Enduring on the Lake

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chapter 31


Who on earth?!  It’s six in the morning.  Maybe it is a deputy or someone from around the lake knocking to see if anyone is here.  Wait!  Maybe they made it out.  Oh please oh please oh please oh please …. 

I looked out the peep hole then jerked open the door.  “Zane?!” 

“I know.  I look like …”  He stopped and made a noise that was close to a growl.  “I’ve got a damn huge favor to ask.  I wouldn’t except …” 

“Oh shut up!  I mean don’t shut up … ask already.  And come in so I can do something about that split eyebrow.  God, what happened?” 

“That was yesterday and it is just about as good as it is going to get; I just banged it again a couple of hours ago loading some stuff.  And … and I can’t come in until after I ask the favor.  First though, have you heard from your family?” 

“No,” I said unable to say anything else. 

Zane sighed and the said, “That makes this harder.  I wish I could at least ask your father so he wouldn’t go ballistic.” 

“Zane, just ask.  Daddy isn’t here and I’m the one that has to make the decisions.” 

“Right,” he said with a nod.  “I need a place to stay … and I’ve got Max with me.  Things are upside down at home.  John showed up overnight and brought his wife and kids.  Mom and Gran couldn’t just turn them away, they’re a mess.  Apparently they got out of Mobile just ahead of that city going on lock down.  John got the crap beat out of him at a gas station trying to skirt around Atlanta when someone tried to carjack them.  John’s tough and beat them off but he ain’t in good shape.  John and Annie don’t get along too well but Annie likes his wife Sharon so between the two of them they’ll keep things relatively smooth.  Thing is John and Max … John can’t stand Terrance and never has been able to.  He just can’t seem not to equate Max with … anyway it just isn’t healthy for Max to be around John because John just can’t seem to keep his mouth shut more than a day or two at a time when his nerves are up and there is no telling how long they’re going to be forced to stay here.  All their money is tied up in the bank and until they ease up on the withdrawal restrictions he’s not got two pennies to rub together even though his last bank statement tells anyone with brains he’s got a healthy savings account.  I was going to take Max and go to one of the uncles – they needed a spare bedroom at home anyway – but apparently all the cousins are coming home to roost too.”  He stopped and eased down onto the porch like he couldn’t stand anymore.  “Would it be possible for Max and I to stay here until your family shows up?  Hopefully by then I’ll have something figured out.” 

“Are you nuts?!”  Before he could say anything I told him, “If you even think of going any place else I’ll put the kibosh on you along with the evil eye, the hex, and anything else I can think of.” 

He looked up at me and then relaxed.  “Your dad is going to kill me.” 

“No he isn’t.” 

My tone of voice stopped him about half way up off the step he’d been sitting on.  “Syd?  Are you sure everything is ok?” 

I took a deep breath to keep myself from sounding like I was about to faint.  “I honestly don’t know Zane.  I still have hope.  But there’s just this … this feeling.  It comes and goes so I … I don’t know how much credence to give it.  So for now I’m just ignoring it in favor of hope.” 

He finished standing up and he surprised me with a one armed hug.  “You know your dad and mom know what they’re doing.” 

“Yeah.  The problem isn’t my parents.  I wouldn’t worry so much if all they had to do was to get each other out.  It’s my uncle, aunt, and cousin who they won’t leave.  Not that I would want them to or tell them to … that’s not who my parents are … but it adds a lot of complicating factors that … that I’m just … not real confident that even Daddy would be able to … to overcome.  And they still haven’t released any real details.  And with everything else that is starting to happen.  Then there is all that craziness over in the Middle East breaking out … And my God … did you hear about the bomb that was set off last night?” 

“Yeah, I heard,” he said in a dead voice.  “All we can do is focus on what we have on our plate right now.  If you don’t mind I’m going to get Max inside.  We stayed in the truck for a couple of hours at Uncle Hightower’s but it was damp and cold and neither one of us slept all that great.” 

“Oh geez.  Of course.  Don’t listen to me whine.” 

He put his hand out to stop me from rushing towards his truck.  “You aren’t whining.  I don’t want you to think that is what I think.” 

I stopped and shook my head.  “Let’s just get Max in.  And I’ll fix you all some breakfast.  No telling what the day is going to bring.” 

The window came down on the passenger door as we walked towards Zane’s truck.  “Syd!” 

“Hi Max.  You hungry?” I asked as casually as I could. 

Ignoring my question he asked anxiously, “Can we stay?  Really?  Zane said he would ask.” 

“He did and you bet.  C’mon Buddy.  You can pick out which bedroom you want.” 

