CST #298: Lost dogs & Long Walks

lost dog

Mac finished the room, Max ran away, Katherine rages about the house. We review Hot Fuzz and Sam asks some really big questions.

Blogs:

https://michaeltoy.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/mad-max-is-the-most-theologically-important-exodus-narrative-in-film/

Movies & TV:

Hot Fuzz

Nature’s Weirdest Events

Avengers Age of Ultron

Podcasts & Audiobooks:

Catholic Stuff You Should Know

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Golden Son by Pierce Brown

NPR:

Story Corp.

First Listen

Video Games:

Wolfenstein (PS4)

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

CST #297: Lindelofian Frustrations

Tomorrowland

As Mac finishes school, he picks up a hammer and a nail, we review Tomorrowland, and Katherine admits to watching something she’s not proud of.

Movies & TV:

Tomorrowland

Daredevil

Girls

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

CST #296: “Gonzo” is the New “Trope”

mad-max-fury-road-news-wallpaper

Mac & Ben go backpacking amid craziness at home, we review Mad Max moments after leaving the theater, and we come up with a brand new type of marriage preparation.

TV & Movies:

Chasing Life

Mad Max Fury Road

Granite Flats

CST #295: Summer Movie Anticipation

summer movies

We go back to Mac’s home town for Mother’s Day, geocaching with the boys, Katherine LOVES disaster movies, we look forward to summer movies, and we tackle a range of Catholic stuff.

Movies & TV:

2012

Mad Max Fury Road

Tomorrowland

Poltergeist

San Andreas

Jurassic World

Terminator

Fantastic 4

Websites:

http://www.saintnook.com

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

On Mother’s Day…

So, Mother’s Day holds mixed feelings for me these days. As my child would say, “It’s complicated.”

On May 9th, 1997, my parents left town for the weekend to get away from life for a bit. They traveled down to St. Simons Island and left me in charge. I was 20 years old. My five siblings were all younger, 18, 15, 12, 11 and 5. My 18 year old brother, Wilder, was headed to the prom that Friday. He came by the house before he and his friends left, full of excitement and swagger, ready for the fun ahead.

The next morning he came by again to drop off his tux, so I could return it for him. He said good-bye as he left for the beach at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Just another prom beach trip. Sometime late that night (or early in the morning), the phone woke me. Croaking a bit, I answered.

“Hello?”

“Is Mr. Henry Smith available?”

“Huh?” I asked, not really awake.

“Is Mr. Henry Smith there?”

“Who is this?”

Then another voice came on the line, one I recognized.

“Katherine, this is Anna Kate. This nurse needs to talk to you.”

“Okay.”

The first voice spoke again. “This is a nurse at Hilton Head hospital. Can you get in touch with your parents?”

After getting off the phone, I woke one of my sisters.

“Some hospital just called and said that Wilder’s on a ventilator. Should I call mom and dad?”

I was now realizing that it was four o’clock in the morning, but I still wasn’t getting that what was happening was bad. Very bad.

“Yea. I think you should call them,” Barbara Jean said.

This was before everyone had cell phones. My parents were staying at a retreat center and could only be reached after going through a night guard. I got my dad on the line and gave him the number of the hospital.

Not long after that, my dad called back.

“Call all the aunts and uncles,” he said. “It’s bad. Mom and I are headed to Hilton Head.”

About an hour later we were all up. My Aunt Ginny, who lived next door and whose daughter, Anna Kate, was the same age as Wilder and was at Hilton Head with him, came over to ask if we were going to the hospital.

“We weren’t. Do you think we should?”

“I do.”

So we went. And Wilder was on a ventilator. He was very sick. At the time, we weren’t really sure what had happened. We know now that he had an asthma attack. An asthma attack. One of those “situations” that Wilder had been having forever. Something that was dealt with by sucking on an inhaler, or getting a shot. Not something that could do this.

My parents made the decision to move him to a bigger hospital closer to home. A helicopter came and got him. We got on the road to make the 3 hour drive to Augusta, Georgia.

My sister BJ, my cousin Richard and I were in my car. We got to the hospital before my parents and other two sisters. We walked into the waiting room of the ER at the Medical College of Georgia, the three of us, and saw my Uncle Mason walking towards us. He was shaking his head.

