Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chatter Chatter

            Turn the lights on. That’s all he said, all I remember, and then he was gone.
            “I got up, fumbled for my slippers, my robe, the switch, turned the lights on and saw I was alone. I hadn’t heard a door open or close—missed in the mumble for my slippers and robe, I guess, but I was alone.
            “I looked in every room. Didn’t take long. You can see it’s a small house. He was gone. I was there alone.
            “So. What? I sat down to think, wrapped my robe tighter to collect myself, hold myself in. The bathrobe he gave me last Christmas. No. Two years ago. 2011. Yes, that’s it.
            “Surprised me. Perfect color. My favorite deep blue.
            Like your eyes, he said. That’s all. He was never one for much talk or conversation. Left that to me, he said.
            Guess I talk enough for 2, I said.
            Or 3. Our son, like him, not much conversation.”
She reties the robe, smiles. Just enough.
“Just the right amount. Not like me. Talk talk talk.” She laughs again.
How do you know what to say? our son once said.”
            “And he said, before I could explain, he said, She doesn’t have to say anything. It’s just chatter chatter chatter.”
Bright smile—tears. “He was right. We all knew it. Chatter chatter chatter.”
            A laugh. “At least I’m good at it. Got to be good at something. I’m good at talk.”
            Stands up. Reties the robe again. “Well, sorry for calling you in the middle of the night, Officer, but the way he left like that—an old man.
“No, he won’t be back. Look. Everything gone. Turn the lights on. That’s what he meant, turn the lights on and look. “
The closet door gapes; the closet half-empty.
            “I’m sorry for calling you. Really. Nothing to do. I know. No crime committed. I’ll go back to bed. Sorry. I’m sorry. Just needed somebody to talk to, but that’s not your job, is it?”


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