“Yes, mom, I’m perfectly fine. I told you- my client took me to the clinic and it’s just a mild concussion. No worse than what the football players get at the games and they all still play football. I think I’ll be fine to shovel my walk. Don’t send Dad.”
“Well, what about Parker? I’m sure he would shovel your walk for you,” she replied. Obviously she hadn’t paid any attention to my football player explanation.
“No, mom, and please, please, don’t call him again.” I paused, not really sure how to tell her that I dumped him. She would take it harder than he did. I settled for the Friends version, “Parker and I are on a break.”
“Oh, honey, are you okay? Why? What happened?” I could hear her voice dripping in sympathy but it made me wonder if she was intentionally laying it on thick. Was I the last person to realize Parker and I weren’t meant for each other?
“It’s okay, mom. We just want different things.”
“Well, I was never sure about the whole vegetarian thing; so unnatural. That’s too bad,” she continued. The she lowered her voice the way she does when she has a juicy piece of gossip, “You know, my sister called me this morning from the hardware store and said that your client was in and bought a shovel to help dig out the town. Apparently he started his shoveling at the realty office. What’s he like?”
And, here we go. No way was I going to tell her about our encounter on the floor of the Logan house- it would be all over town faster than you could blink.
“Um, he’s a fireman and he just moved here from Columbus and he really liked the Logan house. In fact he’s probably shoveling out the office so he can put in an official offer.”
She a small hmm and then said, “Maybe he would shovel your walk for you-“
“No way, mom. I’m fine. Really. Don’t send Dad and for goodness sake do not call my client or Parker to shovel me out. If I really want help I’ll call Jack, he’s just around the corner. No need to send Dad out in four feet of snow when you’re ten miles out of town.”
“Oh, I suppose, honey. You be careful. I worry about you in town all by yourself.”
I know she just worried about me so I let it go.
“I know, but seriously, don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere today so it’s not a big deal if my front walk isn’t shoveled. Okay?”
Then I remembered the letter. I explained it to her and asked if she knew of couples named Danny and Beth.
“No, not a Danny and Beth. There’s a Billy and Bethany over in the Bloomwood Estates, but they’re married and have probably twenty kids, the way she pops them out.”
I remembered hearing about them. The Bloomwood Estates was the only town trailer park. Billy and Bethany were three years ahead of me in high school. He got her preggo their junior year, got married immediately, moved in with her mama and had two more babies by the time I graduated. They’re doing pretty alright for themselves now, though. They have their own trailer next door to her mama and three more kids. They seem very happy.
“I’m pretty sure it’s not them, ma. Well, if your hear anything let me know.”
“I will, you can be sure of that. I love you.”
“Love you, too.”
We hung up and I flopped down on the bed, exhausted. The headache, then Parker, then my mother: at least I got mom out of the way. Hopefully Parker won’t come knocking again. Maybe Tom will…
No! I cannot allow that thought to finish. It’s time for a nap and to clear my head. It was only ten thirty, but it felt like evening. I walked to the bathroom from my bedroom, downed three aspirin with some water from the tap and headed back to my room. That’s when the doorbell rang.
“You have got to be kidding me!”
I ran to the front door ready to strangle whoever it was so I could have a few hours of peace. It was probably Jack or Tiffi, hopefully not Parker. I paused a second in front of the mirror on the wall perpendicular to the front door, just in case it was… never mind.
I opened the door to a young guy in his early twenties. He was only a couple of inches taller than me and pretty stocky, and he wore a thin coat and no hat, but he had enough bushy blonde hair on his head to make up for it. He also had a shovel in his hand.
“Hi, mam. I was wondering if you needed your walk shoveled.”
I looked at him carefully. “Did my mother send you?”
“Uh, no, mam. I was just walkin’ through the neighborhood lookin’ for people who need shoveled.”
“Oh, well, okay. How much?”
“Really? That’s a little steep don’t you think? How about ten? It’s a pretty short walk.”
“Oh, I do the front sidewalk, too.”
I thought for a moment. He looked about college age and it was Spring Break. He probably really needed the money.
“Okay, then. Let me get my purse.” I left the door ajar and went to get my purse. I rummaged through my wallet to find enough money to give him when I noticed the bank envelope. The gas mistake seemed like a one time thing and I already got my money back. No need to give myself another headache when I’ve already balanced the past months anyway. I tossed the envelope into the pile of papers I need to take to the office to shred and turned around to go back to the front door and smacked straight into the man.
“Sorry, sorry. It’s pretty cold outside. I hope you don’t mind I stepped in a minute to get warm,” he said looking sheepish. He back away and stepped out the open front door.
“Uh, no problem. My fault. I should have asked you in. Well, here’s the money.”
I handed him the ten and ten ones I scrounged from my purse and he looked at it confusingly for second, and then flashed a wide smile.
“Thanks a bunch, mam.”
“No, thank you. You’re saving my mom a big headache thinking I’m snowed in.” Then I added, “Keep warm,” before I shut the door, locking it.
I scrambled upstairs, Nomad and dingy hot on my heels and we all jumped into the bed, falling asleep to the sound of metal scraping concrete and thoughts of grey eyes and silky lips.