And I knew.

Wilder hadn’t made it. He died in the air.

It was May 11th, 1997. Mother’s Day.

So Mother’s Day after that was bitter. For my mom. Her own mom died in 1985. And now, Mother’s Day was a reminder that as a mother, she was incomplete. It was the anniversary of the day one of her children left before she did.

And now, she’s gone too. Taken too soon by breast cancer in 2012.

It’s Mother’s Day. And my mother is gone. But that doesn’t make me sad. Mother’s Day, 2012, was the first of these Sundays in 15 years that my mother didn’t have to be sad on Mother’s Day. For the first time since the day my brother never came down from the air, she was with him.

CST #294: Bear Cop

bear cop

The Barrons are in a parade, Mac has a birthday, we review the new Avengers movie, and we revel in how frustrated Jesus must have been with those dim disciples.

Movies:

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

Chapter Six: A Decision (Part Two)

Unknown

A few days later, Sara was washing dishes after work when the phone rang.

“Hello,” Sara said.

“Sara?”

“Yes, this is she.”

“It’s James.”

“Oh, James.  How are you?”  Sara felt her heart beat faster.  Here was her answer.  Would she get to stay in her house?

“I got the job.  I start on Monday.”  He sounded excited.

“That’s wonderful!  And you still want to live here?”  Please say yes!

“Yea, that’s why I was calling.  Hoping my room was still available.”

“When do you think you’ll want to move in?” Sara said in a rush.

She heard James chuckle.  “I’ll probably come on Sunday with my bed and clothes, if that’s okay.  My uncle doesn’t work on Sundays so should be able to give me a hand loading.  Do you know any guys around there who could help me unload?”

“Yeah, I have some friends who live down the street.  Mark is the guy’s name.  And Bill Newman lives directly across the street.  I’ll ask them both tomorrow.”

“That would be great,” James answered.  “I mean, I could move it all myself, being so strong and manly, but I like to give the little people a chance to do a good deed, for their sakes.”

“You are a king among men, James Overman.” Sara meant it, even if her tone was playful. “I’ll see you Sunday.”

“Til, Sunday, Sara Carraway.”

The next day after work, Sara walked to the Newman’s house across the street and knocked on the door.  Miss Jane answered.

“Sara, dear.  It’s so good to see you.  Come in, come in.”  Miss Jane was always so upbeat.  “Bill, Sara’s here,” she called to her husband, who must be somewhere in the back of the house.

“Thank you,” Sara said as she walked into the tastefully furnished two-story home.  The decor gave the impression of being sort of stuck two decades ago.  But Jane and Bill were completely sweet and sincere.  They had retired a few years ago and had four kids and lots of grandkids who all lived within four hours of Savannah.  They were really too busy to redecorate.  After eating dinner here last week, Sara felt a little more at home.

“Come on back to the kitchen,” Jane said. “I was just making a cake to take to a friend of mine who’s sick.”

The kitchen smelled divine.  There was a lemon scent in the air and flour and egg shells littered the counter top around a very used mixer.

“Wow,” Sara commented. “Whatever that is, it smells wonderful.”

“It’s a shame, I know, but I am a one-trick pony.  I make this lemon custard cake that my mother taught me to make when I was a girl.  It’s good and I know how to put it together in a hurry, so I try to always keep the ingredients on hand.”  Jane went over to the oven and peeked inside.  “You know, this is almost ready.  Would you like to have a piece?”

“Oh, I couldn’t take your friend’s cake.  You made it for her.”

“Did someone say cake?”  Bill Newman pushed the swinging kitchen door open and walked into the room.  He was average height and weight, with thinning pepper gray hair.  He headed straight for the oven and leaned over to take a look.  Jane was next to him when he stood up and he put an arm around her and leaned in for a quick kiss on the lips.

Bill turned to Sara, “She makes this cake all the time and I never get any of it.  She’s always sending it to other people’s houses.  Please say you want a piece.  Then I can actually have some.”

“Then, yes.  I would love some. But just for you.”  Sara smiled at Bill, who still had an arm around his wife.

They all sat around the kitchen table and chatted about work and home and grandchildren.  In about ten minutes the cake was ready to eat.  Jane sent Bill and Sara to the den, and she followed with cake and milk for everyone on a tray.

