Chapter 28

Abby put the package down on our kitchen table.  I got up and moved some of the dishes to the sink and got a scissor so we could open it up.

“I can’t see a card, can you?” I asked as I gently cut away the layers of protective cellophane.

“It would be so like Ralph to forget a card.  Oh well, he’ll probably call later this morning and I can find out for sure if it was him.”  Abby declared and reached up her arms and stretched her back.

“That’s very good for you,” said Stella.

“Did you hear that Charlie?” Abby exclaimed as she quickly brought her arms down.  “I swear to God she said good!”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake, Abby.  Stella is just a cat.  One I happen to talk for on occasion.  You do know that, right?  Do you not see my lips moving?”

“Sure, but sometimes,” Abby said in a soft voice, “I forget…especially when she makes sounds…strange sounds.”

And then in an even softer, hard to hear voice, Abby murmured, “sounds that do seem like words.”

“I resent the phrase ‘just a cat’,” complained Stella.

I had finished unwrapping the soft white paper and gently pushed some white tissue to the side.

Lying there was a perfectly beautiful yellow rose…and a small white envelope.

Abby had peered over the wrappings and spotted the card also.

“Oh look there is a card,” she said as she reached for it.

But I was quicker and grabbed it before she did.

“Wait.  Let me.”  As I picked it up and turned it over I saw just one word written on the outside envelope.  “Charlie”

Abby who had also read the card, sat down at the table and continued eating her eclair.

“Oh my gosh!” I cried.  “It’s for me!”

I looked over at Abby and squinted my eyes suspiciously at her.

“Is this from you?  You know, to make me feel better?  Considering the anniversary and all that?”

“Nope.  And if you don’t open that envelope pretty soon, I’m going to.”  And she made an attempt to grab it.  But I was too fast.  I moved away and sat down opposite her at the table, holding the card in my hands.

I was almost afraid to open it.  Could it be from Bobby?  Or maybe Jake. I would be happy either way.   But neither knew my real name or my address.  At least I didn’t think so.

“Open it or I’m leaving.”  Stella hurried.  “I have to take a nap.”

Abby looked from Stella to me and then back to Stella.

“Now!” Abby ordered.

“All right, all right,” I said.

I didn’t care what the card said, as long as it didn’t say, “Charlie.  Give this rose to Abby.  She will be so surprised.  Thanks, Ralph.”

Please let it be for me.