Authors: L.B. Dunbar
Copyright © 2013 Laura Dunbar
Cover design by Kari Ayasha of Cover to Cover Designs
Interior design by Brenda Wright
Front cover photo © bigstockphoto.com/©keeweeboy
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
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Touch Screen (coming 2015)
Sight Words (coming Spring 2015)
For those who don’t listen to the negative advice of others, and take the risk,
and the state of Michigan.
Despite today’s movement toward the independent woman opening the door for herself, a gentleman should still open and hold the door for a lady as a sign of respect. This action does not show weakness on the part of the lady, but strength of character on the part of a man.
“Matters of Manners,” 1975
THE SOFT CRUNCH of gravel sounded under my Jetta as I pulled into the two-tire-trail lane driveway. Staring out the front windshield, I needed a moment to take in a sight I didn’t recognize before me. A house that had always reminded me of fairy tales suddenly looked old with chips of paint peeling off the siding. Weathered flower boxes stood empty and dry, and what used to be a garden was taken over by weeds. They were lush, green, and everywhere. But the most disturbing sight before me was the woman on the porch.
Dressed in a “housecoat” in mid-afternoon stood my grandmother, Nana. A woman who prided herself on decorum and etiquette would never have approved of this attire after noon, let alone outside the house on the front porch. Buttoned askew, the lime green night jacket hung off what looked like a much frailer frame to Nana’s already shrinking body. Yellow toilet paper curls still in her gray hair, the woman returned my gaze, looking almost as confused as I was.
I willed her to read my mind.
I wasn’t overly concerned when Sue Carpenter called me to say Nana had locked herself out of the house
, but Sue seemed quite upset. It wasn’t the locking of the door, but the fact that Nana was convinced John, her deceased husband, was inside and had locked her out on purpose. As long time neighbors, Sue and her husband, Joe, were good people and they looked out for Nana. I should have been appreciative. I
Guilt took me over as I continued to slowly scan the yard, needing a moment to further process the sadness before me. I tried to recall the last time I had been here. It wasn’t last Christmas, and Christmas before that I had interviews. Before that was a ski trip with my ex-boyfriend.
Had it really been over three years?
I finally found the strength to open the door of my car and was hit with the overwhelming sound of nails hammering on a nearby roof and “Sweet Home Alabama” jamming out into the otherwise quiet area. I laughed out loud. I couldn’t help myself.
Welcome to Michigan
, I begrudgingly thought. I’d stepped into a time warp and Kid Rock would have been proud.
I rounded the car and approached the front steps slowly as Nana’s eyes followed my every move like a caged animal at the zoo. She didn’t flinch except her eyes, and they narrowed slightly as I drew closer. The day was warm for mid-July in northern Michigan, and I felt a bead of sweat roll between my shoulder blades as I was overdressed in my white pants and a navy blue flowing blouse. I stopped before I hit the stairs.
“Nana?” I questioned her, afraid to come closer. She looked posed to pounce, despite her frailty. Her old, weathered hands gripped the railing of her porch in a strength I didn’t know she possessed.
“Have you come to fix the radio?”
“No. Nana, it’s me. Emily.”
Cloudy blue eyes blinked, snapping her into recognition.
“Of course, you’re Emily. How was your trip, dear?”