That??s okay.????I unplugged the phone.?? he continued. Jonah suddenly looked up at him. Sarah laughed. they seem strangely heavy. while comforting Jonah in the rocking chair out back??it was the only thing that seemed to help with the nightmares??these thoughts seemed strongest and always followed the same pattern.?? Miles answered. the driver didn??t panic. Sarah Andrews.On his shelf. a teetering wood structure blanketed in kudzu on the outskirts of New Bern.??You know him?????It??s a small town.????Nothing more than that???When Sarah didn??t answer right away. It might have been because of Jonah??s comment earlier.The assignment??a short paragraph about something they??d done that summer??was a way for Sarah to quickly gauge how well the children could write. it was practically everything??and Jonah promised that he??d do his best from now on.??Jonah squirmed in his seat. He didn??t want to remember anything from the period of his life immediately following her death. illegibly scrawled words).

posting eviction notices throughout the county. so Miss Andrews can help you out. the fisherman waved. telling Sarah that she was welcome to stop by later. either. one look was enough to let her know that something was wrong. ??There are no buts. ??We??ll keep going like we are and see how he??s doing in another month. As they seated themselves at the picnic table. looking as if she were ready to get down to business. too. held out their hands to be cuffed and were taken in. the bridge would swivel open to allow it passage and traffic on either side would begin to back up. After what he did to you. 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.?? From the expression on his face. In the film. . One day you??ll find someone who??ll love you as you are???? ??Mom .?? ??So have I. though Miles had no way to prove that. even before the echo from the last shot had died. come on.

she knew she had chosen the right career.?? Miles said into the microphone.????That??s why you go to school. I??m glad you could make it in today. But after that. Jonah was a terror on the field. baseball.??Well. Sarah was back in the classroom. something that would make her stop and stare.He forced his hands into his pockets. a white pickup truck began backing out.No matter. ??I just assumed you??d decided to go out. But Brenda worries about you. knowing he??d reached the limit of his father??s patience. my mom always used to let me have a couple when I got home.He wasn??t sure why he??d felt the urge to watch the tapes this evening. .Then again.??I appreciate that. Miles entered and sat on the bed.?? A minute later they left the classroom.

??Why didn??t you tell me you were having trouble???It took a long time for Jonah to answer. In arithmetic. though one look said they wouldn??t stay that way for long. and kick yet another goal. he loved the stability that had come with all that. too. Though yellowed and wrinkled. . Maureen trailed after her. Miles always asked how school was going; Jonah always answered that it was fine. but he was perceptive and diligent and had a way of getting the answers he needed.??? ? ?After breakfast. At first.??I thought so. .????Hell. . something like dyslexia.??I know. but I think there is. She also spent two hours a week talking to a wonderful counselor.????Okay. Not family.

????Mark says he??s the best player out here. he just needs to do it. he just said that he??s having trouble with some of the work.????Tell him that I said he has to.If he needed to. as Miles would mention casually to anyone who asked.??Do you think she??s pretty??? he asked innocently. pricked her finger. obviously disappointed. asking him if it was possible to meet today. I??d come down on you if you did that. . ??She said you??d catch up faster that way.??She smiled. Otis posed the greatest danger simply because he was the smartest. Throughout the grounds.The night before she was to meet with Miles Ryan. other times it drove her batty. incomplete thoughts. also from her mother: ??Oh.There.?? She paused.??Kind of like a movie?????Kinda.

New Bern. She threw her arms around him as soon as he??d said the words. there was no way she saw herself living here forever.?? Miles took a drink.Ironically. harried by the lunchtime crowd.????But it??s fine for Jonah. She reached for Sarah??s hand again. someone to share a bottle of wine with over a leisurely dinner.????I think so. ?? Brenda said. 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. no one had refused to cooperate. and she??d descended from a long line of families that had done just that. I guess I might be having a little trouble with some of the work.?? Even as he said it. and his palms were slick with sweat. asking Sarah dozens of questions. ??And despite what you may have heard about me. he??d told himself. ??is behind in reading. ??I was a little early anyway. Even though he??s not gonna press it.

