Friday dawned cold with the temperature back down near freezing. The hope of an early summer was dispelled, along with the illusion of leap frogging two months ahead to May.
I was reminded of Robert Frost’s line, ‘a wind comes off a frozen peak and you’re two months back in the middle of March’. That was about right—for once, it actually felt like the date on the calendar.
The drop in temperature, affected my mood. The elation of yesterday was gone and I was feeling miserable again, missing Sam.
I was tempted to call her up just to see her, but there’d be no point—it’d be a selfish on my part and just delay the advent of the inevitable—Sam and I were done.
I stared at her photo on my desk—a vintage portrait—hair bobbed, a headband round her head and lips gleaming. She looked like a flapper right out of the Twenties. My heart bled, but I forced myself to put the picture in my top desk drawer.
I doubted I’d ever take it out again.
The day went on, about as routine as a day of lectures could be—the only thing that raised my mood was when I went to lunch and passed a newspaper box.
There was a picture of Abe on the front page of the Star and a headline caption that read, Detective Solves Eighty-Year Old Cold Case.
I know it was vain, but I bought the paper and looked inside. Sure enough, my name was there—and Harry’s too—Abe giving us both credit for helping him crack the case.
That afternoon, I walked into my lecture to the sound of applause. The entire class stood to greet me.
It was a touching moment—and I told them—but warned them my goodwill would not extend past the weekend and term papers were still due Monday.
They groaned, as I knew they would, but it felt good to be making a contribution— I kind of hoped Sam saw the paper too and might even recant her ‘teary-eyed nostalgia’ remark, but that was unlikely.
When I got home that night, I checked the phone to see if she called, but again, that was unlikely too.
I consoled myself by making pasta and pouring myself a full glass of Sangiovese, Antolini Mazia.
I decided to watch an old episode of Colombo from my DVD anthology and head to bed early.
Just as I was cuing up the episode, the phone rang. I know it was dumb, but my heart leapt. I picked up immediately.
“Hey, Pal—how does it feel to be a celeb?”
I tried to mask my disappointment. “Hi, Abe—but I could have sworn that was your picture on the Star’s front page.”
“Ha ha. Mitzy bought a dozen copies—she spent all day telephoning her friends.”
“I don’t blame her—cracking an eighty-year old clod case—that’s gotta be a record.”
“Don’t know about that, but I’ll take the compliment. So, Scott—the wife and I are heading out for a night on the town—just wanted to confirm—we’re still on for tomorrow night, right?”
“I’m expecting you at five, Abe. Don’t be late—I want to be there when the anthem’s playing.”
“Hey, don’t forget about dinner, Pal—I hope you made reservations.”
“I did—you’ll like it. See you then.”
The sound of his happy laughter echoed in my ears for some time afterwards. I could picture him in my mind’s eye—all decked out in a suit—off to celebrate his mini triumph with his wife.
I felt a pang of sadness—but drowned it with a gulp of wine, and then another—and within an hour, I was out cold on the couch.
© 2017 – 2018, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.