The thunder clapped violently as beads of water ran like tiny rivers down the glass of the only window in the room. With each clap of thunder the glass shook, as did the little table by the bed. On it a single glass of water, and an alarm clock that read 6:00am. The sun began to break through the window allowing one beam to funnel into the room and onto the face of the man trying to squeeze what little sleep he could out of what had been a very restless night.
The night before had been all too common for the weary man. He returned home to an empty apartment. He wasn’t sure what time she came in because she never entered the room. He could hear her move about the apartment as she prepared for work early that morning.
He remembered their last conversation the day before. He couldn’t believe that they had fought about an issue as meaningless as the cutting board being left out on the counter, but it had happened. In fact it seemed like an uncontrollable avalanche. He couldn’t recall how it started but he was unable to stop it as the argument soon moved from an out of place cutting board to every hurtful thought or word from their marriage.
Again the thunder clapped, the man, John Larson, stirred in bed. He pulled the pillow over his face not wanting to move from what was seemingly the only peaceful place in his life at the moment. He slung the pillow over to her side of the bed as he turned his head and stared at it, unmoved, undisturbed, unslept in for… what was it now? Two, three, four nights? He could not recall an exact number.
He sat up and rested his elbows against his knees as he tried to rub the last of the sleep from his eyes. With the scratch of his head and a deep sigh he stood up and walked over to the window. He reached for the light tan curtain that shaded the room and pulled it back in one violent motion. The funnel of light that had been peeking through now flooded the room.
His window faced a stoplight at what was one of the busiest intersections in town. Middletown, California, they had come here seeking a new life. They had both grown up in the same small town, they knew all the same friends and they graduated from the same high school, but now they wanted something different. They sought adventure, they sought to meet new friends and experience life in the big, well, bigger city than they had come from.
They came here happy, in love, and ready for whatever faced them. But what faced them was a stalled job market, a down economy, and hard decisions. Their laughter often turned to tears, their looks of love to looks of anger, their happy talks to bouts of fighting.
“What happened?” He said to himself in a hushed tone. If only he could figure out where it had gone wrong, perhaps then he could get it back on track. He sighed as he walked away from the window and headed for the living room. His mind running through the events of the last conversation they had.
“I suppose,” he thought to himself out loud. “Conversation is a relative term… fight is more like it.” Fight is all they seemed to do these days. He grabbed a banana off the counter as he walked out of the room and sat on the couch. As he ate he tried to make sense of what had been going on in his life.
As he turned his head toward the kitchen, John saw a piece of paper on the refrigerator and got up to see what it said. He pulled it off the magnet and opened it slowly, bracing himself for what it may say.
Went to work early and working a double. Lunch and dinner are in the fridge, not sure when or…”
He turned the note over several times to see if he missed something. He had not. The note stopped but he was afraid to guess what was missing, what wasn’t said. He had worked so hard to brace himself for what would be said, he had not considered it might be the silence that scares him the most.
“Not sure when or if I’ll be home.” He said out loud. He knew what she wasn’t saying and yet her silence gave him a glimmer of hope. “She didn’t say it,” he kept saying out loud. “There is hope, as long as she doesn’t say those words.”
As he stared blankly at the note he was startled by the ring of the phone. He walked over to the table by the entertainment center and picked up the phone. “Hello?”
“Is this John? John Larson?”
“Yes it is… may I help you?”
“My name is Alan Thompson, I’m the owner for Middletown Security. I have an application on my desk that you filled out.”
“Are you still in the market for a job?”
“Yes sir!” Was John’s quick, and somewhat overeager response.
“Well, I have some free time in about an hour if you can make it in for an interview.”
“Oh yes sir I can be there. In an hour did you say?”
“Yeah that would be fine.”
“Great sir, I will be there.”
“Fine, see you then, goodbye.”
“Goodbye” he said as he dropped the phone onto its hook. He had not been called back on an application in several months and didn’t want to be late for this one.
