TW (aka The Writer) shook himself awake. The clock above the TV read 7 a.m. The doorbell rang a second time. More insistent than the first time.
“Alright, alright,” he called out and pulled himself out of his comfy chair. Who could be ringing my doorbell this early in the morning?
A dog barked. It sounded like the bark came from down the street.
He opened the front door. There was no one there. That’s strange.
His eyes searched the street and the neighbors’ yards. There wasn’t a motion anywhere. Except for a neighbor walking his cocker spaniel.
A silver Lexus pulled up into his driveway and stopped. The door opened and Helen stood up. As he watched her walk toward him, he realized how attractive she was. Not stunning but attractive. She’d put on a few extra pounds the way some women do after they’ve had children, but not that many.
Her hair had turned gray from the dark brown when they had first dated. But it was the smile she always wore that had made him want to date her. She wore that smile, and she was asking him to breakfast.
“I’d like that. Give me a few minutes.”
She followed him into the house.
On the way to the neighborhood diner, they discussed the weather and how the vet hospital was doing.
As she parked her car, she asked, “How’s your writing going?”
He stepped out of the car and said, “I’m still searching for a subject.”
They ordered their eggs and coffee, then Helen asked, “How are you doing?” Her green eyes were warm and concerned.
“I buried Cat last night, then I fell asleep in a chair. I can’t get over it. She’s gone, and life has to go on.”
“I was worried about you after you left. Some people take the loss of a pet hard. But I haven’t seen any take the death as hard as you have.”
“I’ll be okay.”
The waitress brought their food.
After she was gone, TW asked, “Did you see anyone leaving my house? When you drove up the street?”
“Can’t say that I did.” Helen took a bite of her egg.
“That’s weird.” TW sipped his coffee.
She finished chewing. “Weird?”
“Just before you drove up, someone rang my doorbell. When I answered the door, they were gone.”
“Are you sure you weren’t imagining things?” She dipped a slice of her toast into her coffee. “Or dreaming it?”
“That was what I thought at first. But no. When the bell rang again, I was wide awake. Darnedest thing.”
As the waitress refilled his coffee, TW could feel that he was getting nervous. But then he decided to go ahead with what was on his mind. “So you and Frank are getting a divorce.”
“Got a divorce. It’s over between us. Sonny’s death was just the last straw. He’d been having an affair. I knew it but I kept hoping. When Sonny died, Frank went crazy. So much so that I couldn’t deal with it. I have the girls to take of care. I don’t need another child.”
TW reached over and put his hand over hers. “I’m sorry.”
“Thanks. I haven’t gotten over Sonny’s death. That’s going to take a long long time. If ever. Me and the girls are starting to pick up the pieces and move on.”
She turned her palm upward, and he squeezed her hand.
TW’s words finally came out. “Would you like to go out sometime?”
She took back her hand and asked, “Have you let Sylvia go?”