CST #290: Riot of Color

blooming-springtime

We bought an H4! We have a pregnant cat! We hated Gone Girl! And we are going to own pagan symbols!

Movies & TV:

Gone Girl

Harmontown

Video Games:

Valiant Hearts

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

CST #289: Positively Great Parenting

positive parenting

Mac spends a Saturday at Emory, Kat reads historic fiction and watches Bloodline; and we suggest you brag on your kids a bit instead of complaining.

Books:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

TV & Movies:

Bloodline

The disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Games:

The Order: 1886

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

Chapter Five: A Mistake (Part One)

Unknown

By Monday morning Sara had packed up all the things that were William’s that were not also items that they got together.  His trophy collection, which she never wanted him to display, but that he put out anyway, his hunting clothes and boots, books that were technical about architecture, these things were all packed in various boxes ready to go to Goodwill or the post office.  More than once she’d had to stop and cry, or stop and read a letter or book.  One night she’d just fallen asleep in the middle of the floor after going through a box of college papers and letters.  The memories that each item brought to her mind were both precious now and awful.  The jeans with the hole in the seat because he’d been drinking and got them caught on a nail.  How she’d laughed at him.  Trying to get untangled, but too tipsy to stand up straight.  The faded stain from the ketchup that dripped on his shirt when they took that anniversary trip to Mount Pleasant and ate hamburgers on the porch at Poe’s Tavern. She’d spent an hour crying over that one.  But in the end, she’d put them away.  Closing the boxes because looking at it all was too hard.  Except for one pale yellow button down shirt that she had always loved him in.  He must have worn it briefly then hung it up because she could close her eyes and bury her face in it and imagine he was there.  That she kept.  And she’d worn it to bed every night.

The nights were, without a doubt, the hardest times for her.  She missed him next to her in bed.  When they had married, having him in bed with her every night was marvelous.  Sara would snuggle up next to him when she was ready to go to sleep – even if he had gone to bed first.  Sometimes this snuggling led to other things, which did not bother Sara.  Often during the night, William would escape to the other side of the bed, but Sara would find him in her sleep and drape a leg and an arm over his chest.

He wasn’t there now to find in the night, so her sleep was restless at best.  A couple of times she had simply gotten up and turned on the T.V. to whatever ridiculous reality show would pass the time until she fell asleep on the couch.  Then in the morning she would wake up, rush to the bathroom to throw up and begin her day.

After the packing, she had settled into opening the mail.  Here two problems greeted her.  One was, simply put, money.  There wasn’t much.  William had always handled paying the bills because he enjoyed it.  They had joint checking accounts and her money just went right in with his.  They had no secrets, or so she assumed, and she would just make sure with him before she made a big purchase or pulled out over fifty dollars at the ATM.

As far as she knew, William had no life insurance, so their mortgage was now looming over her head.  That bill was in the mail that she had opened over the weekend and after looking through the filing cabinet for six hours on Saturday, she finally had a handle on how much money they had in the bank.  Without William’s salary coming in, there was only enough money to pay the mortgage through next month.  Her salary alone was just enough to cover the water, electricity, food and maybe the cell phone.  So she either had to sell the house in six weeks or get further and further behind on the bill.

She had made a mental note to call William’s office today to find out if he had any salary that hadn’t been paid.  That may stave off foreclosure for another month if she was really careful.  The best thing for her was to find a roommate.  How she was going to convince someone to come in and live with a pregnant woman was beyond her.  Then there was the widow thing.  She didn’t want to live with anyone else right now.

Oh, God, Sara thought, a little prayer coming unbidden to her mind.  I sure could use some help right now.

After a shower and a quick blow dry Sara walked into the small dining room.  Holding her coffee in her hand, Sara leaned against the doorjamb and studied the boxes stacked all around her, the result of her hard work and tears. The boxes stared right back, taunting her.

“Fine,” she said.  “I’ll deal with you.”

The boxes for donation went to the curb after a quick phone call arranging pick-up.  The few boxes to go to Oden she moved to the car.  The post office was not far away.

Grabbing her keys and her purse, she walked back out to the car, ready to go.  Sara saw Miss Jane across the street on her porch.  She waved.  Miss Jane waved back, but had a puzzled expression on her face.  It struck Sara that she must seem to be moving pretty fast to get William’s things moved out.  But this was what she had chosen to do.  She climbed in the car, started the engine and headed to the post office.

There were only three boxes to take in to mail to Miss Emily.  The thought came to Sara that this would seem awfully fast to Emily Carraway.   Miss Emily might even be embarrassed to get them in the mail so quickly.  But what did that matter to Sara anymore.  It doesn’t, she thought.  It doesn’t concern me at all.

Boxes taken care of, Sara climbed back in her car and thought of the long day ahead with nothing to do.  Panic started to set in at the thought of returning to her house.