He grabbed his nicest shirt and tie and jumped into the shower. He knew he had only a short time to get ready. Within thirty minutes he was out of the shower, dressed and heading for the front door. As he opened the door he stopped and turned around and headed back to the kitchen. He took out a piece of note paper and wrote,
Got called in for an interview, hopefully circumstances are changing on the job front. Hope they can on the marriage front as well. Miss you and look forward to seeing you soon.
With that he was out the door, and headed down the stairs toward his car. He had a prayer in his heart and for the first time in a long time a smile on his face.
“Why can’t you put things away like you’re supposed to? Why is everything my responsibility?”
“Maybe because you can’t let anything go, I mean, so the cutting board is out so what? Maybe you should learn to lighten up a little.”
“It’s not the cutting board, it’s the fact that I have worked all day and you still can’t take care of little things around here. It’s the fact you don’t care, it’s the fact that you’re selfish! Sometimes I just… I just hate you!”
The bus hit a pothole and rattled down the road as Jenifer Larson was startled awake. She sat up in her seat as she realized the bus was nearing her stop. She pulled the rope the heard the ding of the bell notifying the driver she wished to get off.
The bus came to a screeching stop as the bus driver called out, “Whipple and Main!”
Jenifer grabbed her purse, stood up and headed toward the rear door of the bus,
“Have a good day lady,” the driver called out. She stopped, smiled and nodded as she exited the door and headed toward her work.
She started up the street her mind still running through the events of the last few days. Why were things so bad? Was it his continued job problems? Was it the way he expected her to do everything after working long shifts? “No,” she said to herself. It isn’t that at all.”
As she stood waiting for the walk light to come on in the middle of a crowd of thirty, or maybe thirty-five people, she realized what was bothering her.
“Jen!” Came the shout from the excited voice. Jenifer could hear it but she could not see anyone in the crowd that surrounded her. As the light turned and the crowd moved she was pulled right along with the flow of bodies across the intersection.
“Jen!” Came the voice again. “Jen wait up! Wait for me!”
Jenifer turned and immediately her face lit up as she recognized the person coming toward her.
“Amy!” She shouted back.
Amy was a friend and co-worker of Jenifer’s at the hospital. Amy was a Certified Nurse’s Assistant that worked on the same unit as Jenifer. When she began at the hospital Amy was the first to welcome her and make her feel at home.
Amy was well known around the hospital and very popular. She was known for always wearing bright scrubs and was nicknamed “sunshine” by all of the staff in their unit. She got the nickname from the patients who always filled out their evaluations and called her their little ray of sunshine on a dark day.
She stood about five foot four inches tall with bright blue eyes and dark blonde hair. Her makeup always matched her scrubs and he was known for her bright sunshine earrings which she got to go with her nickname.
She was the most cheerful of all the staff and Jenifer appreciated that, especially going through the hard times that she had been through lately. Amy always seemed to give good advice, even if it was laced with Bible stories. That was the only thing about her that bothered the staff was her constant rants about religion and God.
As the two met, Amy said, “Are you working today? I thought you were off.”
“No,” Jenifer replied with a glance at the ground and an obvious sigh in her words.
“Did you talk to him yet?”
“No… well I mean I tried, but it turned into an argument as always.”
“You need to sit down with him, and maybe with a third party and work things out.” Amy said as she slid her arm over Jen’s shoulders. “It’s going to be ok… if you want it to be ok.”
“I don’t know.” Jen said as she let out a big sigh.
“Do you love him? Do you love him?” Amy grabbed Jen by the arm and tugged her to prevent her from walking any further. “I said: do you love him?”
The sudden jolt caught Jen by surprise and she dropped her purse, the contents spilling out on the sidewalk.
“I’m… I’m sorry Jen I didn’t mean to come across harsh, but if you love him then there is always hope. If you don’t, then I don’t know what to tell you.”
Jen was slowly scooping her belongings into her purse when she stopped suddenly. She rested her elbow on her leg and ran her hand across her forehead, rubbing it as she searched for the answer.
“It’s like… it’s like part of me says yes, of course I do, but it’s been so hard lately and I just… I just don’t know…” She broke down in tears.
“Hey,” Amy said as she gently rubbed her friend’s shoulder. “It will be ok, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry, and I just care and… I guess… well I’m sorry.”
