The sudden chiming of bells startled him. Looking back out the windows, he saw that Jessie Mae was no longer standing where she’d been before. He at first ignored the doorbell thinking it must be her at his door, but the bells became one long sonorous clanging as if though someone were resting a palm against the bell. Go away, he muttered under his breath. But the unwanted visitor did not go away, so he was forced to stop and go see who was at the door. When he looked out the peephole, he didn’t see anyone, so he was about to head back out to the garage. “Mr. Evans,” the voice called out as if though she’d seen his face when he was looking through the peephole. “Are you home, Mr. Evans? Mrs. Evans?” It was his neighbor from down the street, Aurora. A Jehovah’s Witness who stopped by once or twice a week to talk to Lenora about “Jehovah and the paradise that was waiting on the other side of death but only for those who served Jehovah.” He had no interest of talking to Aurora. That’s why he always invented some chore or fix-it project that needed to be competed and excused himself whenever she was inside the house. He ignored Aurora and headed back to the garage. He didn’t go directly back to stacking the packages in the freezer. He waited for the quiet that settled throughout the house when she finally stopped ringing the doorbell. Once she went away, he got back to work.
Jessie Mae was kneeling in her garden to investigate the fragile petals of the sleepy morning glory flowers while Larry was stacking the packages of flesh in the freezer. She’d seen Aurora knocking on Lenora’s door and had been surprised when her friend didn’t open the door and welcome the young woman inside. Lenora seemed to enjoy talking with Aurora even though she’d said she could never convert to a witness because something about it seemed cultish. “I get the feeling that all of them are going to get together for assembly and drink poisoned Kool-Aid and I can’t do that girl. I don’t want to go until he,” she pointed up toward the sky, “calls me to come home.” Still, Lenora was the only one on their street who didn’t hide behind closed doors and curtains when Aurora and her friends knocked on their doors. That’s really strange. Lenora never avoids Aurora. I’ll call her later to see if she’s taken to hiding out too, she laughed to herself. Such beautiful flowers, her thoughts diverted back to the work at hand. I wish I could get them all to bloom at the same time. It would be so beautiful to have them all open at once. Next door, Larry was thinking to himself, It’s not all going to fit, as he stacked the packages in the freezer. At the same time, Jessie Mae’s four-year-old neighbor and his mother came outside and sat on their porch. The little boy was singing a song for his mother, one he’d learned in school. When he’d finished singing, his mother applauded and told him how wonderful he sounded. His sweet voice was like a pickaxe to Jessie Mae’s heart. She wiped away tears with the back of her hand as she forced herself to keep her attention on her flowers. Her neighbor launched into another song and the tears welled in her eyes making it difficult for her to focus on the flowers.
When Jessie Mae was pushing her trash cart down to the curb, Larry was standing before the mirror in his second floor bathroom admiring the freckles of blood that dotted his face, a galaxy splayed across the bridge of his nose. Though he’d been careful not to stain the floor with blood, his clothing and face and neck held traces of his wife’s blood. He brought his fingers up to touch his face and he licked the sweet nectar from his finger.
As she was walking back up her driveway, Jessie Mae glanced up toward her neighbor’s bathroom window. From where she was standing, she could make out the silhouette of his body. She’d stood in this exact spot on more occasions that she would ever admit to anyone watching Larry, her best friend’s husband. Guiltily, her eyes slid down to their front door to make sure Lenora hadn’t opened the door and was standing there. When she saw that the door remained closed, she went back to watching the man she’d loved since the day she met him.
When she heard the mail truck pulling to a stop behind her, she tried to avert her eyes quickly so Vince, who’d been delivering their mail for the past four years, wouldn’t realize he’d caught her once again staring up in Larry and Lenora’s bathroom window.
Peace & Love,
*Note: Installment One can be found here.
(c) 2016 by Rosalind Guy