Excerpt #17: A Perfectly Good Man

From the author:

This book is set in June and early July. The two main guys – Tyler and John – are avid Tigers fans. I copied the Tigers' schedule for the last season and used it as a guide as I wrote the book. So when it says who they were playing or that a game was rained out or, in this case, went into extra innings, those things are historically accurate in a sense.

From the book:

    Tyler’s living room was set up with two nice recliners directly in front of the TV and a small, tan loveseat in a corner. The guys sat in the chairs when the Tigers were playing. They’d both tried to offer me what they considered the best seats, but I really preferred to be where I could see them as well as the TV. Their synchronized reactions to both good and bad plays reminded me of watching sports with my dad, though his passion was football and not baseball.
I think it was about the third or fourth inning that Tyler was watching intently when John moved the fuzzy black spider. He slowly took it off his armrest and set it on the back of Tyler’s chair, just to the right of his head.
    When there was a break in the action, he turned to say something to John and didn’t notice the spider. He did eventually notice that I looked tense because he wrinkled his eyes curiously at me. I’m not sure if I was looking at John or the spider, but Tyler turned that way again and jerked up when he caught sight of my pipe cleaner creation. “Myrie!” he exclaimed. “That’s not funny. I almost squashed that thing.”
    John took it back but didn’t appear terribly remorseful. Maybe he’d hoped to see it squashed. I probably wasn’t pulling off my innocent expression very well because I felt like I’d been in on it. Tyler simply sighed and went back to watching the game.
    It was a long one. I think it was the bottom of the tenth inning when Tyler fell asleep. That was a consequence of running at an hour when normal people were still in bed.
    A little later I saw John open his mouth to say something. He glanced at Tyler. I thought perhaps he had forgotten that Tyler was sleeping. Then he crossed the room to take the seat next to me.
    I picked up my phone, thinking I might “accidentally” make enough noise with it to wake Tyler. The feeling that I needed his protection was so unexpected that I hadn’t processed how dumb it was until after I’d picked up the phone.
I reread the text from my granddad to cover the unnecessary movement. I hadn’t responded yet so I quickly typed out: How about Monday?
    Then I cautiously lifted my eyes to John as I put the phone down.
    “Is something going on with your grandparents?” he asked. “I just… you look worried.”
    They weren’t the reason I looked worried. I tried to explain anyway because I needed to say something. “We were supposed to make this museum trip an annual thing, but now they’re asking me to go because the membership is going to expire and if they’re letting it expire, they must not… I hate to think they’re inviting me now out of some sort of obligation.”
    “You don’t think they want to see their granddaughter?”
    “I’m sure they do.” He’d only come closer so he could keep his voice low. But he brought with him that familiar tension, that crushing feeling that I couldn’t say anything that would meet with his approval. “It’s just that… Well, I miss them so I suggested Monday.”
    John nodded at the way I closed the subject. He said, “The washer was working fine this afternoon?”
    “Yes,” I said. “Two loads without a problem.”
    “How long do you think before you can run it without feeling like you need to watch?”
    I smiled in spite of the dense air because I’d been thinking the same thing all afternoon. “I fully expect to watch it until the load before it tries to overflow again.”
    “That’d be perfect.” He was trying not to laugh out loud and there was a rumble in his voice. “It wasn’t too bad the last time though, was it?”
    I shook my head. “I was right there in the kitchen so I saw the water right away and shut it off and mopped everything up before there was any damage. Though it’s a good thing I live on the first floor.”
    Those dark eyes widened as he nodded in agreement.
    “My apartment is so small I should be able to catch it early if it does happen again. As long as I’m home.”
    John turned back to the TV when a commercial ended as I finished talking. Two thoughts competed for attention in my head.
    The first was that I could still feel John sitting next to me even though he wasn’t actually touching me. I wanted him to move back to the recliner so I could concentrate on obsessing over the second thought, which was that my home might not be my home much longer. I’d almost certainly move in with Tyler when we got married. His apartment made more sense because it was bigger. It was closer to The Sleepy Crab and to Sacred Heart and… well, Tyler’s apartment was about the only other place I went regularly. It made sense.
    My lease was up in August though. That wasn’t enough time to plan a wedding. When I thought about having an excuse to push the wedding to more than a year in the future, I felt something too close to relief.
    Granddad replied to my text with: Great. The museum is closed on Monday. It has great exhibits on the walking trail though and the weather is supposed to be good.
    It sounded as though they still wanted me to come, but if the museum was closed it might not be the same. I kicked myself for not remembering the museum was closed on Mondays. Then I stopped thinking about almost everything and watched some baseball.
    The game lasted thirteen innings and ended near midnight. John turned off the TV and Tyler still didn’t wake up. We left him slumped in the chair and showed ourselves out.

No comments:

Post a Comment