The Paperback Edition…
Abby put the package down on the kitchen table. I got up and carried 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 just like Ralph to forget a card. Oh well, he’ll probably call me later this morning and we can know for sure.” Abby said confidently. Then she reached up her arms and stretched her back.
“That’s very good for you,” said Stella…who watched every move that Abby made…thinking…I’m sure…that another morsel of food could be placed on her plate at any given moment.
“Did you hear that Charlie?” Abby exclaimed as she quickly brought her arms down to her sides. “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?”
“Well, sure I do…but sometimes,” Abby said in a soft voice, “I forget…especially when she makes sounds…strange sounds.”
“I resent the phrase ‘just a cat’,” complained Stella…to no one in particular.
I had opened the box and finished unwrapping the soft white paper. I gently pushed some white tissue to the side.
Lying inside the box was one, beautiful yellow rose…and a small white envelope.
Abby had peered over the wrappings and had also spotted the envelope.
“Oh look!!’ she said. “There is a card,” and she started to reach for it.
But I was quicker and I grabbed it before she did.
“I got it.” As I picked it up and turned it over I saw just one word written on the front of the envelope. It said…”Charlie”
Abby…who had also read the card…sat down in her chair and took a bite from her eclair and said, “Well…this is interesting.”
“I can’t believe it!” I cried. “It’s for me!”
I looked over at Abby who was no longer so interested in the package 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 damn 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 from Jake? I would be happy either way…really. But neither knew my real name…or for sure…my address.
At least I didn’t think so. After the incident last night, I wasn’t so sure of anything.
“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.
“I’m with her…open it!” Abby ordered.
“All right, all right,” I said. “Sometimes…anticipation can be fun…”
At this point…I didn’t really care what the card said or who it was from…as long as it didn’t say, “Charlie. Hand this rose over to Abby. She will be so surprised. Thanks. Ralph..”