Sara picked up her fork and took a bite of cake.  The tartness of lemon was just enough to keep the sugary cake from being too sweet.  It was really quite a wonderful taste.

“Miss Jane, this is wonderful,” Sara said around her bite.

“Thank you,” Jane said, smiling.  “What do you think, Bill?”

“Mmmmm,” was all Bill could get out as his mouth was completely full.

After a swallow of ice cold whole milk, something Sara hadn’t had since grade school, she was ready to tell this wonderful couple about James.

“So, I wanted to tell you something.  I’ve made a decision and I didn’t want you to think bad of me.  I felt like things would look bad and I like you two so much so I wanted to tell you before you had a chance to think the wrong thing.”  The run on sentence came out in one breath and Sara had to pause before she could continue.

“Sweetie, please.  You’re shaking.  Don’t be nervous.  I’m sure whatever it is we will understand.”  Miss Jane was the picture of a concerned mother.  Sara wanted to cry at the emotions that continued to be a problem for her.

“Thank you.  I didn’t expect to feel so shaky about this.  I – William, he didn’t – he didn’t leave any life insurance.  And he made most of our money, so without his salary I can’t afford to keep the house.”

“Oh no.  You’re going to have to sell?”

“Well, that’s what I thought, but then I realized that I could take on a roommate.  If I did then I could afford to stay because I don’t want to move.  And, surprisingly, I found someone.”

“Wonderful!  Who is she, my dear?”

“That’s just the thing, it’s a he.”

“Oh.”  Miss Jane looked questioningly at Sara.  Then turned to Bill with a concerned look.  “Is this young man someone that you know?”

“Sort of.  I met him in Oden, where William grew up.  He worked for the funeral home there.  Just part-time.  His family owns it and he was working during William’s funeral.  There’s nothing between us.  I didn’t want you to think that, but he’s a really honorable guy.  That’s not a word people use very often today, but it’s the best word to describe him.  He’s honorable.”  Sara had been thinking about James as she described him.  His image came to her mind and she realized that she was excited at the thought of him coming back.  She was going to be very glad to see him.  She looked at Jane and Bill.  They were looking at each other.

It’s like they can read each others thoughts, Sara thought to herself.  They are looking at each other as if they are talking.  That must be so great.

Bill spoke first.  “If you trust him, then we will, too.  But I hope that you will allow us to meet him and to give you our opinion.  We don’t want to be your parents, but after four kids and countless teenage friends, we have developed a sense of people’s intentions.”

“And please know, my dear,” Jane said, picking up where Bill left off.  “That if you ever need us for any reason, or if you ever feel that you have changed your mind and need anyone to stand up to him with you, we are always on your side.”

“Thank you.  I really appreciate that.  James Overman is his name and he will be moving in this weekend.  Maybe when he gets here with his stuff you could help him move in and that way you could get to meet him?”

“I think that’s a wonderful idea.  Bill can help move furniture and I can provide the lemonade,”  Jane said with an easy smile, the nervous tension that had been like a knot inside Sara loosening with every minute.  “In fact, how about you invite Christine and Mark as well and we women can each bring a bit of food and have dinner after the men unload everything.  That way he gets to know us and we get to know him.  For some people, just knowing that a person has friends and neighbors looking out for them, keeps them in line.”

“I agree,” said Bill.  “You are so smart,” he said leaning over and squeezing Jane’s knee.

“It must be from living with you for forty years,” she replied smiling and squeezing his knee in return.

Sara was relieved and jealous all at the same time.  Oh, baby, I miss you so.  We weren’t like these two but we were getting there.  We could have gotten there.

She stood up realizing how late it had gotten.  “I should go.  I need to go to the store and I like to take a walk before it gets dark.  I spend all my time at work sitting behind a desk so it’s nice to get over to Daffin Park and walk the track.”

“Well, try not to get eaten by the mosquitos.  Those fountains are beautiful, but the water attracts mosquitos like bees to honey.”  They all stood up and headed for the front door.

“Thanks again for the cake and the advice.  I’ll pop over on Sunday and let you know when James gets here.”