“The mall,” Sara said out loud to no one. “The mall is what I need.”

Parking her car in the mall lot outside of Belk, Sara walked into the store and headed straight for her favorite place, the clearance shoe rack.  This was what she needed.  Shoes.  Racks of discounted shoes.  Old lady shoes.  Party shoes.  Bright orange shoes with heels so high they were a danger to society.  Boots of all shades.  Kitten heels and ballet flats.  The soothing nothingness of shoe shopping.  The possibility of an amazing deal.  To get lost in the hunt.  To forget what today was.

After forty-five minutes of trying on every shoe on the clearance rack in her size, she had narrowed her possibilities down to a pair of fabulously comfortable bright pink ballet flats which would go with absolutely nothing in her closet and a ridiculous pair of patent red three-inch heels which she might get to wear once before she became a mom.  And moms don’t wear three-inch heels – do they?  Sara wondered.  In the end, when the shoes were even cheaper than the red-line price, she felt completely obliged to keep both pairs.

Feeling better than she had in days, Sara headed over to the food court for her favorite fried chicken sandwich.  First though, a quick stop at Barnes and Noble for something to read while eating alone.  Perusing the historical romance section (for the history lessons, of course), Sara felt a tap on her shoulder.

“Sara?” She turned to see a man about her age in a green polo shirt and khaki shorts, looking sympathetic.

“Yes?” Sara replied.  “Have we met?”

“I’m Dale?  From William’s work?  We met last year at the company Christmas party.”  He put his hand out.  Sara took it.  Then he added his other hand to the shake.  “We are all so in shock about William.  I hope you got the flowers we sent to the funeral.”

Panic.  There it was.  Fight or flight?  Better pick flight.

“Thank you.  I’m sure his mom…I didn’t really see all the flowers.  There were so many.”  Sara was trying to get her hand out of his grip.  “She sort of handled…I mean…thank you.  Tell everyone at the office…thanks.”  There, she had her hand back.  Clutching her Belk bag to her chest she headed for the doors to the outside, but just as she reached the air, someone grabbed her arm.

Turning Sara said, “Really.  Thanks, I just…”  Then, Sara realized that it wasn’t Dale who had her, it was a store employee.

“You can’t take that,” he said, pointing at her arms.

“What?  These are my shoes.”

“Not the shoes, the book.  You didn’t pay for that.”  He was still pointing.

And Sara realized that she was still holding the romance novel she’d been looking at when Dale had started talking to her.  “I’m so sorry.  I didn’t mean to…”  But the employee just said, “Whatever,” and took the book back into the store with him, leaving Sara standing on the hot sidewalk wishing to God she could melt into it.  And now she had to walk all the way around the mall to get back to her car.  There was no way she was going back into that store to face the stares of the people who thought she was a shoplifter.  Nor the possibility of running into Dale again.

“William,” she whispered.  “You’d know what to say to make me laugh at this.  To make me laugh at myself.  I need you.”

It was then that she realized everything that connected her to William was  on its way to someone else.  “Oh no!”  And she began to run, uncaring suddenly who saw her or what they thought.  Reaching her car, she fumbled for her keys, her hands sweating, dropping them three times in her rush before finally getting the car unlocked.

Frantic now, Sara rushed through traffic, honking her horn at the cars who were too stupid to get out of her path.  Down Abercorn, then right onto Stephenson, thinking she could avoid some of the gridlock on the main road.  But Waters Avenue was waiting for her.  She sat at the light at the Derenne intersection for what seemed like hours, her hands rubbing compulsively on the steering wheel, hitting it occasionally.  Surely, they won’t have come yet, she thought.  But there was a feeling deep down that it was all gone.  She had screwed up.  All of his things.  Gone.  She’d been trying to be like Eve.  To just “get it done,” but she wasn’t Eve.  She needed to have William back…have his clothes back in the closet.  The thought of coming home to that empty house and those empty closets was making her want to scream.  What was she thinking?

All the way down Waters she prayed, “Please God.  Please.  If those boxes are still there, I’ll do anything.  Anything.  Only please, let them be there.”  Past the hospital, past New Tires, then left on to 48th and there!  Sara thought she caught a glimpse of brown on the sidewalk.  She breathed a sigh.

But it was too much to pray for.  As she pulled closer she realized those boxes were only trash.  The Goodwill boxes, all of William’s things, were gone.  Nothing was left.

Sara parked in front of the house.  She didn’t even get out, before she was sobbing.  “William!  Oh please come back.  Please don’t be dead!  Please, please, please…I don’t want you to go.  I don’t want you to go.”  Sara held on to the steering wheel, as she cried.

