It’s a summer afternoon in Texas. A dull wind blows through empty streets as AC generators whir mad at work. Sun-lit balconies stay deserted while TV sets play Sunday cable within, only lazy church bells ring attendance by the hour.
Madam S is busy trotting about her backyard with a shovel, she had to fixate the patch between the oaks every week or the damned pug would dig his way into the ground. (Soil got loose this time of the year). Otis watched from the patio, drooling.
The hammock Maddy and Madam S put up last evening swung in the breeze. It’s still sweltering, they had to wait till at least 8 when sun went down to enjoy it. If Maddy visited today she had to remember to give him Bob’s contact. A Nevilsville curveball was something the old woman could live with, but it would only be a matter of time before the past caught up with her. And good people are hard to come by.
It was a foggy winter evening when Madam S landed in Texas. The trees in her backyard garden had turned skeletons after shedding. Hell, skeletons lined the way from airport to her new cottage – an ironical welcome to her retirement life.
At her age Madam S didn’t have appetite for the foolery that people indulged in the name of socializing, definitely not of the Welcome to Nevilsville Night sort the neighborhood folks threw her. So much for a reclusive retirement, wasn’t this town supposed to be boring? The two of them would resort to silence in the company of others, and Maddy instantly became her favorite.
Later in the evening when air cooled down, Madam S and Maddy sipped tea in porcelain cups from her cupboard, the soaked marble cake leaving a brown trail after each dip.
“Do you want some to take home? I baked one fresh last night.”
“You should let me hang that in the patio, chandeliers weren’t meant to lie around dirty garage floors…”
“Eat cake kid, I’m old enough to know what they were meant for.”
“I’m hoping to get rid of it, soon.” She added as an afterthought.
It would seem that life was filled with irony. After his father’s death last year, Maddy had been spending more time in her backyard. His mom didn’t want him around, the fourteen year old had too much energy for her to handle. But the kid was a sweetheart.
The chandelier lay there alongside Madam S’ garden sickle, drills and her tool set. That reminded her –
Madam S jotted BOB on a piece of paper followed by ten digits, and handed it to Maddy.
“Call this guy if Molly locks you up in the attic again, he lives by the highway. I can’t always hop to your house when you get into trouble.”
“You worry too much. Mom’s glad I’m away, not been herself since father died.”
“On second thought, can I have another bite of that cake?”
Madam S headed to the kitchen table, Otis tailing after her. She did feel for Molly – life is hard. Couldn’t have been easier with an abusive husband in a town with naked trees for company 9 months of the year.
Well that had been taken care of. Partially.
Madam S turned around at the back door to see Maddy leap onto the hammock, hoisted right above where his father lay, between the oaks. She smiled. Bob was a good man.