The Paperback Edition…
I gently opened the flap and pulled out a white card.
It said, “Charlie. I hope this makes you happy. Seeing you always makes me happy.”
I immediately got tears in my eyes. I took a deep breath and exhaled a little shakily.
I handed it over to Abby who was impatiently reaching for it.
“NOT SIGNED!!! IT’S NOT SIGNED!!!. Abby yelped as she read the card.
“That’s it. I’m done.” Stella stood up, stretched quickly and jumped down to the floor. She headed off to the top of the living room sofa…to begin one of her many daily vigils of the front sidewalk.
“I can’t believe it’s not signed! What torture!” Abby disgustedly tossed the card back down on the table, got up and started to clear away the last of the dishes.
I looked at her with indignant shock.
“YOU can’s believe it!” I said. “YOU can’t believe it…how do you think I feel?”
“For the first time in months I have something… maybe kind of swell…happening to me and…it’s a secret!” I shook my head in utter exasperation.
But then I looked at that beautiful, delicate rose again. I picked it up and inhaled the unmistakable scent that only a rose can produce.
I smiled and carefully laid it back in the box.
“Abby…do you know if there’s a smallish vase around…” I turned toward the sink but Abby had gone.
I got up and walked over to the stove. I reached up and opened a seldom used cupboard.
“I think this is where mom kept some vases…” I said to myself…since no one else was listening to me…
I rummaged around and behind some larger ones…there was a small bud vase. It had little pink flowers on it that were kind of faded…but it was the smallest of the lot so it would have to do.
I took it down and checked for any cracks…finding none…I went over to the sink and filled the it with water.
“Why doesn’t he want me to know who he is?” I asked Abby…who had returned to the kitchen.
“Well…I hate to say this…but…maybe he’s a married guy and just wanted to do something nice for you…like maybe Jake? He probably would have noticed how much you were hurting last night.”
Abby was speaking very carefully, not wanting to upset me too much by using the word “married” and “Jake” in the same sentence.
I carried the vase over to the table, put it down and carefully added the rose and the greenery that had come with it. I gently touched a yellow petal.
“Or Bobby?” I mused. “He did seem to be paying more attention to me than usual last night…or at least I think so.”.
“I just hope it’s not from some creep who’s going to start stalking us!”