“No, no it’s… it’s not you” Jen said as she wiped her eyes and stood to her feet. “It’s just everything, and I guess it’s getting to me.” She said as they began to walk toward the hospital again.
“I’m going to keep praying for you and I know if…”
“Please Amy” Jen said as she gained her composure. “Please, you know how I feel about the God stuff… I mean its ok for you if it helps you, but I don’t think that’s what I need right now.”
As the conversation died down, they turned the corner and stopped at a crosswalk. “There it is Amy” said Jen, “my god, the place of worship where I spend all my time and find the most joy. St. Catherine’s Hospital.”
As they crossed the street they passed Dr. Johnson, the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer. “Just starting girls?” He asked as their paths crossed. He was a bit older than both of them but very handsome. Not more than six feet tall, with light brown hair that had gray streaks across the sides.
“Yes sir.” They both responded in unison.
“May I walk you to your floor Jenifer? I’m on my way there anyway to deliver some papers.”
“Sure,” Came the surprisingly chipper response from a suddenly smiling Jenifer.
Sweat rolled down John’s cheek as he waited impatiently to be called in for his interview. He had been out of work so long that his confidence was lacking and he found it almost impossible to stay calm. His hands rubbed nervously together as he stared at the odd painting on the wall directly in front of him.
He couldn’t decide if he liked it or disliked it, but what did that matter? If he didn’t get a job soon he would have to steal the picture and sell it to make some money. “Why would someone paint a picture of a bright pink racing horse and splash yellow dots all over it?” He said to himself as he struggled to get his mind off of the interview about to take place.
The door opened and John stood to his feet as if to greet whoever came from behind it but it was only the secretary returning to her desk from the office. “Do you always stand when a lady enters the room?” She asked with a smile.
John cleared his voice, “only when I think it’s the boss coming through the door” he said nervously as he sat back down in his chair and returned his thoughts to the painting.
“What do you think of it?” said the lady behind the desk.
“I don’t think much about it, of course I can’t think much about anything at the moment.”
“Well me personally” she said as she leaned over the desk, “I like conceptual art, this one I think represents…”
“John Larson” came the call from the direction of the door. John looked toward the door and saw a middle aged man holding a file and looking his direction. “Well, I better be going now” he said to the lady behind the desk as he rose from his seat and started for the door.
“Sure, maybe later” she said rather flippantly as she began to file her nails.
John approached the gentleman who stood no more than five feet tall but must have weighed nearly three hundred pounds. The man reached his hand out and said, “Mr. Larson, my name is Alan Thompson, we spoke over the phone earlier this morning.”
John shook his hand and responded, “Sure, thanks for seeing me today.” The two then disappeared down a hallway.
“Have a seat in that office over there” the man said as he pointed John into a small office on the right side of the narrow hallway. “I’ll be right with you.”
As John walked in, his attention was immediately drawn to the wall on the right side of the room. He slowly sat down as he gazed over the display of appreciation plaques and commendations from city hall. As he scanned the room his eyes locked immediately on the small brown desk that was connected to the wall.
On the desk was a large golden key with a plate that read, “In appreciation for faithful and fearless work in the protection of city assets, the Middletown City Council proudly bestows upon Middletown Security Service the key to the city.”
His eyes moved to the window just beyond the desk where he noticed a small stream with rock and beautiful grassy slopes. The peacefulness of the scene took his mind away from the nervousness of the moment and for just a moment his burdens and cares felt lighter. For just a moment it seemed that…
“Well John,” the sudden voice broke his concentration away from the outside scene, “I have reviewed your file and I’m impressed at your work experience.” The small hefty man took his seat behind the desk.
He leaned back in his chair so far it seemed it would collapse from under him. He scratched the side of his face, “I must ask one question though” he said as he rubbed his hand over the top of his buzzed hair, “what brought you to Middletown?”
“Well…” he started before being interrupted.
“I mean you had steady work and had climbed the ladder if you will… yet you up and move here and have had a long period of nothing.”
“Well I guess you could say sir….”
