I left before the pizza arrived. My car, to my intense relief, started at once. I drove home quickly navigating the easy turns from Buford Highway to Piedmont and Lindbergh, making a mental note to return to the flea market as soon as possible.
The rain had stopped and low and behold, our missing maintenance man appeared to have returned. I slowed down when I spotted his El Camino in front of the model.
Stephen, struggling with yet another overstuffed cardboard box approached. I lowered the fleetwood’s automatic window.
“Can you use some more stuff?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said, unlocking the back door. “I’ll take it now.”
“Come by when you get settled,” he said, settling the box behind me. “This is just some miscellaneous stuff Nancy’ll want to replace anyway.”
After changing into jeans and brushing my teeth, I took a peek inside the box. Next weekend, I figured, I’d sort out all the crap they’d dumped on me and keep what I wanted. Look at this, I thought. Shirts, a clock radio, a pair of worn Frye boots? Good God, was he moving in?
Judith was too far ahead to hear me call her name, nor did little Nicholas, circling her on his new bike, seem aware of anyone but his mom. She looked more tired, yet younger in her tight jeans and oversized sweatshirt. I'd never seen her from this perspective, a mother and a lone woman, not the velvet and steel professional whose pronouncements had begun to infect my conscience. I realized how tiring it must be to be so on all the time and wondered just how disappointing the weekend in Big Canoe had been for her.
She didn't see me until Tim, sauntering out from Abigail's townhouse --- after locking and pocketing the front-door key --- saw us both and called to us both. Then she turned around with a start and smiled at me feebly.
"Your back," she called. I hurried to catch up.
What, I was thinking, was Tim doing in Abigail's?