Chapter 7 Katie Spring 2012
Katie pulled up into the driveway of her brother’s home and saw that he had already rented the U-Haul for the next day. She smiled, knowing in her heart that he would have done that without her asking. Born almost exactly one year apart, they were always close at heart and each accepted the other on equal terms. There was never competition or reprimand. They were truly almost like twins, except for the year between them.
She looked up when she heard the slapping on the glass front door. She smiled and bent down, acting surprised to see her niece, Sadie, standing inside the door, slapping the glass and laughing. She saw her sister-in-law as well, who was opening the door for Katie to enter.
Katie swooped her niece into her arms and made soft tickling sounds against her neck. The little girl laughed and rested her head on Katie’s shoulder, her way of showing her love, one hand patting Katie’s back.
“Hey, Rachel,” Katie leaned over to give her sister-in-law a kiss on the cheek. “I guess my brother isn’t in too much of a hurry to get rid of me.”
Rachel smiled, closing the door. “No, you know he’d like you to stay. But you know how he is. Always the boy scout, ready ahead of time.”
“Mmmmm, I smell spaghetti….”
“Skadetti…” her niece said, as Katie put her down in the kitchen. She set her tote on the floor and Sadie reached in to get the little tiger beanie baby that Katie always had on top.
“Yes, it's almost done. Brian should be home any minute.”
“So, should we have a cake to celebrate my last night here?”
After living with her brother for over two years, she had saved up enough money for a two month deposit on an apartment home, and she was moving into the one bedroom unit in the morning. She was looking forward to finally living on her own. She hadn’t done that since college. After college, she lived with her parents, and when they passed away, her brother persuaded her to move in with them until she felt she was ready to be on her own.
The aftermath of her incident with Jimmy Carl so many years ago still left her with scars, both outside and the less noticeable inside. It had taken several surgeries over a year and a half to replace the skin on the side of her face and for the tears to heal. At first, she was very self-conscious of her appearance. But she worked hard on trying to heal, and that included liking her reflection again. She had always liked what she saw in the mirror, modestly pretty with golden eyes and dark silky hair. But after the accident, she had a hard time looking at herself, simply because it reminded her of the entire event. It had happened so quickly, so unexpectedly and that was what made it hard to overcome.
She didn’t remember much after her hair got caught in the door of jimmy’s car. Only when her father was holding her and her mother was speaking softly to her did she realize that she was alive. Through their love and common sense she learned to appreciate that she was alive and that even scars would heal. She worked hard at dealing with her emotions and putting the incident behind her. She was a survivor and now when she looked in the mirror, who she saw was someone who beat the odds, not just physically but emotionally as well.
She had been able to graduate on time and spent the next four years in college, where she learned that a sense of humor and a practical attitude was all that was needed for her to respond to other’s stares and questions. She felt whole again.
“So how ‘bout if I take this little one and we’ll walk to the store and get some kind of cake. What do you think of that, pumpkin? Want to go for a walk with Aunt Katie and get some cake?”
Sadie was already near the door, nodding her head and grabbing her jacket. Katie helped her out the door and retrieved the stroller that was under the eaves near the garage.
“Thank you,” Rachel mouthed as Sadie climbed in the stroller and tried to buckle herself.
“Bye-bye Mommy. See you later!” Katie called, and Sadie waved. She reached inside her jacket pocket for her purple sunglasses. Even though the sun was beginning to set, she loved her purple sunglasses because Katie had given them to her. She ALWAYS wore these glasses whenever she was with Katie.
They walked the two blocks to the store, talking and singing along the way. Inside the store, Katie picked up a small chocolate cake and asked, “How about some ice cream to go with this?”
“Ice cream…ice cream,” Sadie sang, nodding her head. She still had her sunglasses on and was enjoying the look of the store through the rose color of the lenses.
After she paid, Katie placed the bag in the little basket at the back of the stroller. She went outside and started to cross the street but stopped when a white truck approached. It stopped quickly and the driver waved for her to cross.
Katie had pulled back, startled and turned the stroller out of the way. She shielded her eyes against the glare of the setting sun and waved him on. She smiled as he passed, and this time she checked carefully before she crossed the small street to the side walk on the other side. She glanced back at the truck, and caught the driver’s eye until he looked away, pulling out of the parking lot.
Katie walked briskly as the sun was casting fading shadows through the trees and she suddenly shivered. There was something familiar about the driver, but she couldn’t quite place it. He had on sunglasses and she couldn’t tell much else. She parked the stroller, grabbed the bag in one arm and Sadie in the other, and walked to the door. Arms full, she rang the doorbell and Rachel answered. The door closed behind her and Rachel locked it as she always did.
Katie didn’t notice that the white truck had followed her and had stopped at the stop sign on the corner, waiting for her to go inside. Then it continued slowly down the road.