It was too late to call so she got in the car and drove over there. The house was dark, but she knew he was home. She parked in the driveway, got out, locked the car—an automatic reaction—then unlocked it. What if she needed a fast getaway? She should have parked on the street. It would be more casual, less obvious that her destination was this particular house. But she didn’t know anybody else on the block—where else would she be going?
She stood on the porch. The house was quiet—no sounds of anybody moving inside, no screen glow from any of the rooms, no water running from a bath or toilet. They were in bed, definitely in bed, possibly asleep.
She should have called.
But, it was too late to call and if it was too late to call, it certainly was too late to drop by, to say she was just passing and wondered . . . wondered what?
Well, she could borrow something. A cup of sugar. But she’d driven past two grocery stores and a 7-11 on her way over.
Why was she there?
To talk. A simple conversation, maybe a game of Cribbage, a glass of wine. She remembered his love of games, his competitiveness, that light in his eye when he dealt the cards or lined up the Monopoly money. He’d always loved games. Well, she did too. She loved games.
Perhaps this was a giant game she was playing now. Drew the card that said Call Robert, don’t . . . Don’t what? Don’t drive over there.
Well, it was too late for that. She was there, standing on the front porch, starting to tremble, although she preferred to say she was just shivering a little, got cold so early these days.
She pushed the button to illuminate the dial on her watch. 11:45. Later than she thought. What the hell should she do? Ring the doorbell, say Hi, I couldn’t sleep and wondered if you had a cup of sugar I could borrow and would you like a quick game of gin rummy?
That’s it. That’s what she’d say.
He’d laugh. She was sure it would be he who would answer the door—and he’d say, sure, come on in. I’ll get the sugar and would you like a cup of tea to go with it? Which she surely would.
They’d play gin. He’d win. She’d let him win. Then he’d put an extra blanket on the guest bed—he knew how cold she got—and take her car keys to move the car so he could get out to go to work in the morning.
When she thought it through like that, she didn’t feel so stupid standing on the porch at quarter to twelve. It would be fine, just fine.
She rang the bell.
©2012 Kathleen Coskran