“We go to the nine am Mass at Blessed Sacrament, and have brunch with some folks afterwards, but we should be available after one or so.  Wouldn’t you say, Bill?”

“Yes, I’ll be in my moving clothes by one.  No problem.”

Sara was down their front steps now and turned around to wave good-bye.  But they were already linked arm in arm and headed back inside, two lovers who had managed to stay together for forty years.  Sara missed William more than ever as she walked back to her house, alone.

Copyright © 2015 · All Rights Reserved · Katherine Barron

CST #293: The Good Shepard

good-shepherd-2

Mac builds a shed and a float, we watch more Bloodline and are able to see it through the lens of the gospel reading about the good shepard.

Movies & TV:

Parks & Rec

Bloodline

Audiobooks:

The Goldfinch

Red Rising

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

Chapter Six: A Decision (Part One)

Unknown

At eight a.m. the next morning, Sara sat down at the breakfast table and had her toast and coffee.  She was going to go back to work for the first time since she left the office to go to the hospital and find out her husband was dead.  She knew that people would want to be consoling.  They would want to give her hugs and tell her how sorry they were and she was really trying to mentally prepare for this.  She wanted to get to a place where she wouldn’t break down and cry every time someone who didn’t know her husband at all told her how sorry they were that he was dead.

“It’s okay, Sara,” she said out loud to herself.  “You will get through this.  You will.”

Two hours later she thought that she was going to hyperventilate.  It had taken her thirty minutes just to get from the parking lot to her desk.  The hugs and arm-pats had started at her car and did not stop.  At one point she went to the bathroom just to get away from the people stopping by her desk.  They were all so nice, but if they didn’t stop being sorry she was going to scream.

At ten-fifteen she knocked on Mr. Hart’s door.

“Sir?”

“Yes, Sara.  Come in, come in,” Mr. Hart beckoned in his usual good-natured tone.  “What is it, my dear?”

“I need a little air.  I’m just going to step around the corner to the coffee shop.  Linda will be taking your calls for me while I’m out.  Can I get you anything before I go?  Or while I’m there?”

“No, no.  I have everything I need.  The Petersons are coming in at eleven to do their closing on that vacation home they are buying.  Do you think you can be here for that?  They like you so much, I think that it will be good if you were here.”

“Oh, yes, I’ll be back before then.  This will just be a quick break.”  Sara backed out and closed the door behind her, heading straight for the back entrance so that she could hopefully avoid anymore hugs.

Once Sara stepped outside she felt immediately better.  Though the sun beat down and the September heat was already in full force, her breathing and heart rate had slowed to normal levels.  The coffee shop was just around the corner and she headed straight there.

There was a twinkling sound from an old bell above the door when Sara stepped inside.  This was one of her favorite places in Savannah.  The atmosphere was warm and inviting, with couches and overstuffed chairs situated on a small loft with a low ceiling.  It had all the prerequisites for a coffee shop – dark painted walls, a collection of magazines and old books, and wi-fi.  She walked up to the counter and ordered an iced decaf latte.  Even though she wasn’t giving up caffeine altogether, she was still trying to keep the stimulant to a minimum.  She went over to one of the small couches and picked up a magazine while waiting for her order.

She had only been there for a few moments when she felt a presence standing over her.   She looked up.

“Mrs. Carraway,” James Overman said, looking at her and smiling.

“Oh my goodness!  Mr. Overman.  What in the world are you doing here?”  She caught herself, realizing how she must have sounded.  “I mean, not that you shouldn’t be here.  It’s a free country and all.  I guess I mean, what brings you here?”

James continued to smile.  “Please call me James.”

“And I’m Sara.”

“Okay then, Sara.  Well,” he explained. “I’m actually here in town for a job interview.”

“Oh,” Sara said, puzzled.  “But I thought you worked for the mortuary back in Oden.”

“No, I was in between jobs, and had moved back home for a time waiting to find something else.  I actually have a degree in Computer Engineering from Tech.  SCAD has an opening for an IT job.  I interviewed just around the corner.  I need to go for a second interview with another person after lunch, but saw this coffee shop and decided to pass the time in here.  I have some work I can get done on my laptop.  And I need to look for a place to live.  Thought I would check out the rental paper.”

