Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TMW-It Isn't What It Seems

Photo property of gaelikaa
It was strange to see her car outside the house at this time of day.......

It's strange being retired, not rushing to finish dressing to head off to work.  Now, I still get up at the same old five o'clock in the morning, but I sit watching the morning news and drinking me a cup of coffee.  Then I head out for a walk around the neighborhood.  That's how I got to know Mattison, across the street.  She doesn't go into work until nine o'clock. Sometimes she'll walk with me before leaving for work. But she is always gone by eight thirty; that's why is was strange to see her car outside the house at this time of day, ten thirty.  As I stood there washing my cup, I wondered if I should go and check on her.  I wish I had her phone number; I made a mental note to ask her for it.

I decided to go across and check on her. I tapped on the front door, "Mattison, everything okay? You in there?"

I heard movement inside, then locks turning before she opened the door.  I was shocked by her appearance, her lipstick was smeared and she had a bruise on her right check. She stood there with the door only partially opened, her housecoat wrapped around her, yet I could tell she had on her business outfit.

"Yes, I fine", she said, not meeting my eyes. "I just have a cold and needed to stay home today. Thanks for coming by."

"Do you need anything from the store?"

"No, but thanks", she turned and closed the door.

I slowly walked back to my house. Something wasn't right.  Once inside I called Detective David Bowman, whom Mattison sometimes dated, "David, have you talked with Mattison today?"

"No, I haven't talked with her all week, why?"

I explained to him about what I had seen, "Do you think it could be anything I need to worry about?"

I could tell he was trying to decide what to tell me, "Has Mattison told you about needing to place her mother into a nursing home?"

"Yes, what has that got to do with anything?"

"Her mother's room won't be available until Saturday, so she's staying with Mattison until then.  I know that she's reached the stage in her illness where she can become violent.  You're right to be concerned, I'll go by and make sure everything is fine."

As I hung up I laughed at myself, making a mountain out of a molehill.  Here I had her being held as a hostage and needing to be rescued.  I definitely had too much time on my hands.


rummuser said...

Judy, unfair! I expected a case of domestic violence and as I read further a cop being responsible! Very clever indeed.

lisacombs@bellsouth.net said...

Judy, good story, good delivery, building the perfect measure of curiosity as to what the title leads to. Very well done.

The beginning grabs the attention of the reader allowing entrance to a familiar neighborhood scene. Neighborly concern mirrored my own; I kept reading.
When the neighbor comes to the door and sees Mattison’s disheveled appearance, I jumped to conclusions of an attacker in the house.

Through the use of the phone call you craft a clever tool for revealing the secret in the title of this piece. I was curious how the narrator (first person POV) knew to call a specific detective... one whom Mattison had dated. That is a minor detail and one that did not distract from the story.

With this reveal of an aging parent showing violent tendancies, I felt the awkwardness of the neighbor doing a good deed, the emotional stresses of the woman caring for her mother and the angst of pending solutions. You ended with the relief of the good neighbor, leaving the detective to care for his friend, Mattison. In life, one hopes the neighbors would check on the odd detail now and again. I am fortunate to live among such good neighbors.

You present an important topic of social concern as to how best to care for our family members. It is a challenge for families to seek care when serious circumstances arise such as you address here. Thanks for a good story this morning. Nice work.

gaelikaa said...

Great story Judy, there's an infinity of possibilities here. Is it the aged parent or the boyfriend who's responsible for the woman's dishevelled condition? The message I'm getting is that it's important for neighbours to look out for each other.

I just don't understand how the narrator wouldn't have the neighbour's phone no. but would have the neighbour's boyfriend's phone no.

@Rummuser - if the detective is responsible for roughing up the lady, you can't call it domestic violence - he doesn't live with her.