“Call me Alan, I still work for a living you know”
“Yes sir, I mean Alan,” He coughed nervously before continuing. “My wife and I grew up in the same small town, went to the same high school and saw the same things every day. We saw the same people… and well to be quite honest we were sick of it so we both quit our jobs and decided to move to a different… and well frankly, bigger, city.”
“I understand,” the man said as he leaned yet further back in his chair scratching his belly. “You hoped for a new exciting life but somehow it never got off the ground.”
“Yes sir… I mean Alan, things just haven’t materialized for us and although my wife got a job right away… a nursing job, I haven’t been so lucky. It’s brought a strain on our finances, and well… on our relationship as well.”
“I understand,” he said softly as he set his glasses on the desk. He leaned forward and picked up the file in front of him and opened it up. He leaned back in his chair as he read the file, “I can tell you this much, I need someone quick, and you’re the most qualified man I have interviewed so far… and with what you shared, I am willing to bet you’re honest too.”
“Well I try to be, I mean this kind of work is built on the foundation of trust and honesty.”
“You’re right it is,” he said as he grabbed another piece of paper. Examining the paper closely he said, “I have two or three openings you could fill quite easily, but there is one site that we have that is in desperate need.”
“Well,” John said as he adjusted himself in his seat, “I’ll be glad to work anywhere you need me.”
“Glad to hear it. I have an opening at a car dealership in the Auto mall. It seems that thefts in the area have been on the rise and my guards keep quitting on me during their shift. Some even on their first night.”
“Have they given you a reason as to why?”
“No, unfortunately they simply say they can’t work anymore and when the supervisor arrives they find their uniform left behind in the locker. Some haven’t even come in for their last check.”
“Well” John said as he leaned back in his chair “I’ll be glad to give it a shot. I have never left a job while at post and I don’t intend to start with this one.”
“If you’re willing, then I’m willing” the short man said as he stood to his feet offering John a handshake. “You’r e hired son, glad to have you on board.”
John stood and met his hand with a firm grip and a smile, “glad to be here, and thank you for the opportunity.”
The door to the small hallway shot open and the two men emerged, the short man having his arm slung across the shoulder of his newest hire. “Karina, can you get Mr. Larson here outfitted with a uniform and a schedule for me? He’ll be taking the 2100hrs to 0500hrs, post at Car City.”
“Sure thing Mr. Thompson,” she said as she stood up and headed down the hall, “follow me, handsome.” She said motioning toward the closet.
Jenifer Larson made her way into the gate of the Riverside Apartments trying to clear her mind from the 12 hour shift she had just finished. The one bright spot in her day was the single red rose that had been left for her by Dr. Johnson which she now had tucked away in her backpack.
As she approached the stairs leading to her apartment her smile faded as she remembered the burdens that were waiting just beyond that door. Her husband seemed more a stranger to her now, her bills were piling up and she was so far from her family and friends.
As she stopped beside a stream running alongside the path she tried to blame him for taking her so far away from everything she knew and everyone she loved, and yet deep inside she knew that she had been as eager as him to move out here, only now things just hadn’t worked out as planned.
As Jenifer climbed the steps she hoped John was in bed already. If so she could just slip in and sleep on the couch. Pacing her steps she traced her hand along the cold railing. She reached the top and took her keys out. Slipping them into the lock she turned the knob as slightly and quietly as possible hoping not to disturb the man she hoped was asleep.
As the door opened it seemed dark which caused her to let out a deep sigh of relief. She pushed the door open a bit more freely and saw the faint glow of candles in the living room. As she entered the room she looked directly across to the dining area and saw a table with food, flowers, and candles. Across the table she saw John sitting with a big smile on his face.
“Good evening Nurse Larson,” he said as he stood to his feet and made his way around the table. He pulled out his chair and said: “won’t you join me in a celebration?”
“What’s the big occasion?” She asked as she dropped her backpack on the couch.
“Well… I got a job today with Middletown Security, and I start tomorrow night. Full time and all.”
“That’s nice” she sighed as she took off her jacket and laid it across the back of the couch.
“You don’t seem too excited…” he noted as he leaned over the counter.
“It’s not that I’m not happy for you it’s just…”
“Just what?” he inquired as he stepped towards her.