Eventually, the tears slowed down.  But she couldn’t go in the house.  She couldn’t bring herself to face the empty quiet, the ghost of a life that was.  She leaned her chair back all the way, rolled down her window and curled on her side, falling asleep almost instantly.

Copyright © 2015 · All Rights Reserved · Katherine Barron

CST #288: Gulp!

gulp

Party it up with soon to be weds, Kat loves Death at Pembery, likes Theory of Everything, Mac loves Gulp, and we talk about Fr. Ray Kelly and a ludicrous mini documentary.

Movies & TV:

Death at Pemberly

Theory of Everything

Books:

Gulp by Mary Roach

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

CST #287: Do Not Run to See Logan’s Run

Logan's Run

Mac goes camping on the Ogeechee, Katherine is throwing out our stuff, we really like The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt and we can’t recommend Logan’s Run. Also, Katherine turns some emotional pornography into some good Catholic Stuff.

Books:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

TV & Movies:

Logan’s Run

The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt

Long Lost Family

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

CST #286: D.C. after the Barrons

washington404_674922c

Kat & the Boys return from DC, Mac catches up on Parks & Rec, and Jesus goes cray-cray in the temple.

Movies & TV:

National Treasure

Grand Budapest Hotel

Daily Burn – LTF

Parks & Rec

Podcasts:

Good Things Radio

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

Chapter Four: A Visitor

Unknown

 

Sara woke up the next morning to bright sunshine pouring through her bedroom window.  After the two hour drive from Oden, she had turned down the air conditioning to 68 degrees and curled up under her down comforter in warm bliss.  Sara had assumed that being back home would be much more soothing than the atmosphere in Oden, but when she put the key in the lock last night at one a.m. and stepped into the house that she and William bought together, her loss came back to her full force.  For William was not here and never would be again.

She just lay in the bed for a few minutes.  Her body felt pressed down with the weight of all that had happened in such a short period of time.  She knew that Mr. Hart would give her more time off if she needed it, but perhaps getting back to work was the best way to move forward.  The best way to move forward now, she thought, is to get out of bed.

She sat up and put her feet on the ground and immediately felt the room swim and her stomach heave.  She raced to the bathroom and just made it in front of the toilet before everything that she ate yesterday made a reappearance.  Luckily, she hadn’t eaten much.

She sat down on the floor and waited for the nausea to pass.  The baby, she thought.  How am I going to forget about William if this baby reminds me of his presence every morning?  She leaned her head up against the doorjam and closed her eyes.

“Uhhhhhhh,” she moaned just to hear her voice.  Who will I talk to now?  Who will listen to me?  This was the worst thought of all.  Sara used the wall behind her to slowly slide up and test the way her stomach felt.  Then she made her way into the kitchen.  When she and William had first moved into the small, two bedroom, craftsman style bungalow in Savannah’s Ardsley park, her initial job had been to repaint the tiny, dark kitchen in bright white.  Now the sunlight and walls assaulted her eyes.  Then the doorbell rang.

What time is it?  Sara thought, glancing over at the clock on the wall.  To her amazement, the hands stood at twelve.  She walked back into the bathroom and grabbed her robe from the hook.  After she pulled that on, she grabbed a ponytail holder and pulled her hair up into a quick bun, just so it wasn’t sticking out in a thousand different directions.  The doorbell sounded again.

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Sara called as she headed down the hall to the front door and looked through the window to the porch.  Recognizing her neighbor, Miss Jane, she opened the door.

“Miss Jane, hello,” she said to the older woman standing with a casserole dish.  Miss Jane lived just across the street with her husband Bill.  Sara and William had gone out to dinner with them a couple of times in the few years that they lived here, and always waved when they had seen each other.  They were both retired, with grown children, but stayed active.  Jane was average height, thin with tastefully colored, shoulder-length blond hair.

“Oh, Sara.  I’m so sorry about William.  You left so quickly last week – completely understandable with William’s family living away from here – that I didn’t have time to let you know how sorry Bill and I are for your loss.  William was such a wonderful man.  I’m so sorry.”  There were tears welling up in Miss Jane’s eyes.  Sara was sure she was going to cry and she didn’t know if she could take that so soon today.

“Thank you, Miss Jane.  It’s been hard.  Would you like to come in and put those things down?”

“Thank you, dear.  I won’t stay long.  I can see you are just getting going. We didn’t know if you had asked anyone else, so we picked up your mail while you were gone.  I didn’t want people thinking that you weren’t home and then you getting robbed as well.”  She took a cloth bag from her shoulder filled with letters and a few small packages, and handed it to Sara.

“And I made you this chicken casserole.  I thought that you might not want to worry about having to cook when you got home.  Christine and Mark from down the street are going to bring a salad and bread later today, so don’t you worry about your supper.”  She patted Sara’s arm in a motherly way, that made Sara start to tear up.

