During the month of April I participated in the A to Z blogging challenge. A first for me, I attempted fiction for the first time. I had such fun with it that I decided to give it another go.
This time I will be writing a serial type of story.
As I meander through my imagination, I expect an episode to take shape in time to be posted each Tuesday.
If you would like to catch up:Part One of Six
The Red Sweater
Evie heard the squeak of the bathroom door and then a thud as it closed. Those were the two sounds that woke her each morning.
She and Ed have been together for a dozen years. It was a second marriage for both.
As she found out early on, he was a creature of habit. He had his own internal alarm clock, waking up every day at 7:15.
She yawned and stretched. She thought about rolling over and going back to sleep, but then she remembered her commitment. She propped herself up on her elbow and fumbled around for her glasses. She picked up her phone to check the time.
How strange, she thought. It was only 6:15. More proof that Ed hasn’t been himself lately.
Something was bothering him. Whenever she asked him about it, he dismissed it, saying he was feeling a little tired.
“That’s all it is, really,” he would say.
The door squeaked again as Ed came out of the bathroom.
Evie watched as her husband rustled around in his dresser.
“Ed, why are you up so early?” she asked.
He came over to her and gave her a kiss.
They used to joke about how he always brushed his teeth before the first morning kiss.
She called it his CMF kiss. “Your breath is so Crest Minty Fresh”, she would tease.
She noticed he hadn’t brushed today.
“I have to go into work a little early,” he said.
“You didn’t get home until 9:00 last night, she said. “What’s going on?”
“I’m covering for Rachel while she’s out of town,” he said. “Double the work.”
Rachel and Ed were partners. They were co-owners of Old & Yew, an antique and yarn shop housed in a long, low cinder block building down by the docks.
Fifteen years ago Ed lost his first wife, Kathy.
Kathy and Ed were the original owners of Old & Yew.
Rachel, an avid knitter and lover of precious bygone era treasures, was not only a steady customer, but soon became close friends with both Ed and Kathy.
“I felt a warmth of comfort from the first moment I walked into the shop,” Rachel repeatedly told Evie.
She remembered how animated Rachel was when she told Evie all about the shop.
"An old fashioned cow bell on the door announces the comings and goings of customers.
The large space is divided in half with beautiful antiques and unusual vintage items on the right hand side. There are dark walnut breakfronts displaying beautiful old china and crystal.
The drawers of a maple dresser are filled with crisp white linens. Some are hand embroidered with simple cross stitch designs,” Rachel would say as if in awe.
"Ed , one of the owners, sits behind an antique case filled with estate jewelry. He has stories about each of the diamond rings, ruby pendants and emerald bracelets that he was lucky enough to acquire from Aunt Sadie or Grandma Rose’s collection,” Rachel would breathlessly relate.
Rachel would be especially tender when talking about the other side of the room. “That side is Kathy’s creation. She sectioned off an area by placing old large wooden rockers in a circle. Rough pine cabinets surround the cozy ring of old chairs. The cubbies are filled with scrumptious fibers wound into rainbow balls. Loose hanks of shimmering gossamer webs hang from low ceiling rafters,” Rachel would continue.
“A showcase of lovely scarves, hats, sweaters and shawls proudly made by Kathy’s students are tucked here and there among the displays of yarns, needles and hooks. Knitters and crocheters rock and chat away many a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon nestled in Kathy’s cocoon of peaceful,” Rachel would emotionally say.
After Kathy passed away, Ed thought about closing up the shop.
“It’s too much for me,” he told Rachel one afternoon when she stopped in to see how he was doing.
“There are too many memories here,” he added.
Rachel convinced him to take some time before making a decision. She began stopping in daily to check on Ed.
It isn’t clear who had the idea first. It sort of happened naturally that she and Ed became partners.
The day that Rachel took over Kathy’s side, Evie knew that Rachel would honor Kathy’s memory by keeping everything the same.
“It had been a life long dream of Kathy’s,” Rachel said.
Rachel soon asked Evie to come in a couple of times a week to lend a hand.
That’s how Evie and Ed met each other.
“Have you heard from her?” Ed asked, casually.
Evie said, “I got a text from her saying she arrived and she would call me today.”
“Who is this old friend she is going to meet?” Ed asked.
“Someone she went to school with.” Evie answered evasively.
She didn’t like lying to Ed. But she promised Rachel she wouldn’t tell anyone where she really was going or why.
“Do you think you’ll be home in time for dinner?” Evie asked, trying to change the subject.
“Not sure,” he replied.
“It’s my day to come into the shop, you know,” said Evie. “Rachel left me a list of things she wanted me to take care of.”
Ed was now in the walk in closet. Evie could hear clanging of hangers being pushed along the rack.
“Ed,” called Evie. “What are you looking for?”
Just then the phone rang. It was Rachel.
Eve answered, “Rachel?”
“Eve,” Rachel said and then hesitated.
“What is it?” asked Evie.
“Uh, I was wondering.” she finally said. “Has Ed left for work yet?”
“No, he’s right here. Do you want to talk to him?”
Well, yeah, it’s just shop stuff, though. I’ll call him later.”
“How are you?” Evie asked, in an urgent whisper.
“Something bizarre happened here yesterday.” Rachel said. “I knew this was the right place to start.”
“Look, I just want to know if you are all right,” said Evie. “Are you? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Really, I am.”
“Okay. Ed is about to leave for work. I’ll call you in about fifteen minutes.”
Evie hung up the phone just as Ed walked out of the closet.
“Who was that?” he asked.
“Just a wrong number.” she answered.
“Evie, have you seen my red sweater?” Ed asked. “You know, the one that Rachel knitted?”
“I can’t seem to find it,” he exclaimed.