After my lunch date with Marilyn, I returned to my office but couldn’t work. I spent the rest of the afternoon pondering my life—but it was very frustrating. There were as many questions as answers.
I thought of myself as a stick floating down a river, being slowly carried along by the whim of the current. That current brought me to this office where I now sat, occupying professor Shaw’s old chair.
He was my mentor and meant a lot more to me than he ever knew—but now, he was gone and there was a gaping hole nothing seemed to fill—until now.
Marilyn filled that gap. I wanted to put into words what she meant to me. It was early in our relationship, but already, she meant so much more than Samantha.
I could go days without seeing Sam and be fine with that. Marilyn, on the other hand, I needed to be with every minute of the day.
I glanced at the clock—it was already five. I just had time to go home, shower and change and drive to her place.
The mere thought of her was making my heart beat fast in anticipation.
When I got downtown, the windows of The Cosy Book Nook were lit up, glowing cheerily in the dusk.
There were no eager school children buzzing about, but the shop looked homey and friendly—the kind of bookstore I would have gladly spent hours in when I was a child.
I had to park down the street and walk back—I didn’t mind—it gave me an opportunity to admire the buildings.
I loved the old storefronts, built during Victoria’s reign, when the Canadian flag was the Union Jack. The apartments above the stores had the tall narrow windows typical of that time.
As I approached the bookshop, I saw a movement behind the colored curtains on the second floor. I paused to gaze up at Marilyn’s shadow.
I was savoring the experience. I felt like a courtly lover worshipping his Lady from afar.
It was then I noticed another figure, a few doors down, huddled in an alleyway, also watching. I froze, and gazed in silent awe, as a stocky, older man, quietly observed the shop.
I couldn’t make out his features, except to see he was wearing a fedora-style hat and a lightweight overcoat. I decided to wait and see what he’d do, but he just remained in the shadows.
I had the impression he was an older man—definitely in his late fifties or mid-sixties—burly, and still physically menacing.
I don’t know if he spotted me, but in an instant he melted back into the alley and was gone.
Just then, a young couple, turned the corner and walked past the alleyway laughing. He may have heard them coming.
I crossed the street to the alley and peered in. It was a short passageway that led back to a laneway filled with garages.
I was tempted to go in and explore, but felt a tingling sensation at the base of my skull. I had a strong premonition of impending danger.
I backed off, quickly crossing the street to the small door adjacent the main doors of the bookshop. I rang the bell and heard a loud click as the door unlocked.
I didn’t relax until the door was securely locked behind me.
It was evident to me now that Abe’s instincts were right—Marilyn was in danger—and since I was evidently falling deeply in love with her, my life was threatened too.
© 2017 – 2018, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.