“I – thank you.  That was very thoughtful of you.”

“Well, Bill and I just think the world of you.  You and William reminded us so much of us when we were your age.  We often talked about that.”  Miss Jane looked off wistfully, then back at Sara.  “I’ll go now, but if you need anything, anything at all, you just let us know.”  She reached up and gave Sara a quick hug and headed towards the door.

As she was walking down the front steps, she paused and turned, her short hair lifting a little in the breeze.  “I wanted you to know that I asked our priest to say Mass for William on Sunday.  I knew that you had grown up Catholic, and I thought you might like to know.”  She smiled and continued off the porch and across the street.

Sara stood and watched her for a moment.  Had she mentioned to Jane that she was Catholic?  She couldn’t remember.  Odd.  She never mentioned that to anyone, mostly because she just didn’t think of herself as Catholic, or anything else for that matter.  Since leaving her foster parents’ home when she was seventeen and heading to Georgia Southern University, she hadn’t set foot inside a church, except to get married.  William had grown up Methodist but went because his mother said it “didn’t look good for a fine family like theirs” not to be in church.  Besides, Sundays were for sleeping late and reading the paper in bed, not for going to some church full of old people and bad music.

Still, if she thought about it, the idea that a Mass was said for her husband was comforting, if only in the fact that a whole group of people who didn’t even know William had stopped for a moment to remember him.  The thought of Mass made Sara remember the last time she had gone.  It was Easter Sunday just before she graduated from high school.  The altar had been covered in bright spring flowers.  Such a contrast from the bare altar and dark colors that were a part of Lent.  The music had been joyful and the pews packed.  As the processional hymn was sung that morning, the feeling in the church had been one of excitement and joy.  And even Sara, as cynical as she had grown during her teenage years, had been caught up in it.

But that was a long time ago.  She was more practical now.  And there were things to do.  The first was to call work.  She picked up the phone and dialed the office.

“Mr. Hart’s office.  This is Claire.  How may I help you?”  The bright voice on the other end sounded very young.

“Claire, hi.  This is Sara Carraway.  Is Mr. Hart available?”

“Oh, Sara.”  Claire’s voice had immediately gone to Southern-sweet pity.  “I was so sorry to hear about your husband.  How are you?  Are you okay?”

“Thank you, Claire.  I’m doing alright.  May I speak to Mr. Hart?”  Sara didn’t know how much of this sympathy stuff she could take.  But staying at home and moping was not an option.

“Oh, sure, Sara.  I’ll put you right through.”

Sara was put on hold for only a moment.  And then a very comforting grandfatherly voice came through the line.

“Sara, Sara.  We have all been very concerned about you.  I hope you are okay.  I mean, I know that you aren’t fine and no one expects you to be, but you know that we are here for you should you need anything.  Please take all the time you need from work.  Claire is working out fine.  It’s not the same of course, with you gone, but we’ll survive until you can get back to us.”

Sara had tried a couple of times to get a word in, but Mr. Hart was just like that.  He loved to talk, and Sara loved him for it.

“Actually, Mr. Hart, I’d like to get back to work, if that’s okay.  I don’t think I can stay here by myself all day and all night.  I just…”  Sara almost started to cry again.  Everything had felt so forced and so fake in Oden.  To be back here where she felt like she was at home, and where people really seemed to care about her was like being able to breathe after being underwater for too long.

“Of course, Sara, of course.  Whatever you need, my girl.  When can we expect you?”

“Well, today is Thursday.  Why don’t I come back on Tuesday?  Would that be alright?”

“Yes, yes.  Love to see you.  Will be glad to have you back.  Again, whatever you need.”

“Thank you, Mr. Hart.  I really appreciate it.  I’ll see you on Tuesday.”

“Tuesday it is.  See you then.  Good-bye, dear.”

“Good-bye.”  Sara hung up.

    Now what?  She looked over at the casserole and the bag of mail.  Coffee, she thought.  Coffee is what I need.  Pregnancy be damned. Then a shower to wash Oden from my skin.  She walked back through the house to the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee, extra strong.  Then she headed to the shower.

As she stepped under the hot water, she immediately felt better.  All the stress of the past few days had seemed to settle in her shoulders and her whole body felt like it was tied in knots.  As she lathered up with her loofa and ran her hands over her stomach, she stopped.  A baby was in there.  A microscopic little baby.

Suddenly one of her choices flew out the window.  For a few moments after the funeral yesterday, when she was feeling her worst, when the thought of William’s mother having anything to do with her ever again made her skin crawl, the best thing to do seemed to be to come home and make an appointment to have an abortion.  Then it would be over.  Done.  She could put William in her past.