Did he really just say he needed a place to live?  Sara thought, a wild hope building inside her.  Was it possible?  She barely knew this man.  But he knew her secret, and he was someone she could trust.  She wasn’t sure how she knew this, but she did.

“When will you find out about the job?”

“Actually, the guy I interviewed with this morning said that as far as he could tell I was the most qualified applicant.  I’m sure I’ll have to wait a few days to find out.”

A girl at the counter called out “Betty Boop, order up.”

Sara started to get up.  “That’s me.”

“Betty Boop?” he asked, one eyebrow cocked.

“It’s just a name,” she said, smiling.

James motioned for her to sit down.

“I’ll get it for you.  Will you watch my bag?”

“Sure.  Thanks.”  James walked down the stairs to the counter.  Sara didn’t know how to proceed.  Should she just ask him?  What would it hurt?  He knew all there was to know about the toughest parts of her life.  Why not share the current situation with him?  He could always say no.

James had returned with both of their coffee cups.  He sat hers on the table in front of her and sat across from her in one of the easy chairs.  They were the only two people up there in the nook.  Sara sat up and took a sip of her coffee.

James looked at her. “So, how are things, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Okay, I guess.  I started back at work this morning.  Everyone is too nice.  Too sympathetic.  I  know they mean well, but how can I get on with my life if no one lets me forget that he’s gone.”  Sara stopped, closed her mouth and looked at James in embarassment.  For some unknown reason she felt completely at ease with this relative stranger.

“Well, like you said, they mean well.  I guess there’s no way around it.  Not for the first few days anyway.”  He looked down at his coffee.  “Have you told anyone else about your…ah…other problem?”

“No.  I left Oden after the burial on Wednesday.  There wasn’t any time to tell Eve.  That’s my sister.”

“Yea,” he replied. “I remember her.”

And I have some friends here, but no one I feel close enough to spill this to.”  She looked at him with a sheepish grin.  “I mean – I didn’t mean to tell you.  But now that you know, it feels okay to talk to you about it.  I hope that’s okay.”

“I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t care.  Honestly.  If there’s ever anything I can do, you only have to ask.”

He didn’t mean it like that, Sara thought.  Don’t even think it!

But it was too late.  There was no way that she could survive without a roommate and here was one hand-delivered to her, as if in answer to a prayer.

“Well, now that you mention it…”  Sara looked over at James who was staring back, that eyebrow up again in a questioning expression.

“Yes?” James asked.

“You say you need a place to live.  Well, I need someone to live with me.”

The statement just sat there between them for a moment.  Sara didn’t know if James was going to bolt or what.

“Wow.  Do you mind me asking why?”

Sara felt like she wanted to sink into the floor.  What was she thinking?

“Yeah, sure.  I…William didn’t leave any life insurance.  And on my salary alone, I can’t afford my bills.  I’m going to lose the house unless I can get someone to live with me, or sell the house.  But I would only have a few months to sell the house.  The money will run out after that.”  Sara felt the tears come to her eyes at the thought of having to move right now.  “And I can’t.  I can’t leave that house right now.  I need time to let go of him.”  And then she couldn’t say anymore without breaking down.  So she didn’t.

How did I get here?  James thought to himself, as Sara finished her plea and looked away from him to compose herself.  The job at SCAD had just come open last week.  He actually had already applied online when he met Sara at the funeral home, so he couldn’t claim to be in Savannah in hopes of meeting her.

And then there she had been, just sitting in the chair looking just as beautiful and sad as she did last week. After he helped her to bury her husband and she drove away from the cemetary, he couldn’t stop thinking about her.  Driving down to Savannah today, he had played their moments together over and over again, wondering what she was going to do about her pregnancy.  He almost left the coffee shop when he saw her because it seemed too unreal to even be possible.  Yet here she was and she was asking him to move in with her.

But worst of all was that she was asking him to help her.  There was no way that he could deny help to this woman.  The request she made must have cost her a lot, considering that her husband had only been dead two weeks, and that she was pregnant.  He had stepped right into this mess and he was going to have to live in it.  He looked up from his thoughts when he realized that she was getting up to leave.

“Hey, where are you going?”

