Thursday, March 25, 2004

She's Walking With A Limp Day!

That's all we know. Thirty three days without a trace and she walks back into town without saying a word. Walks back into town with a limp. That's all we got until she starts talking.

Some say Red knows something. She went up to Red's place the night she got back. The next morning, you met Red on his sidewalk as he was packing up his hatchback. He called you and said he needed you to come by early.

"Want this chair?" he asked you. His tweed easy chair was sitting on the curb. There were a few boxes sitting behind his bumper waiting to fill the little remaining space in his hatchback.

"What's all this about Red?"

Red just hefted the boxes one by one, straining to squeeze them into the space, until he slammed the hatch door shut. Then he came over and placed his hand on the head of the chair.

"If you don't take it I'm just gonna leave it out here on the curb." He looked up at his building. "Mae's upstairs."

You flipped your neck to look up at Red's window. "Mae?"

Red was already climbing into his car. You ran to his door and knocked on the window. Red started the car and rolled the window down.

"She came back last night," he said.

"Where's she been? Is she okay?" You realized then that Red was going to be gone for good in just seconds. "Red?"

"Go up and ask her man," he said. Then he looked up and smiled at you. Then he drove away.

The entrance to Red's building was always unlocked. You walked upstairs and knocked on his door.

When it swung open, Mae was standing before you looking like a stranger. "Kelly. How you been?" she said.


She limped away to the kitchen leaving the door open for you. "I can't find where Red keeps his coffee. But I'm gonna make some. Have a seat."

You looked around the apartment. It wore the sleeplessness of the night before. You didn't sit.

"Where'd Red go, Mae? Where you been?"

Mae was rooting through the cabinets. "You wanna take a shower Kelly? You can if you want."

You took another look around at the dismantled towers of books and CD's. Through the bedroom door you could make out dresser drawers sitting in the middle of the floor. There was the discoloration in the carpet where the easy chair used to sit. Why didn't he just leave it?

Mae stood up holding a bag of filters and a can of Maxwell House. She said, "Ta da!"

"Jesus Mae" you said.

Happy She's Walking With A Limp Day!