But standing here now, with her hand on her belly, far away from Miss Emily and Eve, from Oden and the town’s oppressive effect on her she felt that having this baby would be healing for her.  Maybe the best thing to do was to move away from Georgia all together.  If she was far away from her sister and those who knew William she could raise her baby like she wanted to without anyone interfering with her life.

Besides, now the thought of William’s son or daughter growing inside of her, a little piece of their life together, made her smile.  This baby was something to live for.  Something to move on with.

I can do this.  I can be what this baby needs.  I’ve made it through this life before when something bad happened and I can do it again.  I don’t need anyone. 

Sara finished her shower, grabbed a pair of jeans and one of William’s t-shirts, pausing for just a moment to take in the smell of him, then she poured a cup of coffee and went into the bedroom and opened the closet door.

She stood and stared at the right side of the small closet.  There were all of William’s clothes and shoes.  The pastel cotton button-downs, the khakis, the jeans, his boots and dress shoes, all lined up, all waiting for an owner that would never return.  Sara had decided while finishing her shower that she had three and a half days to pack up William’s things.  Three and a half days to put that part of her life in order so that she could move on.  She would box up all of his clothes and things that she did not want and send them to his mother.  Then she would be done with Emily Carraway as long as she never found out about the baby…and Sara would make sure that she never did.

After pulling all of William’s clothes out of the closet and from under the bed, Sara realized that this was going to be a bigger job than she originally thought.  There were so many things that were his, but that were a part of their life together.  How to decide what would stay and what would go?

Taking a pile of clothes with her, she went into the living room and began to separate the clothes into groups.  Clothes to go to Goodwill in one group.  Clothes to be boxed up for Miss Emily in another.  As she was folding the clothes and putting them into boxes, she struggled not to break down.  Sara was sure that most people would tell her that she was doing this too soon.  That perhaps she should take some time and grieve a little more before she just purged William from her life.  But there was so much to do in such a short period of time.

If she was going to move so that she could raise the baby away from the threat of someone trying to take him, then she needed to sell the house and get a new job.  And if she was going to have to do all of that then she didn’t have time to sit around and cry everytime she opened the closet.

Next Sara went into the bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet.  There was William’s electric razor, his deodorant, the antibiotic from a sinus infection he had last year that he never finished, his aftershave…here Sara stopped and took the top off the bottle and just inhaled.  I can’t do this! she thought as the tears came unwanted to her eyes.  Oh William!  Where are you right now?  Where are you?  I need you so much.

Sara couldn’t bring herself to believe that William was anywhere but in the ground, but here with the scent of him all around her she wanted it to be true.  She wanted him to exist still.  But he didn’t, and that was that.

She pulled the rest of his things out of the cabinet quickly.  Then she looked under the sink and in the shower, pulling his things out as she went and putting them in a box.  She went into the coat closet and got out his coats, winter gloves, hats and scarves and placed everything in boxes.  As a box would fill up she would tape it and write either “Goodwill” on the side or address it to “Mrs. William Carraway” at their address in Oden.

By the time she had been through every closet in the house it was almost six o’clock and Sara’s stomach was letting her know she’d had nothing to eat all day.  Just then the doorbell rang for the second time that day and she remembered that Christine and Mark were bringing over some salad for her.  She smoothed her hair back though she knew that would never fix the mess she was sure she looked.

Mark and Christine Mendelsohn lived five doors down.  William and Sara had met them one Saturday during Ardsley park yard sale season.  Saturday mornings in Ardsley park found people armed with the newspaper driving from yard to yard down the streets, the Spanish moss dripping from the old oak trees that were a hallmark of Savannah life.  Mark and Christine had been having a yard sale of their own, and while looking through their old stuff, Mark and William struck up a conversation about NPR and the various and sundry merits of Car Talk.

They had never become best friends, Sara and William were too much of a closed unit for that, but they did enjoy each others’ company and had taken in plays at the Lucas Theater and enjoyed Forsyth Park events together, always having a great time.

Will they even want to spend time with me now?  How does it work going from being part of a couple to not?  Sara could feel the weight of the change in her life pressing down on her again, but she pushed the feeling aside as she opened the door.

Christine was there on the porch on her own, looking fresh and beautiful as always.  She loved the beach and running, and so always looked like she had just stepped out of a surfing movie, with streaks of gold highlights cut through her blond hair.  But she was so natural and kind, that it was hard to hate her for being so darn gorgeous.

“Hey,” Sara said.

“Hey yourself.  Can I come in?” Christine held a bowl of salad and a shopping bag full of what looked like a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread.

“Here, let me take that from you.”  Sara reached for the bowl and headed with it back to the kitchen.  “I had forgotten to eat all day.”

“I can see that.”  Christine motioned to the boxes that filled the floor.  “Already?”

“I…I just needed to get it done.  Do you have anywhere to be right now?”  Sara suddenly found the idea of a meal all alone incredibly depressing.

