His One and Only
By Edwina W illiams
(Serialized story–Part 1 of 4)
Part 2 will be posted Sept. 3, 2012
The pounding on the door was relentless and the sound finally roused Addie from her slumber. She was alone in the bed. Where was Jerry? Hadn’t she heard the phone ring earlier? Did she dream that?
Well anyway, the knocking on the front door was real; but apparently Jerry had already gone downstairs to answer it, so she might as well go back to sleep. If Jerry needed her, he’d come back to get her.
But the knocking went on and on. If Jerry went down to answer the door, why didn’t the knocking stop?
As Addie pulled on her worn cotton robe, her eyes fell on the clock on the table beside the bed. 3:22 a.m.
Whatever could anyone want at this hour?
At the head of the steps, she leaned over the railing to where she could see the front door. Jerry was not there and the pounding continued. Addie’s heart began to thump in her chest. For twenty-nine years she had been under Jerry’s loving protection. Why wasn’t he opening the door?
Hesitantly, with trembling knees, Addie went down the stairs.
In the hallway downstairs she turned on a small light and then crossed the hall to one of the windows that flanked the front door. She pulled the curtain aside and peered out into the semi-darkness of her front porch. A nearby street light reflected off a police car parked in front of her house, low beam lights making a pool of brightness in the sultry night.
The man on her porch raised his fist and knocked loudly on her door one more time. She couldn’t actually see him but his shadow indicated the straight stature of a police officer.
She slid the chain off the door and opened it a few inches as she simultaneously flipped the switch on the porch light. After his long knocking session, the police officer looked surprised that she had finally come to the door.
“Mrs. Carter, Ma-am?” He inquired.
“Yes?” Her voice quavered as she answered. Where was Jerry? Something was very wrong.
“I’m Officer Johnson, Ma’am. My partner here is Officer Lewis. May we come in?
Addie pulled her robe a little tighter and opened the door a little wider as she nodded her head.
Once inside the hall, Officer Johnson glanced quickly around and then gestured toward a small chair near the stairway.
“Have a seat, Mrs. Carter. We have some bad news for you.”
Addie sank into the chair and raised her eyes to the earnest young officers whose next words changed her whole life.
“No,” she said hoarsely. “That’s impossible. “Jerry’s upstairs in bed …..” Her words trailed off. Jerry was not upstairs. If he were there, she would not have answered the door.
“Are you sure, it’s him?” she inquired, hope still lingering.
“It’s Mr. Carter, Ma’am. My folks have had an insurance policy with him for the last twenty years. I know him pretty well. It’s him.”
“But how…..why…..?” The questions died on Addie’s lips. Even if these young officers knew why Jerry was out driving in the middle of the night with her unaware he had even left their bed, she might not WANT to know. She fell silent as the world seemed to tilt around her.
Several minutes later, the earnest young voice of one of the police officers—the other one this time—finally penetrated her consciousness once again.
“We don’t want to leave you here all alone. Isn’t there someone we can call?”
She gave them her brother’s name and in her altered state of mind, it seemed that Jeff and his wife Jenny magically appeared the next moment. She was still seated in the small chair and the officers were pacing restlessly in her hallway.
“Come along Addie,” Jenny said, taking her by the elbow and guiding her toward the sofa in the nearby living room. “Jeff and I will take care of everything. I’m going to see if I can find one of your sleeping pills. It will be better if you rest now.”
Obediently, Addie followed all instructions and soon fell into a fitful sleep. The sun was high when she woke up a few hours later with the cold alien thought at the forefront of her brain. “Now I’m a widow.”
(Remember to come back after Sept. 3, 2012 to read Part 2 of this story.)