Sunny days and a surprise visitor changes one woman's life.
|It's a lovely sunny day. I am reading a terrific new mystery novel. It is one of those I don't want to end, yet can't wait to see who did the crime.
I spent the morning drinking coffee, putting dinner in a crock pot, then congratulating myself for doing most of the housework yesterday. The rest of my day is free to indulge in whatever I want. Maybe I will call or text Donna and see if she is free for lunch. It has been a month since I saw my best friend.
On a summer day like this, as teenagers, we would have been making plans to meet up with boyfriends or going to an unchaperoned party. What groovy days, laying on towels under golden rays with Sun-In on our hair, wearing a bikini, Coppertone or baby oil smeared on our skin. We were going for a Michele Phillips' look; tan, blond, and thin California girls. The portable radio on WQXI FM, playing Hendrix, Cream,or Janis Joplin and we'd be singing along. Exciting innocent days for us as the world watched Vietnam and a fight for racial civil rights on TV.
A friendly tap at the door is probably Fed-ex. Everyone is using delivery services for on-line shopping.
Although it's August, I am ordering Christmas gifts. You know, I used to love malls with bright shiny decorations, two year olds climbing on Santa's lap bringing back memories of my Wendy. How I struggled to get a smile, like every other parent promising the perfect present. Not a doll, but a fire engine, Wendy explained the "cool" foam, not water, to put out the fire.
It's so easy and well, lazy, to use a debit card on the Internet. Shoot, I can even have it gift wrapped. It just makes sense, saving shipping charges since it goes straight to their house.
My Wendy's always been a strange one, aspiring to be a firefighter. Right now, she's living at the station, taking training after getting a B.S. degree from USC. She wants to put her life on the line, riding up in the "cherry picker" to save children from a flaming, dangerous building or wherever she is needed. She used to beg me to take her to our local station to go up in the lifter. When she was three, I went by as a special gift for her birthday. Wendy, the Captain and I went up in the picker. One of the guys put the cat "Sizzles" on the upper floor of their practice tower and Wendy got to rescue it. She talked about it for days!!
Jerking my brain back to reality, is a persistent door knock. Someone doesn't have patience. What if it is an elderly person with a walker or cane? That might be me someday, after all. People seem to be in such a hurry, like it's a matter of life or death.
It's also the time of the year for Girl Scout cookies. Wendy always won for most boxes sold for her troop. How much should I spend? I am thinking, “Thin Mints” or the chocolate coconut ones, "Somoas", adding up the cost. Every year they go up fifity cents. Heck, Edy's Ice Cream even has a flavor for each one now.
I unlock the dead bolt on door. Joe always locks it when he leaves for work. Guess he feels like he's taking care of his wife.
A tall man stands there, with a nice smile, in a Maytag uniform. He has an official looking tag with his photo.
"Howdy there, how are you doing this lovely day?"
I try to match the photo with this man but sunshine gets in my eyes, making me blink.
I say, "Sorry, wrong house. I have a Whirlpool. I thought Maytags didn't need repairs. You know, the commercial?"
I laugh at my attempt at humor.
It happens so quickly, a foot in the door, gloved hand over my mouth. No time to scream. An oily rag stuffed in my mouth, hands tied roughly.
I want to say, "You can have everything!"
He must want money or stuff to sell for drugs.
I can't breathe, I'm drowning.
The fear! Sweat pouring, my heart wants to jump from my chest!
I smell then feel urine escaping, my bowels let go.
I'm young, fifty. No trip to Hawaii, no grandkids.
I see a knife crimson red dripping, know my tomorrows are yesterdays.
My body isn't mine.
I am watching a movie scene. A woman, terrified eyes that scream, is being stabbed in the chest over and over.
By Kathie Stehr