Dusk crept over the horizon with tentacle rays of the sun sipping away the night air like early morning coffee. My lips slip off the porcelain mug, a peach gloss imprint left behind. I inhale the early warmth of air keeping me company on my front porch. The events of last night as fresh on my mind as the amaretto cream and coffee upon the buds of my tongue. I exhale releasing carbon back into the atmosphere, a question answer format of exchange between nature and myself. A dense charge of chirping suddenly breaks out from inside my navy blue jacket elegantly nestled against a cream blouse. My middle finger vaguely throttles against the silence key upon the phone, not wanting to be reminded of work for I knew today would be a day of questions I hand no comprehensive answers for, and for the first time I had to remind myself to breathe. My finger pushes the silence key.
The car temperature gauge drops a few degrees as whimsical drops of rain randomly strike the windshield, a progressive medium of both nature above and the road below as I got closer to the office and the storm closer to me.
“Destination in 2.6 miles,” a voice announced from dashboard G.P.S.
“Thank you Sigmund,” I replied making a casual right turn upon the usual route to the office.
Left side mirror, passenger seat, the file, Nona, my thoughts all cluttered with in a portrait of fragmented dreams and human frailty.
We shift lanes.
Anchored in the pit of my stomach like dead weight; the infamous “what if,” slippery slope as I swallowed each thought. My very own sea urchant of discomfort chartering waters of my abdomen. The earlier morning coffee now a bit argumentative. I couldn’t help but to wonder, what if I’d gotten to see Nona that morning? What might her first words have been? Would shaking her hand, sharing a comforting smile, and escorting her beyond a threshold of hopeless and into the sanity of my office domain have altered any of these past events? My mind and I played a dangerous game and I knew better.
Right side mirror, a car shifts lanes beside me, the file again, Nona. Perhaps the worst of things and always is, remorse. The remorse. I’ve betrayed her somehow a witness t o her gruesome death and have said nothing of it to anyone. A reluctant accomplice in murder, I’ve tarnished something pure and my body began to crack as a single tear escaped it’s ocular prison.
Rear view mirror, backseat…
“NONA!” Her eyes crimson pools of blood, a flush hue of red lightly streaming from their sockets. A single arm out stretched, she reaches out towards me, the puncture wounds of the railroad spike still fresh in the palm of her hand. The tires scream out loud before I can, my reaction causing the vehicle to peel from the highway, cutting off other cars, and halting just shy of the guard rail. My chest expands and contracts at pulse speed taking in deep panic breaths, both my hands clutching the wheel I await a subconscious voice of reasoning.
“Route not recognized,” Sigmund insists.
I cautiously step out the car sacrificing my dry clothes to the rain in attempt to gather my wits. The driver door still open, the file still resting as passenger, and the backseat empty.
I step into the lobby of my office, the carpet soft and comforting to a pair of cold feet. My navy blue heels in hand, not wanting them soaked. Methra stands at her desk, holding back a smile and a highlighter in hand recognizing my demeanor.
“I’ll get you a towel. Wait a second and don’t go into your office.” Methra states, her hands open in a stay-there motion. She disappears into another room. I opened the door to my office, wanting to relieve myself of the baggage I was carrying, and set my briefcase on my desk and Nona’s file on top. I relieve my hair from it’s bundle removing the clip. The wet surface upon my neck in addition to the central air awakens chills on my right leg.
“Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves,” a voice interjects from the corner wall.
“Methra!” I call out startled by a monotone figure in a dark suit but down graded casual undershirt. His complexion tan under a lightly dirty beard, and his eyes hidden behind darken shades. He pulls a picture mounted from the wall.
"We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth," he continues reading from the picture in hand.
“You actually tell people this stuff?” He removes his shades tucking them on the collar of his undershirt as Methra hurries inside towel in hand. I quickly take the towel from Methra wrapping it around me concealing most of my legs. He places the picture of Virginia Satir back in place beside Eleanor Rosch.
“I told you not to come into your office.”
“Yes thank you, Methra”
The gentleman admiringly winks at her and Methra flirtatiously smiles back frozen in place seemingly smitten.
“That’ll be all Methra.” I intervene dismissing her.
“Detective actually, detective Olwen and you’re Aldra I presume.”
“And your first name?”
“I never tell anyone my first name,” he states taking a seat by her desk… “but you can call me Guy if you think detective Olwen is a bit sexist.”
It didn’t take long for his presence to become unwelcome.
“Don’t you think this is a bit improper you just showing up like this?”
“Nice color.” His eyes at the carpet or possibly upon the dense peach gloss coating my toes, I quickly retreat behind my desk taking a seat from his wandering view.
“Detective, I’ve got several patients today and really no time for interviews. This is highly unorthodox you appearing here this way and without proper notice.”
“You know what I think is improper…your card on a young lady’s dead body.” He literally tosses at me. My card stained with blood. Nona’s blood within a zip lock bag resting on top of Nona’s file. The irony couldn’t be more staggering.
“As for today’s clients I’ve already had your gracious assistant crossing them off and as I see it, you might as well cancel the rest of the week.”