In the four years Lisa lived in the house, this was the first time she was thankful her father had built a fence around the backyard. Twenty years ago he bought the property for $59,000, right before housing prices skyrocketed in the area. Within two years its value jumped to $120,000, and it was now worth $185,000. He rented it out to a family for ten years, and when they left, her father, now widowed, decided to move in. Two years later he died, and Lisa owned an 1100-square-foot ranch with one- and one-half baths and three tiny bedrooms.
Lisa settled into the lounge chair and sipped her wine. A warm breeze whisked loose strands of hair in front of her eyes, and she brushed them away slowly. They used to sit out here on the weekends, sipping wine and talking. Sometimes Glen would run an extension cord from the house and set up his C/D player on the picnic table, and they would invariably listen to a medley of Motown tunes, Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT being a favorite—his favorite, not hers. Lisa found it interesting that a song about an unappreciated woman not getting her due could be so beloved by someone whose actions of late was concrete proof that his lack of RESPECT towards women was, in her opinion, innate.
Lisa felt something wet against her leg. Phoebe had deposited a filthy, soggy tennis ball on the edge of the chair, and Lisa guessed it was Glen’s, though how it got in the backyard was puzzling. They always played tennis on Saturday mornings, but Lisa had to stop six months ago after pulling a tendon. Even though within a few months she had recovered enough to play, she never went back. She did notice that about six weeks after he started going to the tennis club alone, he would return in a sullen mood, often lasting the rest of the day. That was the first sign, she thought.
It’s not filthy or soggy, but it IS a tennis ball!
I have no affiliation with the tennis ball. I just like it.
Lisa wasn’t exactly sure when he first started his relationship with “her.” She had asked Glen the day he moved out but received only vague answers, and Lisa realized almost immediately that it didn’t matter.
What did matter was his reaction to her response.
“Thank God we’re not married.”
She had almost laughed out loud after he dropped the pile of CDs he had been carrying, Aretha receiving even less respect as her disc lie under a pile of scratched Temptations.
“What kind of a response is that?” he had asked her.
“An honest one,” she had replied.
Still, she couldn’t help feeling that there had been a reason why she hadn’t wanted to get married during those four years with Glen. Maybe that’s why she hadn’t gone through any kind of breakup breakdown.
She had expected Glen to cheat.
ONE MONTH AFTER GLEN MOVED into her house, she received an angry phone call from a woman named “Clare.” Lisa surmised after their conversation that Glen had dumped Clare about four months before, they were together for three years and he left her for a woman named “Robin.” Lisa felt nauseous as she hung up the phone, right after Clare wished her luck and said: “I give you three years – four years tops.” She never told Glen about her talk with Clare and she now silently berated herself for keeping quiet. Would telling him have altered the course of events? Probably not. But she suddenly wished he were here so she could tell him.
PHOEBE’S BARK MADE LISA JUMP. She tossed the slimy ball, barely making it beyond the clothesline pole. Phoebe quickly scooped it up and trotted off toward the flower bed.
Flowers. Lisa jumped up and walked along the fence. Not a speck of dirt had been disturbed. She inspected the long row of flowers that stretched along one side of the yard. Not a purple flower in sight.
PHOEBE WAS DETERMINED TO SLEEP in her new caretaker’s bed, and by two a.m. Lisa was too tired to care anymore. The problem wasn’t so much that the dog insisted on the same comfort as Lisa. The problem was that Phoebe was determined that no airspace remained between canine and human.
I am going to pretend that the snow is a white, fluffy blankie!
Before she turned out the light for the last time, Lisa glanced back at Phoebe: eyes closed, legs tucked under, a perfect picture of sereneness.
“I hope she doesn’t pee in my bed,” Lisa thought before falling asleep.
Next up: Part 5
Feature image by Tumisu from Pixabay (typography added by kathleenjae.com)
Wine glass image by johannapaivi from Pixabay
Adorable dog image by Игорь Мамотенко from Pixabay
Sleepy puppy image by Fabrizio Conti on Unsplash
© 1999-2020 kathleenjae.com (Kathleen Jae). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.