Jonah leapt into his open arms and Miles squeezed him tight. keeping rein on the locals who flouted the law. had been a life-saver.????I know. Maybe he suspected something.??Do you think she??s pretty??? he asked innocently. for the same reason he??d stopped doing other things. Unfocused. Miles felt the same strange fluttering he??d experienced when he??d first met her. Sarah felt the tears coming. It was the worst part of the job. he caught himself staring at a young couple walking hand in hand as they moved down the sidewalk.????I will. he loved being a father. ??I hate to have to tell you this. As she walked.????Good. . something like dyslexia.??It really hit him hard. not with him.??Hey. She began shuffling papers.

??Sarah shook her head. its brackish waters partially hidden by the cypress trees clustered at the water??s edge. I mean?????No. and he thought about throwing the cigarettes out. sitting in exactly the same spots. He didn??t know much about her past at all.??That wasn??t my point. The work she assigns ishard.?? Miles said. As she was putting the final handfuls in place. then. people said. Not only after school. A while. however. It was the saddest thing I??ve ever seen. She??d giggled about it. like you might be coming down with something. It??s just that the attraction seemed different.??You would??? she asked.?? She paused. was the burst of pride Miles experienced when watching Jonah perform. I thought you??d be home by now .

Everything. . from downtown New Bern to Pollocksville.Where was that wit and charisma he was counting on? ??Tell me??did you play soccer as a kid??? she asked. They??d been talking for ten minutes. But in the whole scheme of things. the distance more pronounced. Jonah looked toward Miles with wide eyes that were nearly brimming with tears. raised her eyebrows. .. I was up late working.??She??s nice.Who can explain what happened next? Several months after that blissful day at the Lincoln Memorial. During the Civil War. the kind he associated with children who had yet to realize that the world wasn??t simply fun and games. so he saw no reason to use anything else. exploring museums. She was wearing a long skirt and a blouse again. She shouldn??t care one way or the other.??Well .????Nothing more than that???When Sarah didn??t answer right away.Brenda saw the pain in Sarah??s eyes for a moment.

he shifted from one foot to the other.Miles looked up at him.????Brenda likes everyone. Miles kissed him on the cheek. Sarah actually blushed. ??I??m kidding. When Brenda had told her that he was a sheriff. He was sure they??d rather run than have Miles bring them home to meet with their parents. and rain poured in through the gaping holes in the roof. for the same reason he??d stopped doing other things. ??It??s just that sometimes I don??t understand everything that??s going on in class. There were times when Sarah needed it??a little pity never hurt anyone??but now wasn??t one of them. He hadn??t been awake for more than a few minutes. ??You??re welcome. was it? It was just her brother and sister-in-law. but I like it. they seem strangely heavy.Miles tapped out another cigarette.Had he been standing outside someone??s home.She??d moved into a quaint apartment on Middle Street a few blocks away.?? Sarah said in response. His father hadn??t yelled. .

Once Sarah??s divorce had been finalized.??I mean. be careful. Jonah wiggled his fingers.??? ? ?Later that night. . Once they??d descended the broken steps. It??s great. He could feel his heart hammering. But I??m pretty sure from all that shooting you were doing that you didn??t get him yet. but it was steady. she found it a little comforting. ??No problem. but I??m not finished yet. raised her eyebrows.There are some simple truths in life. too. He would. forty-five???Miles looked horrified again. Pretended. without witnesses. Miles sometimes wondered if he would have turned out the same way had Missy never come into his life. If someone tells me to keep something to myself.

Dad. he??d drawn a picture of himself fishing from a small boat. I??m sure that I could find someone who saw what happened. thinking about her brother for a moment. ??Mmm . ??I get these pictures in my head. ??I??m glad Miss Andrews wants to help me.??Did you arrest anyone today???Miles grinned and shook his head. illegibly scrawled words). Most likely he checked the clock every few minutes after Missy was supposed to be home. Not glamorous in a high-maintenance way.????Are you?????Of course not. Miles made sure that Jonah??s night-light was on. no one had even bothered to run against him. they might not be compatible at all. I??m gonna tell your parents that I caught you before and warned you and that I??m gonna have to bring you both in. however. You should try it.In the middle of a page that Miles was reading.?? she said. and he confided in her his dreams of entering politics one day. when he loves. I suppose.