“I brought my sleeping bag.  Zane said I’m going to sleep on the sofa and he’ll sleep on the porch.” 

“Which just goes to show that Zane isn’t always right all the time … thank goodness.  I don’t think he’d be half so much fun if he was right every stinking time, you know?” 

Max grinned and then looked around in confusion.  “What about your family?” 

Carefully I said, “If my family shows up then we’ll play musical beds.  Don’t worry about it Buddy, I’m not.  Now c’mon.  I feel a batch of muffins just going crazy to get baked.  How do Bacon and Egg Muffins sound?” 

“Like I just gotta try one.” 

I laughed for the first time in what felt like days and ushered them both in.  They cleaned up while I made the muffins but by the time they were baked and consumed Max looked like he was ready to do a face plant into the plastic table cloth on the kitchen table.  Zane got him up and told him to rack out for a little so that he and I could talk and Max didn’t even make a peep as they trudged up the stairs. 

When Zane came back down and told me he was asleep in the small room at the head of the stairs, the one I used when I was Max’s age.  I handed Zane his refilled coffee mug and asked him, “Did you leave him a flashlight?” 

“He’s got his but I doubt he’ll sleep until dark.  He’ll come down looking for food before then and speaking of …” 

“Don’t.” 

“Don’t what?” 

“Start talking about money or whatever it is you were going to bring up.  I can see it all over your face. You know I’ve got it to use.” 

“For your family.” 

There was that feeling again.  A ping where there used to be something that was no longer there.  “Please stop Zane.  I already feed you two lunch on the days you are over here.  It’s just as easy for me to cook for three as it is for one … easier.  At least when you are here I have a reason to cook.  Lately a lot of the time I just don’t even bother … it’s a clif bar or I eat something that doesn’t need cooking.” 

“I’d noticed.” 

“Noticed what?” 

“That you’ve been losing weight.  It doesn’t look good on you.  You should eat.” 

I snorted.  “You say the strangest things.  It doesn’t matter what I look like.” 

I could see him trying to find what Daddy called the man trap and finally he just shook his head.  “It matters because I know why you’re losing weight.  You’re worrying and not taking care of yourself.  I’ve seen a lot of my buddies go through this.  Even if … look, no matter what you have to keep … keep caring about what happens to you.  You aren’t important because of someone else.  You are important for your own sake.  You are unique.  No one else fits in the space you take up.” 

There was a chill in the air and I shivered.  “Zane …” 

“You got a problem with me moving most of that wood into the barn and down in the cellar?” 

“Huh?” I asked confused by the abrupt change of subject. 

“There’s a lot of faces around here that weren’t here last time I was by.  And it’s going to get cooler over the next couple of days.  I don’t know if you’ve heard but they are warning in town that due to the problems cropping up all over there may be some interruptions in service.” 

“The electric is going to go off?  That happens all the time on this side of the lake.  Sometimes the rich people on the lodge side or up in that little vacation cabin enclave will complain about it but it usually isn’t a big deal for us on the po’ side.” 

He shrugged understanding, just like I did, that there were classes of people whether anyone wanted to admit it or not.  He also understood because we belonged in the same class, the working poor.  Zane stretched before taking another careful sip of hot coffee.  “It will matter when people can’t get their computer, tv, radio, xbox, or whatever else working that is using up their time.  It will be when people realize no power means no gas station or grocery store.  Not even the bait ‘n tackle will open … not that they have much left on their shelves anyway.  It will be when people realize no power for most people means no news and no other services either.  This may be the ‘po side but most of the folks here are still used to their modern conveniences.” 

Carefully I leaned against the kitchen counter.  “Daddy always said we couldn’t count on being able to restock our supplies like we do in normal times.  But geez … now I wish I’d gotten more fresh milk and some stuff like that.  I wish I hadn’t slept through Monday, I could use that day back … right along with my crystal ball that’s in the shop.” 

Concerned Zane asked, “You real short on anything?  I could go into town and try …” 

“Huh?!  No!  No … uh sorry for yelling … I just mean getting fresh isn’t worth spending the gas or taking a chance.  Speaking of … if you can bring up groceries I can bring up how banged up you are.” 

“Yeah … yeah I guess you can.”

3 comments:

  1. Really like the emphasis on how everyone is under estimating her - can't wait to see how she "surprises and amazes" everyone.

    Really glad Max showed and brought Zane along.

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  2. So glad you are back to writting Kathy. Thanks so much.

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  3. Thanks for the great story and the new chapters Kathy
    Wayne

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