“Look, I shouldn’t have even asked.  I don’t know why I did.  Please don’t feel obligated to say yes.  It’s terrible of me to put you in this position.”  Sara put out her hand to James who stood up when she did and blocked her way down the stairs.

“Sara, please wait.  You just surprised me that’s all.  I needed a minute to think.  Can I ask a couple of questions about the house?”

She looked up at him now.  She had forgotten how tall he was compared to her.

“Sure.  Yes.  Of, course.”

“So – where is your house?”

“Oh, um, it’s in Ardsley Park, about 10 minutes uptown from here.”

“Would I have my own bathroom?”

“Yes.  There are two bathrooms.  One is attached to the master bedroom, and the other is off of a hallway.”

“Can I see the house before I say yes?”

Sara hadn’t even considered that he might want to see the house first.  It was a perfectly reasonable request.  “Oh, well, sure.  Would you want to see it at lunch, or could you wait until after five?  I get off at five and could meet you there at five-thirty?”

This was all happening so fast, but if he said yes, Sara would have a huge weight lifted from her shoulders.

“Okay, what’s the address?”

Sara bent down to the table in front of her and wrote down her address.  She handed the paper to James.

“Here you go.  So you’ll consider it?” James felt his ability to say no melt when he looked at her.  He was her knight in shining armor again.

“Sure, sure.  I’ll see you at five-thirty.”

“Okay, five-thirty.”  They shook hands.

Sara spent the rest of Monday trying to avoid her co-workers.  Luckily, the vacation home closing involving the Petersons took longer than expected requiring her to be behind closed doors in a conference room, or on the phone for Mr. Hart most of the afternoon.  When the closing was all wrapped up at four-thirty, Mr. Hart told Sara to go on home.

“Are you sure, sir?  I can stay.  I’m okay if you need me to finish anything up for you.”

“No, no, Sara.  That was enough work for me, as well.  I hate when things aren’t in order.  That seller really made us work for our fee today, and I’m ready to go home.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

Now she was at home and had an hour to wait for James to come and see the house.  She was so busy through the day, that she didn’t really have time to think of the implications of what she had asked.  She had asked a man to come and live with her only two weeks after her husband had died.  What were people going to think?  Especially when her belly began to grow.

Well, I can worry about what people will think, or whether or not I have a place to live, Sara thought, her decision now firm in her mind.  I think that a place to live is more important.  I’ll just have to explain to Christine and Miss Jane.  Surely, they’ll understand.  Eve and Miss Emily shouldn’t find out anyway, so I won’t worry about them right now.

Sara looked around her living and dining room.  The boxes of William’s things were still stacked around the room and other than look through files and pack, she hadn’t done much else through the weekend.  The whole place really was a mess.

She started in the kitchen and worked her way through the house wiping down counters and tables, and picking up clutter.  The boxes she couldn’t do much about right now and the second bedroom had worked as William’s office.  His drafting desk and equipment were still out as Sara had been reluctant to part with them.  She could still see him in there late at night, bent over his desk, drawing and erasing.  But if James was going to sleep in that room, all of those things would have to find another home.

By the time, she had straightened both bathrooms, it was five-thirty and she just had time to glance in the mirror and decide not to worry about her late-in-the-day make-up or her sad mousey hair before the door bell rang.

Well, here we go, she thought before walking to the door.

James pulled up in front of the small Craftsman style house right at five-thirty.  He had actually driven by the house a few times.  After he left Sara in the coffee shop he didn’t have anywhere else to be for a couple of hours so he decided to go ahead and find the house early.  It was a one-story clapboard home, painted white with green trim and a green front door.  There was a swing on the front porch and plenty of flowers in pots on the steps and in the beds out front.  Sara and William must have fallen in love with it right off.  It was a great house.

James parked by the street and stepped out into the humidity.  He walked slowly up the sidewalk and front steps.  He rang the doorbell once and then turned around and faced the street, getting a feel for what it would be like to call this place home.

“Hi.”  James turned around at the sound of Sara’s voice behind him.

“Hello, again.”  He motioned to the house.  “I found it.”

“So I see.  Won’t you come in?”  Sara sounded nervous.

“Thanks.  You have a beautiful home,” James said as he walked into the dark gray living room with natural stained trim and what looked like a working fireplace.  The room was connected to a dining room by a pair of french doors.

