Mary Anticipates Chatting With David, Chapter 17, Phantom Love

Mary awoke with one of her favorite nursery rhymes running through her head. Only an hour and forty-five minutes and she could chat with David. She tossed back the sheet, stepped out of bed and gathered her clothes for the day. The words to the rhyme came to her lips.

“A-tisket a-tasket, a green and yellow basket, I wrote a letter to my love, and on the way I dropped it.”

She showered, still humming the tune and making a mental note to find her copy of the Ella Fitzgerald version to play during the opening segment of her radio show that evening. Happiness spilled over as she contemplated her day. First, some late-afternoon breakfast and then she would boot up her computer. She couldn’t wait to get online with David.

Downstairs in the kitchen, the hands of the clock seemed to stand still as she made an omelet and fixed her first cup of tea for the day. She pushed aside the curtains on the window by the breakfast nook to let in the afternoon sunshine.

“Let the merry sunshine in, let the merry sunshine in. Open all the windows, open all the doors and let the merry sunshine come in.”

A good thing no one could hear her singing Mother Goose rhymes to herself this afternoon. She carried her dishes to the sink and washed up, her eyes drinking in the beauty of a late spring day. She caught a glimpse of Jared hauling brush from between the fence and some boxwoods. He limped a little and she bit her lip. She ought to tell him he could take all summer to do the work—she wasn’t expecting it to be finished in a week.

He put the debris in the wheelbarrow and swabbed his face with a bandana. He tossed his gloves on top of the branches and reached down to snag a water bottle resting against the flowerbed’s stone border.

She debated whether or not to go outside and check on his progress. The outdoors tugged at her and she suddenly longed to feel the warm rays of the sun on her face. Before she could change her mind, she marched over to the back door and pulled it open.

Mary stopped in the center of the patio, raised her face to the sun and closed her eyes. The warmth on her face, the way the light played on her eyelids, brought back a rush of happy summer memories of when she and Jared played as children. She stood that way for several minutes, letting the memories and the sun wash over her body, taking strength from both.

“Mary? Are you all right?”

Mary lowered her head and opened her eyes, loath to let go of the warm, happy place. Jared stood watching her from the patio’s edge. “I’m fine, just enjoying the sunshine.” She shaded her eyes, wishing she’d brought her sunglasses with her. “It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed such a beautiful day.”

Jared quirked an eyebrow. “You don’t get out much, do you?”

She shook her head and shrugged. “Life is simpler when you stay inside.”

He took another swig of water. “Life can be complicated. But not engaging life face to face creates its own set of difficulties. Sometimes we can run away from something when we’re not moving at all.” He capped the bottle and put it on a wrought iron table.

Mary squirmed under the intense blue of his gaze. To redirect the conversation from her life, she blurted out the first thing that came to her mind. “What are you running away from?”

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Phantom Love is copyrighted and cannot be used in any form without permission from Sarah Hamaker.

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