“It’s just” she said as she stepped back and wiped her hand across her forehead. “So much has happened, and there is so much that I just don’t… well I just don’t feel like celebrating right now.”
“Can we at least talk about it?”
“I don’t think we can right now its late and I just… well I just need to be alone.” She turned and walked into the bedroom shutting the door behind her.
John blew the candles out and sat down to eat his celebratory meal alone. “John Larson, party of one” he said as he sat down. He was not one to pray over his meals, but he was at the end of his rope and had one request.
“Lord,” he started before stopping and realizing he wasn’t even sure the person he was talking to existed. “If there is someone listening up there, I need your help. I can’t do this on my own, and I don’t know where to turn. If you’re there… please help me, help my marriage.”
With that he ate his meal in silence before grabbing a blanket and laying on the couch. He stared out the window toward the moon. “If you’re there” he whispered “please help.” And with that, he drifted off to sleep.
The flowers smelled fresh as John opened his eyes. He looked around taking it all in. As the music began to play he glanced down the aisle of the Briar Avenue Free Methodist Church, the church where he had grown up. The door opened and through it came the most beautiful woman he thought that he would ever see. As the wedding march commenced, she began walking one step at a time toward him.
His heart began to race as beads of sweat ran down his forehead. His left hand began to tap nervously against his leg and his right leg started to bounce. This was it and he was ready. They had been dating throughout high school and they had practically grown up next door to each other.
The bride stepped up on stage and they joined hands. As the minister began to speak, his cell phone started ringing… only it was not the usual ring, but an odd kind of loud ring. As he reached for his pocket everything became a blur and began to fade. John panicked, unsure what was going on… soon he was on the ground as the room became black.
John opened his eyes and stared up at the white ceiling, the loud ringing still sounded throughout the room. He reached for his pocket and soon realized that he had no cell phone on him and he was not in his old church. Turning his head to the left, he saw the time on the alarm clock read 8:00PM. He hit the button to silence the alarm and could hardly believe the reality of the dream he had just had.
The wedding was long over, the closeness he had once felt to Jenifer was fading fast. He sat up in bed, rested his elbows on his knees and rubbed the last of the sleep from his eyes. As he laid back in bed and ran his hands over his head he thought back to last night. The strain on their relationship was worse than even he had imagined.
He recalled going to sleep on the couch and waking up just as Jenifer left for work the next morning. He tried to reach her that day by phone several times but never got an answer. Before going to bed to rest up for his first night on the new job he made one last attempt by calling the hospital line, but with no luck.
As he stood to his feet and headed for the shower he felt as if his relationship with Jenifer was slipping just too far out of reach. He looked in the mirror and wondered who the person was staring back at him. Not only was he a stranger to her but to himself as well. He hoped and prayed as he began to dress for work that this would not only relieve the stress but help him… help them find whatever it was they had lost.
“Can I sit here?”
Jenifer was startled at the loud voice of the person standing next to her. She glanced over and saw a short elderly woman, obviously homeless. She had dirty gray hair and an old worn blue fabric which Jenifer thought to herself must have been a pretty dress at one time, but now clung like old rags to her wrinkled and dirty skin.
“Sure” said Jenifer, a little hesitant. “Nobody is sitting in this seat so you’re welcome to it.”
The old woman sat down and placed her only belongings, a brown paper bag, on her lap. Jenifer glanced at the bag then back to the woman. “Ain’t much but it’s all I got” she said with a smile. Jenifer grinned back and returned her gaze out of the window of the number 22 bus.
“Lost in your thoughts dear?” The woman asked quietly as she leaned over.
“Just lost” Jenifer replied.
“Anything you want to talk about? I don’t have much, but a listening ear I have plenty of.”
“I don’t think so it’s, it’s just…”
“Man troubles? Your fault or his?”
“I really don’t think I should…”
“Did you find someone else?”
Jenifer wiped a tear from her cheek as she turned her gaze from the traffic outside back to the kindly woman next to her.
“It’s very kind of you to be concerned, but it’s very personal and my stop is coming up.”