“It’s a mess, I know.  Sorry about that.”  Sara looked around realizing how the clutter must seem to an outsider.

“No worries.  You should have seen the apartment I lived in up in Decatur.  What a mess!  At least your place smells good.”

Sara looked at James.  Was this guy for real?  Could her luck be so great as to have found the one guy in the whole world who put her at ease, no matter what?

“Ok…well…”  Sara trailed off as she tried to think of what to say.

“And this is the living room, I suppose?”

“Yes, of course, this is the living room,” Sara said, putting her face in her hands. “And this is a couch.  And over here is a television.  The rest of the obvious tour is through these doors.”

As Sara showed him the rest of the house, James was surprised at how perfect this seemed.  He did need a place to live.  It would be nice to live in a house in a great part of town instead of a generic apartment complex.  The house was great, there was no need to put down deposits for a lot of utilities and it was nice to be needed.

When the tour was complete and they were back in the living room, Sara said “Well, what do you think?”

“How much would the rent be?”

“I was thinking six hundred plus utilities?  Is that too much?”

James was sure the mortgage had to be more.

“Is that enough?  I mean, there’s no point in me living here if I’m not actually helping you out enough for you to be able to keep the house.”

Sara looked sheepish. “Well, actually half of the mortgage would be seven fifty a month.  But I just thought that might be too much to live in a house.  You could probably rent an apartment for less.”

“Not to shoot myself in the foot, but apartments in this area start at around seven to eight hundred dollars.  So I would be fine with seven fifty.  Would you be expecting any sort of deposit?”

“No.  I trust you.  I mean, if I didn’t trust you I certainly wouldn’t be asking you to live with me.  Do you want to sign a lease or anything?”

“Not unless you want me to.  I trust you as well.  And that way, if you decide to put the house on the market and it sells then you won’t have to worry about a lease that you have obligated yourself to.  Will you be trying to sell?”

“I think I will.  I mean, I can’t imagine that you would want to live here with me and a screaming newborn.”

James hadn’t really thought about that.

“Well, I guess that’s true.  It would be weird.”  James laughed.  “I’ve never been around a baby before.  Especially not a newborn.  So if you need any help getting things ready to sell, just let me know.”

“So you’ll stay?”

Just at that moment, James cell phone rang.  He pulled it out, looked at the number and turned to Sara.  “It’s the job.  I need to take this.”

“Sure, I’ll just go into the kitchen.”

Sara pulled out a couple of glasses and filled them with lemonade from the fridge.  By the time she was done, James had come into the kitchen as well.

“So?” she asked.

“That was the first person I interviewed with,” James said with a smile. “He just wanted to let me know his boss really liked me.  My resume looks good, but they want to follow up on my references.”

“But you don’t know yet.”

“No, but he said I should know by Friday at the latest.”  James rubbed his temple.  “Can I let you know about the place when I know about the job?”

“Of course.  I wouldn’t want you to commit if you didn’t even know if you had a job.”  Sara felt a little let down by the uncertainty.  The shaky feeling that she’d had all weekend returned.

“I need to um, you know…” James stammered, as he pointed in the direction of the bathroom.

“Oh my god, of course.  I’ll take these to the porch.”  Sara held up both glasses of lemonade, as James made his way towards the hallway.

After a minute or so, James joined Sara on the porch.  She handed him his glass as he sat down beside her on the top step.  They sat silent for a moment, the shadows lengthening on the tree-lined street.

“So, I’m pretty hungry right now,” Sara said, looking straight ahead.

“As am I,” James replied, sipping on his glass of lemonade.

“Order in or go out?” Sara asked.

“Well, what kind of food do you like?”

“I like just about anything,” Sara said. “But any day of the week, there’s nothing I like better than sushi.  I know a great little place on Habersham if you want.  Of course, you have to drive back to Oden tonight, don’t you?”

“Yeah – but I can’t go hungry, and I love sushi.  If we go now, we’ll be done by nine and I can be home before midnight.”

“Okay.”  Sara got up from the steps.  “Let me go and brush my hair and we can head on.  The restaurant is just a few blocks from here.  We could walk, but I think we would melt before we got there.”

Sara walked inside.  As the screen door closed behind him, James stretched out his legs and leaned back on his elbows, looking up at the trees and the sky.  Very few cars had driven by since he and Sara sat down.  People were out and about walking their dogs and pushing strollers.  He could see a few other people sitting out on porches or working in their front gardens.  Dogwood trees lined the street on both sides, creating shade and a great aesthetic.

I bet those trees are amazing in the spring he thought, imagining the white blossoms.  And he could pick out azaleas and hydrangeas in many of the yards.  Don’t get too comfortable, James Overman, he said to himself.

Just then Sara came out of the house.  She had changed into another one of those light cotton dresses that she had worn when she was burying her husband.  She had pulled her hair back into a ponytail and had done something to her face.  She looked fresh and vibrant and quite beautiful.

“Well, let’s go then,” Sara said, swinging her keys.  “I’ll drive.”

“Yes, ma’am,” James answered, as he followed her down the sidewalk.

Copyright © 2015 · All Rights Reserved · Katherine Barron

Chapter Five: A Mistake (Part Two)

Unknown

Sara was walking through Forsyth Park.  There was the playground on her left, the swings moving back and forth.  “Where are the kids?” Sara wondered, still walking.  The old fort was on her right, the tables out back strangely empty.  “That’s weird,” Sara said out loud, her voice sounding far-off, like an echo.  The fountain, which was far away a moment ago was now right in front of her and she found that she was holding on to the iron railing though she had no memory of getting here.

“Sara.”  A whisper.  A breath.

“Sara.”

Where is that voice coming from? Sara thought. There was no one here.  No one at all, which was very strange indeed.

“Sara, dear.”

Sara opened her eyes to a sunset world and Miss Jane, leaning in the car window, rubbing her arm.

“Sara, how long have you been out here?” Miss Jane asked, a look of concern in her eyes.

Sara sat up, her back protesting the movement after so long in a cramped position.  She blinked, trying to get her eyes to cooperate, as they also seemed to be protesting the movement.

“I don’t know.  What time is it?”  She ran her hands over her hair, trying to smooth it out.

“Eight o’clock.  The sun’s about down.  Whatever are you doing out here?  I was taking a walk and just happened to notice your window was open, then saw you asleep.”

Miss Jane moved back as Sara opened the car door and stepped out, bending her spine in a cat-like stretch.  She closed the door and leaned against the car.

“We’re worried about you, dear.  The boxes…”  Miss Jane trailed off.

“I know, I…I thought it would be better, but…but it wasn’t and I can’t take it back now.  I can’t get him back.”  It was happening again.  The tears.  They weren’t going to stop.  “I got home from the mall and they were gone.  And all I could do was cry.  And I couldn’t go back in there, not without him.  Not without him.”

“Come here, my sweet girl,” Miss Jane crooned, pulling her into a hug.  “Of course, you must cry.  Of course you’re sad.  Just cry.  It’s okay.”  The pair of them stood there on the sidewalk, Miss Jane letting Sara cry, rubbing her back, shushing her gently, as only a mother knows how.  And Sara, who could not remember her mother, let her, and knew somewhere deep inside that this was what a mother was for, and then her tears were for all those she missed.  They were for her husband, and her mother and her sister.  For even the mother-in-law who could never be what she secretly wished that she could be.  Sara held Miss Jane tightly and almost told her what was bursting in her soul to tell.  But the spell was broken when across the street they both heard,  “Jane?  Jane is that you?”

“Yes, Bill!” Jane spoke to the voice.  “I’m over here with Sara.”

The pair of them moved apart, but Jane did not let Sara go completely.

“You will come with me, right now, young lady.  It’s supper time, and I will not have you eating alone tonight.  Come and let Bill and I make you laugh a bit and feed you.  Please, won’t you?”

Sara looked over at her house, dark and silent and thought she’d be a fool to say no.

“Yes.  Okay.”  Nodding, trying not to cry again.  “But I may cry,” she added, apologetic.

“I may cry with you.”  Miss Jane reached up and smoothed Sara’s hair, a sweet gesture Sara was surprised by.  She linked her arm with Sara’s and they crossed the street to the waiting Bill and the warmly lit up home.

Copyright © 2015 · All Rights Reserved · Katherine Barron

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