This is the second part of the short story I started yesterday. You can read part 1 here.
6 Hours (part 2)
That was the signal to retire for the evening. I accepted my mother’s invitation and walked upstairs to my old bedroom. They hadn’t altered the space since I moved out 35 years ago. It was as if I had stepped into a time warp filled with long forgotten heroes and hobbies. It was a museum of me.
I dozed off in a fog, slept in fits, and awoke disoriented. What year was it? Shouldn’t I have been wearing my jammies instead of boxers? When the webs fell from my mind and mouth, I checked out my disheveled appearance in the mirror. The flaming zit on my upper lip confirmed my fears. I was back in tenth grade. I half expected “Dogface” Ryan to step out of the closet and chuck an eraser at me.
I trudged down the stairs.
The sounds and smells consummated the voyage back to my youth. Burning toast, cracking knee joints, splattering bacon, creaking floor boards, poaching eggs, and a morning sneeze or two. Dad’s newspaper crinkled as he flipped through its pages. Amazingly, a pure affection for my parents flooded my being. My senses reminded me of their nurturing love where my memory had failed.
“Morning, dear. How do you want your eggs? It was nice to have you sleep over. Won’t Ellen be worried about you? You should call her.”
My first wife Ellen wouldn’t be worried at all, but I’d long ago stopped trying to correct my mother’s misconceptions. Perhaps if I’d practiced that discipline with either of my wives, I wouldn’t be single again.
“She’s fine, Mom. Scrambled, please. How’s that cut?” I said, pointing to her head.
She reached up and touched the bandage, which showed a trace of clotted blood. “Now where did that come from?”
The doorbell rang. Mom could not be dragged from her food preparation and Dad hadn’t heard it without his hearing aids in.
Two policemen stood in the doorway. “Is Mrs. Dumont in?”
What now? “Is something wrong, officer?”
“No, we’re just checking up on her. You know, after that business at the bank in Albany yesterday.”
Panic. “Mom, can you come out here, please?”
Mom came shuffling in wiping her hands on her apron. When she wasn’t cooking, she was wiping her hands on her apron.
“Peter, are these friends of yours? Do you boys want some breakfast? How do you like your eggs?”
“We’re fine, Ma’am. Just checking to see if you’re OK. I’m glad you had that wound taken care of.”
“Well isn’t that so very thoughtful of you. Peter, you have such nice friends. If you boys want to go out and play together, don’t be too long. Breakfast will be ready soon.”
The policemen, I suspect, were almost as confused as Mom.
“No, Ma’am. We’re with the State Police and…” He was interrupted by a crackle of static and a garbled voice from his walkie talkie. He answered it as I gawked at my mother.
“We have to answer this call, but it looks like you’re doing OK, Ma’am. Call us if you need anything. Sorry to interrupt your breakfast.”
They returned to their idling squad car and Mom to her idling eggs. I chased her down. “Mom, were you in Albany yesterday?”
“Why would I be in Albany? That’s almost a thousand miles away.” I could have explained that we didn’t live in Illinois anymore but it hardly seemed worth it.
Dad finally looked up from his paper. “Did you read about this bank robbery in Albany yesterday? In broad daylight. One of the thieves was killed and a bystander was shot.”
“Give me the paper, Dad.”
“Jimmy’s a faker? What are you talking about?”
“Put in your hearing aids, Dad. I have a feeling you’re going to need them.” I grabbed the paper.
…to be continued…