“Okay dear, but remember many people have wanted something they shouldn’t have. They all got what they wanted but they lost what they had, and they found that what they had before was far better.” The woman said as she gently stroked the back of Jenifer’s hair. “Be careful,” the woman whispered “don’t do something you can never undo.”
The bus screeched to a stop and Jenifer pushed the woman’s hand away as she rose from her seat and headed to the door. She stopped at the door and looked back at the woman. The woman was smiling and waved at her. “Ma’am is there a problem?” The bus driver’s words startled Jenifer and caused her to jump. Looking back she said, “no, everything is fine, thank you” and with that she stepped off the bus.
Jenifer walked slowly up the long street taking deep breaths as she walked. The cold winter air felt refreshing as she attempted to make sense in her head of what she was doing. Part of her knew that she should be at home working things out with John and yet there was part of her, a curious part of her that wanted to see what Dr. Johnson had to offer… that is, she wanted to see how it felt to do what she had never done, go places she had never gone, to see how the other half lived.
As she strolled the sidewalk picking at flowers she felt the turmoil over her decision. She could still hear Amy’s voice telling her she should have told him no. She didn’t mean for Amy to find out, but in a hospital word gets around quickly.
She stopped at a park and sat on the bench overlooking a row of swings and a yellow tower complete with two slides and about a dozen kids climbing all over it. She looked at her watch and realized she was a little early. As she sat there and twirled a yellow tulip in her hand a tear began to run down her cheek.
One stream followed another as she stared at the tulip she found herself crying. “And over what?” She said to herself. “Over a failed marriage? Over a husband who seemed so preoccupied by his own failures he forgot about me? Over a date with a gorgeous doctor?”
She glanced to her left and saw a couple holding hands and whispering in each other’s ears. She looked straight ahead and she saw a beautiful young girl on a swing and what appeared to be her boyfriend pushing her. Their laughter she thought must be echoing from the deep incline of grass just behind them.
She looked to her right and took in the beauty of the stream of red lights that shone against the dark evening from the cars at the nearby stoplight. The tears came once again as she recalled those same evenings she had spent with John when they were dating.
She closed her eyes, trying in her mind at least to go back to those evenings. She could almost hear his voice, “Jenny look at the cars over there” John said as he wrapped his arms around her. She rested the back of her head against his shoulder and took a deep breath and with it the cold night air.
“Look at the cars in the distance” he whispered.
“What about them?” She replied.
“Don’t they look like shining red jewels? Look at them shine and sparkle against the darkness around them.” He said as she raised her hand to caress his cheek.
“Oh Johnnie you’re freezing! She declared as she felt the coldness in his face.
“If I could Jenny I would get you all the jewels in the world. I would stack them up, no wait, I would lay them out until they circled the earth and came back to you again.”
His words were still fresh in her mind as she was startled back to reality by a wayward football which struck her on the back of her head.
“Sorry” came a voice as a young boy ran up the steep incline to retrieve his ball. “Are you okay?”
Jenifer picked up the ball and threw it back to him. She smiled and said, “as good as I can be tonight.”
She put her hands in the pockets of the white knitted sweater and gazed at the crescent moon which hung majestically in the cold night sky. After a few sighs and a final wipe of the tears from her cheeks she walked to the sidewalk and started down the street.
After walking a few blocks she stopped in front of a green storefront. The sign above the door read, “Giovanni’s Place” and inside she could feel the warmth of the heaters and hear the music and singing of Italian opera.
Through the window she could see Dr. Johnson sitting at a table overlooking the garden behind the building. She took a deep breath, grabbed the doorknob, swung the door open and took a long step into what she hoped was a release, or adventure, or escape from everything she was thinking right then.
“Is this okay?” John asked a salesman as he pointed toward the place his car was parked. “It says ‘customers only’ but you guys are closing up now aren’t you?”
“We sure are,” the man said as he closed the two slender white barriers that blocked the driveway of the dealership. “Come in and welcome aboard.”
John walked in and looked around. “I’ve never been in a car dealership at night before, kind of spooky.”
“Well I guess I wouldn’t know cause when the lights go out so do I if you get my drift.”
“I understand completely. Where can I find the other security gua…?”