“I don’t actually.  I asked Mark if I could come alone, thinking that maybe you would want some company.  If it were me, I wouldn’t want to be alone my first night at home without Mark.  Now, where is your bottle opener so I can open this bottle of wine?  We’ll take some glasses on the screened porch while Miss Jane’s casserole is heating up.”

If Sara believed in blessings, she might just think that God had sent these people to her.  First Miss Jane and her mail, then Mr. Hart being so understanding, and now Christine just being a good friend.  Life looked so much less bleak now than it did when she woke up this morning.

“The wine opener is right here,” Sara said, opening a drawer.  “And the wine glasses are in this cupboard.  I’ll get them.”  She grabbed the glasses from a tall shelf and handed them to Christine.  “It is white wine, right?”

“Oh, yes.  Nothing else will do on a hot summer day except maybe hard cider and Vinnie’s pizza.  Do you remember the time that you, William, Mark and I went to Vinnie’s before that show at the Lucus, but we never left the table?  That was a great night.  It was so hot out, the tourists were in full force in City Market, and that waitress kept giving us the evil eye, but we just kept ordering more beer and cider.  Man, we had such a great time.”  Christine had poured the wine while she was talking and now handed a glass to Sara.  “To William.”

“To William,” Sara responded, a catch in her voice as she raised her glass.

Christine picked up the bottle.  “Come on, let’s go bask in the Southern heat.”

Sara and Christine walked to a door off of the living room that went out to a small screened porch with a swing and a bistro table.  Sara sat in the swing while Christine grabbed a seat at the table, setting down the wine and propping her feet in the other chair.

“You know, I think that night was the first time the four of us went out together.  I seem to remember a couple of times we were together at our houses for dinner, but then we decided to go to the show at the Lucus.”  Sara was remembering how great that night was.

Christine corrected her.  “No, that’s not what happened.  We ran in to you and William waiting for a table at Vinnie’s.  Don’t you remember?  And we decided to sit down together.  Then we realized we all had tickets to the same show, but we never made it.  And I’m so glad.  That really is one of my best Savannah experiences.”

They sat in silence for a moment.  “It’s hard to believe he’s gone,”  Christine said, looking over at Sara who was swinging with her eyes closed.

“I know.  He has been the most important part of my life for so long that I don’t really know who I am now.”

“I think that will take time.”  Christine put her feet on the floor.  “Don’t you remember when you and William first met?  How you were independent and self-reliant?  You were a senior in college when you two got together, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, you made room for him, but you were still you.  It was the same with me and Mark.  I had been single and on my own for a long time.  I mean, my parents and siblings were a part of my life, but I had been paying my own way.  When Mark came along, it took awhile for us to fit each other into our worlds.  But we did it.  I suppose now you’re just doing that in reverse.  You have to go back in a certain sense to who you were before he came along.  You have to remember that girl who paid her own bills.”  Christine looked suddenly apologetic.  “Oh, gosh Sara, I’m sorry.  Here I am, lecturing you about how to be a single person, when I still have Mark.  I must sound so condescending.”

“No, no, you make sense.  You’re the first person who’s talked to me like I wasn’t made of glass.  Like I wasn’t going to break down every time he’s mentioned.”  Sara smiled.  “I mean, I might break down, but so what.  Isn’t that part of grieving?  Being able to talk about the person and hear them talked about?  He is gone, but you’re right.  I have to figure out a way to make life work.”

Their glasses were empty and Christine got up to refill them from the bottle.

“Well, this one’s empty.  You got anymore?”

“Nope.  But I do happen to have some cider and I bet that casserole is ready.  Let’s eat out here on the porch where we can really sweat.”

“Sounds good to me.”  Christine looked towards the quiet road that ran in front of both of their houses.  “I love this street.  I’m so glad you guys moved here.”

“Me, too.”  Sara said as she headed inside to fix their plates, and she meant it.  Loving this place like she did was going to make it that much harder to leave.

 

Copyright © 2015 · All Rights Reserved · Katherine Barron

CST #285: Chef is Delicious

cheff

Joshua visits as Kat & the boys prepare for a big road trip. We loved Chef, John Wick, and Last Man on Earth. You guys keep sponsoring us and Mac tries to connect a bunch of dots for Catholic Stuff.

Movies & TV:

Chef

John Wick

Last Man on Earth

Hawaii 5-O

Websites:

scoutmastercg.com

theartofmanliness.com

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

Chapter Three: A Wake

Unknown

The road to the Carraway’s home wound between tall pines and past a small, smooth lake that looked like black glass in the gathering darkness.  As Sara drove out from under the trees she could see the sloping metal roof of the single story home.  The house was boxed in by a porch that wrapped all the way around.  Whatever else she may have to say about William’s family, this simple Southern home was like something out of a dream to her.