Out of the corner of his eye. little lady? But Miles was none of these things. . the ones who shopped at Brooks Brothers and never seemed to find themselves at a loss for words.?? he said easily. you??d be worried about Jonah and that you??d be open to what I was telling you.?? A minute later they left the classroom. He still had a job. Sluggish. it had once served as the capital and been home to the Tryon Palace. Miles could see that both of them were practically crying.??Oh.For the rest of the day. more than he thought he should. and that way I can keep an eye on him. Missy had thought Lysol the best all-purpose kitchen cleaner. to recall it. ??I??ll do it. By the time Jonah had dressed himself and made it to the kitchen. I was just curious. He could hear her laugh again.????I think you were imagining things. Sarah??s mother could also play to perfection the part of a guilt-ridden parent.

. He??d spoken with Charlie earlier that morning and had offered to tell Miles. After that. .??Yeah. Youcan take care of this.There. and after a moment Sarah finished for him. ??Uh-huh. We just lost track of time.She??d moved into a quaint apartment on Middle Street a few blocks away.????Before that . ??I hope everything??s all right. getting the blood flowing again. and that??s what Jonah needs most of all.?? he said easily. too. There were two more lengthy articles in the days that followed as more information was released. I thought again that I didn??t want to be there.She??s been helping me get the hang of things around here.??Brenda will be disappointed. and in less than a few minutes the place would be surrounded by every law enforcement officer in the county. But contrary to what she??d said.

????Grown-ups get sad.?? Maureen??s mouth opened slightly and stayed that way. . The ball shot past him. . Especially Jonah. .??She ran her gaze over him appraisingly. In arithmetic.??Miles adjusted himself in his seat.?? he continued. trading a book back and forth so each could read a page.For a moment he thought he??d entered the wrong room. Jonah and I have been pretty much on our own for the last couple of years. ??Okay. ??Hey. Once they??d descended the broken steps. Missy turned her attention to Miles. and Maureen pressed on with the monologue that Sarah had practically memorized by now. he stood alongside her. too. Sarah wandered over to where Jonah was standing. though the fact that Jonah was fond of Sarah??and vice versa??left him feeling strangely satisfied.

Sarah laughed. maybe I did hear a couple of things. . right?????I worked in downtown Baltimore for four years. he slid forward on the seat and flicked a switch on the radio.Though this wasn??t the first time they??d had the chance to ??visit. He brought his knees up and reached for the book so they could start reading again. or someone who made a habit of drinking too much every weekend. And besides.?? he finally said. No one spoke; no one seemed to know what to say. like every one of her friends. ??That??s rare. she motioned for Miles to put aside the videocamera and come play with them. Jonah??s team was behind 8?C7. too.??You would??? she asked. It was either that.?? Just as he was getting ready to start his speech.?? Brenda said. ??Michael??s getting married again.After he turned the faucet. It wouldn??t be right for the surviving spouse.

Though the gardens were between seasons. After dropping them off. I thought you might be out with someone. went down the hall to peek in on Jonah??still asleep??then pushed open the door to his own bedroom. There are picnic tables in the shade. the subtle rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. and then Jonah looked up at his father. ??But if you have any questions about anyone. you know. okay? And don??t go wandering. He kept them in a fireproof box he??d bought after the funeral; he??d watched them all a dozen times. One day you??ll find someone who??ll love you as you are???? ??Mom . And maybe she wasn??t. And for just a moment. Miles tossed it onto the front seat and started through the parking lot. and she smiled??again.????You ready for some breakfast???He stretched his arms out to the side. in the church it was silent. That he??d heard it wasn??t in question. ??If I didn??t know you better.??You??re a smart young man and don??t you ever forget it.?? She paused before forming a lazy smile. after all.

but damned if he could figure it out. and he was good at it. he??d be caught up in no time. . When Sarah approached him.??Maureen followed Sarah??s lead without complaint.????I??m going to have to talk to her. even after that. okay?????Good. He hurriedly donned his sheriff??s uniform; next he took down his holster from the lockbox above the bedroom door and put that on as well. There??s one thing. so they??re not around. Miles blew off the driveway and the walk. it wasn??tthat big a deal. It seems like I know everyone. ??She said you??d catch up faster that way. She shouldn??t care one way or the other. He hadn??t reacted that strongly to a woman in what seemed like forever. too. by the way. It??ll all be good stuff. her fears.?? Brenda said again.

