Borrowing Trouble Blog
Neither a lender nor a borrower be--from Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Anniversary of the Fire
Two months ago, I worked through the Tuesday after President's Day fairly satisfied with myself. My husband Tim had spent the better part of the previous week helping me sift through the hoarder's nest of Steve's house, and I'd driven down to our beach house to join him with a carload of international soccer memorabilia, caps, and jerseys for his friend's son. Tim and I walked the nearly-deserted boardwalk on Monday morning and shared breakfast at the Decatur Diner--his first experience there and a positive one. That's the key--it was a positive week from that previous Tuesday when I was mired in doubt about my ability to manage Steve's unwieldy estate.
I spoke to Tim at 2 p.m. I know this exactly from phone records. I was sitting at my department chair's desk for a bit of privacy. We talked about how excited everyone was about the soccer stuff. We talked about his good day. About plans to go back to work at Assateague National. About good health and plans for the following weekend.
I hosted creative writing until four with my handful of faithful wordsmiths. I met my daughter for an early dinner at our favorite place.
And then waiting at the light on Eastern Avenue and Eastern Boulevard, I got a call from my neighbor Mary Lou. My house was on fire. We hung up. I moved the car through the green light and she called again. It was bad. My house was really on fire.
I couldn't shift the car. I couldn't find the gears. I lost the ability to drive a car I know by rote. I pulled off into a clear spot and let the clutch stall the engine. I tried Tim. It rang and rang. Message. Nothing. The last location on his phone was the house at 4 p.m. I called my son and asked him to call the police.
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J Drescher Cooper
Writer and Reviewer