Amelia, a widow, recently returned from a solo trip through Europe, is struggling to reconnect with her college-age son and to sort out her feelings for Henry, an old flame who wants a second chance.
She jiggled the hook, dialed “0” and gave the operator a Minnesota number.
“How’s the weather?” she said, when Henry picked up.
“Partly cloudy and sixty degrees, believe it or not.” He chuckled. “How is it there?”
Amelia peered at the thermometer on the garage. “Sunny and seventy-two.”
“Just another day in paradise.” The hiss on the line sounded like a slow breath. She felt him waiting for her to state her business.
“It doesn’t look like Thanksgiving will work.”
“No?” He didn’t sound surprised.
“It’s a bad time for Josh, with school.”
“What about Christmas?”
“I don’t know.” Suddenly every cell in her body screamed for a whiskey and soda. “I’ll have to talk to Josh,” she said, pulling a ginger ale from the refrigerator. “He might want to come home and see his friends.”
“Joshua is a grown man.” Henry’s voice had a sharp edge. “You don’t have to plan your life around him.”
“I know, but I’ve been away so long. I missed his birthday.”
The line crackled. “Look, Amelia,” Henry said. “If the answer is no, maybe you’d better come out and say it. Neither of us is getting any younger.”
“It’s not.” She leaned her forehead against the cupboard. “It’s just… how would you feel if I asked you to leave your job and your home and your family?”
“I'm not asking you to do that. All I want is a few days. If it’s like I think, we’ll figure the rest out.”