Susie got to the house, turned off the engine and tilted her head back against the head rest. She closed her eyes and let the silence seep in and ease the ache in her head. A few seconds of peace before chaos kicked in. She’d been distracted all day, though if truth be told probably for a while. Nothing she could put her finger on but something wasn’t right. There had been the phone calls where nobody spoke, just dead air that crackled on the other end. The jewellery that had been moved and some of it she couldn’t find or some had turned up in odd places. The letters she’d seen the postman bring but never saw, not even opened envelopes thrown in the bin. John must be laughing at her, saying she was being daft, perhaps she was.
When she’d struggled to get up this morning, she’d vowed to be in bed by ten. It was already eight when she’d got home. A late night office meeting and the Chambers account that needed typing up before tomorrow had kept her in the office far longer than she intended. She stopped for take out on the way home. She really couldn’t face cooking this late. She opened her eyes but stayed sat in the car. A faint smell of barbecued ribs hit her nose and she glanced at the brown steaming bag on the seat. Then her eyes drifted to the dim light filtering underneath the garage door. John must be still working she thought. He’d be starving.
Susie still had a thick ache in her head as she rubbed at her temples and her mouth involuntary opened and stretched into a yawn. Then snapped shut suddenly when she remembered the near accident she’d had earlier. A wagon had skidded to a stop at the corner of Remmington, only just missing her. She’d been tampering with the radio, somehow the station had moved from classical to rock. She never listened to rock. She was a one station kind of girl, always had been. Suddenly a screech of brakes and a thunder roll of steel had slammed to a stop just in front of the driver’s side window. Susie had slammed her foot on the brakes and instinct had her throwing her hands up over her head and bringing it down between her knees. That’s what they do on planes!
She really had to move. The light was starting to fade and the cool evening air was weaving a chill through her unbuttoned jacket. She could feel the crunch of the pebbled driveway under her pumps as she walked to the front door. She saw shadows of feet under the garage door but the light still stayed on. When he was busy John wouldn’t even hear a hurricane hitting she thought to herself as she fumbled in her bag for her house keys. She blindly rummaged around with her one free hand, then lent on the door and it opened. He’s forgot to lock it again, she sighed. How many times had she told him to lock the front door when he was working, anyone could get in and he’d never know a bloody thing.
She put the bag on the kitchen counter and tried the light switch, the bulb must have gone. She shouted through the connecting door to the garage in the kitchen. He didn’t answer. She shouted louder. He’ll be through in a minute I’ll get the plates out she thought, as she reached for the cupboard door above the sink. He’s been moving stuff again. “More room for his home brew I bet” as she tried a few more cupboard doors looking for her mother’s crockery, the ones she always used. “When did we get these blue plates?” she asked herself tracing her fingers over a patterned rim. They must have been in the garage, she thought.
She ran upstairs for a quick wee before they ate. The bathroom light bulb must have gone as well. She quickly peed and washed her hands at the sink. Where had her toothbrush gone? He better not have been cleaning the grout with it again. It was always hers that needed replacing. His was about four years old but it still stood straight and tall in the bevelled glass by the mirror. She was chuntering to herself and drying her hands on the dirty towel she must have forgot to pick up this morning when she heard the connecting door in the kitchen open. She shouted down the stairs “Be down in a minute pet”.
John went to the sink and squirted a drop of liquid soap onto his hands. The house seemed quite now, that was why he spent so much time in the garage. He flicked on the light switch and the kitchen lit up. He went to the fridge; he really wasn’t hungry but couldn’t remember the last time he’d eaten. He supposed he should force something down. It was two years since Susie had died, but he still missed her every day. It was weird, sometimes he thought he could hear her calling his name, he even caught a scent every now and then of barbecued ribs, her favourite. She’d been bringing them home when it happened. The accident team said she must have fallen asleep at the wheel. How many times had he told her to take it easy, to get some more rest? He grabbed for some eggs, an omelette would do!