William often spoke of how his memories of growing up here were a bright spot in his past.  He would tell her tales of playing with his Legos and toy trucks on the porch, swinging in the wide wooden porch swing, and spending hours swimming and fishing in the lake.  Whatever came after those blissful days could not quite compare.  But he held on to the memories as one of his greatest treasures.

The slight rise up from the lake to the front yard of the home was packed with cars, the house already lit up as the sun’s light was almost gone from the sky.   Sara parked and climbed out of her car.  She could see a group of young men standing between two parked trucks, red plastic cups held discreetly by their sides.  Sara had come to think of their button down Oxford shirts in various pastels and khaki pants as the Southern boy uniform.  William had enjoyed the same comfortable clothes in the hot summers and he had always looked amazing.  Sun-tanned, tall and blond he had only gotten better looking as he had moved through his twenties.

Sara stopped for a moment by the side of the pond and remembered again the first time William had brought her here.  She had been so nervous, but so excited because his bringing her had meant that he really cared about her and that was something that she never thought would happen.  After meeting in the bookstore that long ago evening they had struck up a conversation, one that continued up to the check-out counter and over to a local bar where they shared a beer, and then dinner.  When they left the bar it was only because it was closing.  Sara’s apartment was within walking distance so William walked her home.

Sara remembered stealing glances at him as they walked through campus.  The night air was warm and she had still been tan from her summer job as a waitress at a beach side restaurant.  Sara felt pretty and a little buzzed from the drinks that they had shared.  As they walked William’s arm would brush against hers and the anticipation built all the way to her apartment.  At her door, Sara turned the key in the lock.  Looking back at William, she said “Well, good night.”  Just as she had hoped, he leaned in and kissed her.  At the time, it was the most romantic moment of her whole life.  The night, the conversation, and William – beautiful, Southern, long-legged William.  The kiss was one she would not forget over the days, weeks and years that followed.  Even now, Sara could feel his lips on hers and she reached up to her lips as if she might find his where they ought to be.

Enough of this, she thought and turned away from the now dark lake.

The young men nodded at her as she walked past them up the slight hill towards the house.  The mosquitos were already in full force and Sara could feel the bites beginning to welt up on her uncovered arms.  She climbed the wide front steps of the house and nodded at the people standing near the door.  The front door was closed against the heat, but she was sure the crush of bodies inside would make the air-conditioning almost pointless and as she opened the door and stepped inside, she knew she was right.

The smooth, wide pine planks that she stepped in on were original to the home, and each piece of furniture, each original artwork and each expensive fake plant were perfectly placed by a local decorator.  The effect was a stunning first impression of shiny hardwood floors, tall white walls and simple lighting.  The house was really beautiful and Sara had hoped when she and William had first visited here together that she would find in it a place to call home.  But Miss Emily had never thought her good enough for William and, Sara had come to accept, she never would.

A silence fell over the crowd as she walked through the foyer into the hallway.  She should be more embarrassed than she was, but the day had been too long and she was too tired to think anymore.  Sara knew that it was time to say good-bye to William’s mother.  She had not planned to leave tonight, but now saw no reason to stay.  She spotted her sister at the door leading into the kitchen.  The expression on Eve’s face was hard to read.  Sara couldn’t tell if she was relieved or angry.  Probably both, Sara thought with a sigh and walked over to where she was standing.

“Where have you been?” Eve asked in an angry whisper.  Her voice was quivering though, and Sara wondered at this.  They moved on into the kitchen where the crowd was at a minimum.

“I’ve been burying my husband, if you must know.  Thanks for asking.”  Sara was exasperated with this whole routine.  The back and forth that the two of them had been doing for years was getting old.  Still, Sara should have been easier on Eve.  She was sure that from her perspective Sara’s disappearance this afternoon was a major pain.

“Everyone’s been asking where you were.  I called your cell.  I called the hotel.  Nothing.  I’m your sister, for Christ’s sake, and you didn’t tell me where you were going.  I was – ” here Sara heard it again, a momentary quiver “I was really worried about you.”  Sara looked up at Eve and could only see her profile, but she was sure she saw the glimmer of tears in her eyes.  “I mean, what if something had happened to you.  What would I do?  You’re all I have.”

“All you have?  What about Chase and your kids?”  Sara had never before had Eve speak to her so.  She never showed emotion.  Never.

But the door was closing, Sara could see, as Eve dabbed at her eyes with a napkin she had picked up from the kitchen table and squared her shoulders, a gesture Sara knew meant she was moving on.

“I just…I mean Miss Emily has been asking after you.  I think that it’s very embarrassing for her that you haven’t been here.  You should go and find her and apologize.”