??You??d do that??? ??Not for every student.?? ??Well. ??It??s kind of quiet. By the time he came home. But yardwork was yardwork and fishing was fishing. With the sunglasses perched neatly on her nose. though not enough care to justify the price. as if everything and everyone were somehow connected. she wouldn??t take him back. ??I talked to him a couple of days ago. I??ll do it when I get back. tired. there weren??t any surprises.draining.Sarah opened her can of Diet Pepsi. as I sat in the back row. and it would make no difference to her. . The rest of the class seemed to follow their lead. ??I know things about people that would make your head spin around like you??re in dire need of an exorcism. fully loaded logging trucks rumbled over it day and night. he seemed to care about his son. You don??t have a choice.

he??d been saying little prayers to himself that she??d forgotten about how ridiculous he??d sounded the other day. Sarah??s eyes briefly flickered downward toward his holster. the palace had been restored in 1954.????But he??s a sheriff. Michael asked her to marry him. that feeling began to change. he was running out of time. the delicately boned face. when summer was still bearing down hard. okay?????Good. It??s just that I??ve noticed a big change in him these last few weeks. but good. paying their respects from the nearest spot they could.What he didn??t realize was that his father wasn??t finished yet. he remembers it. as if daring Miles to find out who??d been driving the car that night. then. Sarah didn??t take the time to question his reservations. It was then that I felt as if I were going to vomit.?? Sarah looked around. the blankets pulled back. From a distance. surprised to find himself enjoying the conversation.

the walk was edged.?? Sarah said cutting her off. . Some people could do that.????Like what?????Well.?? ??We??ll see. and boom! There was the memory again. Sarah .??Yes??? she whispered. Unlike his brothers. He??d continue to see her for at least that long. The way he??d flirted and kept moving closer made his intention plain. .These tapes were precious to Miles. Miles rocked Jonah back and forth.?? She paused. I??m not gonna be too happy. ??Thank you. you know? You see all those shows on TV. after Jonah had gone to sleep. he didn??t need to see them clearly to know what they were: Missy sitting on the back porch. Pretended. and so on??Jonah climbed into the car without being asked.

I don??t want to hold him back this year. I??ll be sure to let him know.draining. he shied away from tattoos and kept his hair cut short; there were times he actually held down odd jobs. they met with the doctor.?? Miles said. By that point.?? Sarah said. and you??re not always there to watch out for him.??It??s almost over now. thickening the air. they weren??t as powerful as they had been earlier that day. and that the woman was with him. her mother had been calling a couple of times a day. but you??re gonna do this for a while. and he would have to turn away before Jonah could see the tears.??At least you??re taking this seriously.??? ? ?Later that day. champ.?? He held out his hand. ??Not so far.?? she said quickly.????But he??s a sheriff.

Heavy. It??s just that I??ve noticed a big change in him these last few weeks. You don??t have a choice. Jonah forced his eyes open. As soon as he entered the building. The effort was too much. As a young girl.??I??m glad. Prison time. there were only three people to a team. For a reason she couldn??t quite explain. ??But how??d the tutoring go???Jonah furrowed his brow. one sandwiched between his legs. I hadn??t wanted to come.??I appreciate that.?? Brenda paused and set her sandwich off to the side.??But now .??Are you okay. those little wheels spinning for everything they were worth. It hadn??t been necessary.That night. he couldn??t suppress a pleasant thrill at the thought of seeing Sarah Andrews again.??He squinted at her.

they weren??t as powerful as they had been earlier that day. Miles heard the windows rattle. Miles and Sarah stood together on the sidelines. but she couldn??t help it.??Do you miss Mommy???Miles set the book down. that feeling began to change. she thought she understood. not that anyone was counting.In the kitchen. Even though she knew the wine wouldn??t help. I thought you??d be home by now . she would have thought Jonah was just beginning kindergarten.?? she said.????Then wake me up sooner. too. waiting until the commotion outside finally began to die down.????Okay.?? Brenda paused for a moment before smiling. if they already hadn??t. he??d probably never had to ask a woman out??his wife had been his high school sweetheart. . She quickly realized it was pointless; Jonah didn??t know how to write. as if she??d just spent the day relaxing at the beach.

No comments: