I thought things might settle down for a while but I was wrong. Mom plays nurse to Roady who soaks up her attention like I never did a nice thing for him. He lounges on the couch, with a hand knit pillow under his head. Mom strokes his fur and he gives a contented groan. It may have a lot to do with the pain killers, but he doesn’t seem to know that. If she gets up, he follows her with his eyes and gives a gruff if she goes into the next room. She hobbles using a cane. If he hears the cane go silent, then he starts to bark.
I can’t believe what I’m witnessing. He associates the blissful high of the meds with her presence. As I’m taking this in, there’s a knock at the door. I open it to the sheriff. He delivers a subpoena to Mom. She’s to testify in court as part of a suit against the other driver in the accident.
A week later, Roady is weaned off the meds but he still whimpers when my mother leaves the house. The boys get dropped off at Vacation Bible School conveniently starting this morning. Mom and I go to the courthouse.
I sit on a hard wood bench like I’m in church waiting as Mom is briefed on what to expect. I brought a handbook on electrical installations that Jerry lent to me. I’m focused on studying circuit diagrams when I look up. Across the way, in the front row, there’s Anne.
Of course, I should have expected her to be here. She doesn’t see me. I wonder if I should sit further back, hide.
She has not called or texted since our last conversation. With Roady’s accident and all that brought on, I haven’t thought about what to do. Should I do something? She told me not to come back which meant she didn’t want to see me again, right? I don’t even know exactly what went wrong. That’s worth knowing if I can muster the courage.
She turns and catches my eye. There’s no smile or wave, and I realize, the pained look on her face is not because of me. It’s for Bobby. I hope my face reflects that I understand but I never know for sure what I’m communicating to her. My track record isn’t that great.
I listen as Mom gives her testimony. When she gets to the part where she sees the other car coming through the red light and knows the motorcyclist doesn’t “have a chance in hell” to get out of the way, I hear soft sobbing from a woman sitting next to Anne. Must be Bobby’s mother. Anne is gripping her hand and her head is bowed, clearly crying too.
For some reason this scene of grief makes me feel guilty. Who am I to be moving in on this sweet woman who lost her first love? I’m a louse. I need to leave town, escape a new trail of mistakes. It’s time.
Read the “Roady Series” from the beginning by choosing it in categories. Learn more about the author at “ClareGraith.com”