“I’ll go find her, but it won’t be to apologize.  I shouldn’t have to apologize for taking the time to watch my husband buried.  Just because it’s not what’s proper in Oden, doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do.  I’ll go find her, because I’m leaving tonight.  And it’s the right thing to do to say good-bye.”  Sara had thought for just a second that she might be able to share her news with her sister after all.  Eve would never understand though.  And Sara would keep the fact of her pregnancy to herself.

“Will you leave tonight if I do or will you stay and go home tomorrow?”  Sara suddenly remembered that Eve didn’t belong here either.  “Of course you’re welcome to come to Savannah.  I have an extra room.  I just thought Chase would be ready for you to come home.”

Eve looked miserable and Sara wondered for the first time if there was something that she was missing, something Eve wasn’t telling her.

“Is there something wrong, Eve?  Something I can help with?” Sara reached out to Eve, but she shrugged her hand off.

“What kind of sister would I be asking for your help at a time like this?  I’m fine.”  Eve’s smile was forced.  “Of course, I’m ready to go home.  Chase, Jr. and Laura have school and I have work and…as long as you don’t need me anymore, I’ll leave now.”  Eve reached over and gave her a quick squeeze and kiss on the cheek.  “I’ll call you next week, okay?”

And she was gone, out the kitchen door to the porch.  Sara watched her leave, wishing for moment that she had asked her to stay.  William had been her best friend and now the only family she had was leaving.  She and Eve had never been friends though, so this shouldn’t feel like a loss, but it did.  It really did.

Sara grabbed a cup from the stack on the kitchen table and filled it with water from the dispenser on the fridge.  She stood for just a moment thinking of the cups of coffee she had shared with William here at this table, the late night bottles of cold beer on the screened porch just out the kitchen door.  She would miss the memories she had of him here – but she wouldn’t miss here.

She put her cup next to the sink and turned, walking out the door and into the hallway.  She saw one of William’s favorite aunts talking to the pastor.

“Have you seen Miss Emily, Aunt Louise?” Sara asked the kind woman.

“I believe she went upstairs, dear.  She was looking for you.  I think she was worried.”

“Thank you.  I needed to rest after the service.  I’m fine now though.  I’ll just go find her and let her know I’m alright.”  Sara headed up the stairs as Aunt Louise turned back to her conversation.

She peeked in the door to the master bedroom but there was no one there and the door to the bathroom was open.  She walked on soft feet to the door of the room she and William had shared when they came here.  She found Miss Emily there, sitting on William’s bed, her hand moving back and forth across the coverlet.

“Miss Emily?” Sara said in a low voice.  Miss Emily looked up.  She was crying.  Sara felt immediately sorry that this woman had to live through this heartbreak.  She so wished that the two of them had been friends, then perhaps they could go through this together.

“Oh, Miss Emily, I didn’t mean to intrude, I was just…”

Miss Emily put up her hand and turned her face away, then stood up from the bed, wiping at her eyes as she walked towards Sara.

“We were terribly worried about you, dear.  People have been asking after you.  It just doesn’t look good for you to disappear like that.  Your duty is here.  People wish to pay their respects.” Miss Emily was steering Sara towards the door. “I know you didn’t grow up in an environment where you would have learned this kind of thing, but as the widow you have a certain responsibility to the people who knew and loved William.  There will be time to grieve later.  For now, we must go and speak to our guests.”

Sara stopped at the top of the stairs.  She turned towards the woman who had loved William more than anything and, Sara believed, despised her for taking him.

“Miss Emily, I know that you don’t like me.  I know that you didn’t think that I was good enough for him.  And now we’ve lost him, you and I.  We’ve both lost the man we loved more than anyone else in the world.  Because I know that you love him, too, I hope you’ll understand when I say that I can’t wait to grieve for him.  And I have to do it my way.  I have to go home.  I have to leave now.  I just wanted to say good-bye.”

Sara started down the stairs.  Then thought of one more thing that she wanted to say to her.

“Perhaps the best thing to come out of William’s death is that you are finally rid of me.  Good-bye, Miss Emily.”

Emily Carraway’s mouth hung open for the first time since she was nine years old.  Her mother would have told her she looked like a cow.  But her son’s widow had just rendered her speechless.  Sara was down the stairs and out the front door before she could think of what to say, and so Emily Carraway put on her best not-too-bright smile and went back to her guests, as her mother taught her to do.

Copyright © 2015 · All Rights Reserved · Katherine Barron

CST #284: Mac Won’t Shut Up About Agent Carter

agent-carter-7683

Cold weather camping, late night legos and the oscars. Sam & Mac LOVE Agent Carter and Mac & Kat have a ball with Predestination. We also talk about forgiveness and the awful alternative.

Movies & TV:

Predestination

Agent Carter

ER

SNL’s 40th Anniversary Special

Please support us through Patreon: patreon.com/cst

Find us at catholicinasmalltown.com

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