Beep! Beep! Came the noise of the tiny horn on the golf cart.
John turned and saw a kindly looking older gentleman riding in the golf cart. “Hello John, my name is Roy and I’ll be the one training you tonight.”
John shook Roy’s hand as he entered the golf cart and took a seat.
“You done security work before?”
“Oh yes for several years.”
“Well then,” Roy said as he began to drive forward, “this should be a cinch for you here. Not much goes on, I mean I been here ten years and not much has happened. In fact I could probably count the incidents on one hand or two at most.”
“Why are you leaving if you’ve been here so long?” John asked as they turned a corner and drove under a service area awning.
“Well, I’m not really leaving, just going down to two days a week. It’s a kind of semi-retirement I suppose.”
The two men began by checking all of the car doors on the property to ensure they were locked. They then drove the cart to all of the front doors and offices to check them. After that they began a tour of the property which covered three different car lines and four different buildings.
“So not much goes on here?”
“Naw, not really. Mostly drunks wandering on the property or the occasional thief trying to take something out of the car but otherwise it’s just a matter of sailing around on the golf cart.”
“So the area is pretty quiet?”
“Not really, the Nissan dealership across the street has been robbed a few times. It even got set on fire once, but I was off that day. Only found out by reading the reports from the night before. Then there is the Toyota dealership over there. They have had a lot of stolen cars but no one can figure it out.
“Don’t they have a guard or cameras?” John asked as he looked toward the bright red and white building.
“Sure they do, but every time it happens the guard is found asleep and the cameras always seem to be facing the wrong direction. Never any broken glass or signs of vandalism. It’s as if they have the key to the gate. Suspicious to me, but I guess it’s none of my business.”
John took his hat off and scratched his head as he took in the information. “Are we supposed to keep an eye out over there?” He asked.
“If you want my advice I would say keep your eyes on the seven hundred cars on this lot and leave that one alone Nancy Drew.”
As John began to get out to check a door he heard a scream. He turned to see Roy sitting on the ground.
“What happened?” He asked as he helped the old man to his feet.
“Slipped on the darn tobacco I spit out earlier. Guess it got on the floor of the cart. The old lady told me the stuff would kill someday. Guess this is the day.” The old man mused as he brushed himself off.
John grabbed the door to the office and found it was secure. “This is gonna be a fun night” he whispered as he headed back to the cart.
Jenifer startled in bed as she heard the front door slam. She tilted her head to the left and gazed at the giant red numbers on her alarm clock. She rolled over and stared at the wall as she ran through the activities of the previous night, the troubled marriage that she knew she had to face, and the question of where she wanted her life to go. This she knew was no easy answer.
She rolled on her back and looked at the ceiling for a second before sitting up and swinging her feet over the side of the bed. She sat for several minutes pondering her next move. She couldn’t bring herself to think too far into the future but knew that she had to live moment by moment.
She didn’t want to fight with John and yet that’s all that seemed to come out of her mouth whenever they spoke. She loved him yes, but hated him as well. She looked at her memories of their happy times as if they took place in another lifetime, as if they were flashbacks of a lifelong since departed, and yet she wanted them back.
As she ran her fingers through her hair, she glanced at the floor and noticed the red rose she had received at the restaurant the night before. She bent over and picked it up glancing to the door in case John walked in. She twisted the rose stem in her hand as she walked into the bathroom.
Placing it on the counter, she looked at herself in the mirror. “Who are you?” She said softly to herself as she struggled with her recent decisions. “What are you doing?”
She walked back to her bed and sat on the edge. Picking up a booklet from her nightstand that her friend Amy had given her a few days ago, she looked at the cover. In a mocking tone she read, “Find Peace with God.”
The words almost seemed to mock her as she laughed to herself, “I can’t even find peace with my husband, or my friends, or myself.” She said out loud, “God will have to wait in line.” She opened her nightstand drawer and dropped the booklet inside.
Walking back into the bathroom she slung a towel over the shower curtain, started the water and grabbed the rose off the counter. She filled a cup with water and with a sigh dropped the rose stem into the cup as she began to prepare for her day.