As I came out my surgery that afternoon I saw Meghan and Tyler running away from the green, Cherry was standing alone calling after them. I watched as they both piled into Meghan’s studio apartment and close the door, I headed down the road and caught up with Cherry.
“What’s up with those two?” I asked signalling to Meg’s apartment,
“Beats me,” Cherry muttered, “they just legged it,”
“Do you think we should check up on it?” I asked, Cherry shrugged. “Anyway, how are you?” I asked amiably,
“Fine thanks,” she smiled, “excited about the festival?”
“It should be good, I’m stuck on the first aid tent all day though,” I sighed. Cherry smiled, she really was beautiful, she was tall, slender and her face resembled that of a model’s. Across the road Meghan’s door slammed and we turned in time to see Tyler walking quickly away, checking over his shoulder towards Cherry and I. I mashed my eyebrows and turned back to Cherry, “I hold nothing against Tyler,” I assured her, “but as a citizen of Long Meadow, I’m going to check Meghan’s okay,”
“Tyler’s not a bad guy,” Cherry told me,
“He killed my wife.” I said flatly, the numbness began crawling into my ribcage and around my heart. Cherry had nothing to say to that, I left her on the green and went to knock on Meghan’s door. Five seconds later she opened it, “Thank goodness,” I sighed in relief to see that Meghan was okay,
“Are you alright Dr. Hastings?” Meghan asked,
“I’m fine thank you, just making sure you were alright,” I said glancing down the street but Tyler was out of sight.
“I just made coffee, want to come in?” Meghan asked slowly, she was obviously confused but her manners remained impeccable. I deliberated on the step; I was just heading to the café for a coffee but I couldn’t decide whether Meghan actually wanted me to come in.
“Sure.” I smiled stepping through the threshold, her apartment was modern and fairly tidy, tidier than mine at any rate, the far wall was a large painting of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. “Nice place,” I smiled looking around, “did you paint that?” I asked,
“I did, it took about two weeks but was totally worth it,” she smiled handing me a cup of coffee. I took a swig and sat at the breakfast bar in the middle of the kitchen.
“I wish I had an apartment like this at your age, I mean my house isn’t anything special now, still paying off medical school, but you’ve really put me to shame,”
“I bet yours isn’t that bad,” Meghan smiled offering me a biscuit, I took one and smiled,
“You’d be surprised,” I told her. I didn’t want to delve into what my house looked liked, Mollie had organised the vast majority of the rooms but after her death I had forgotten where to put the TV remote and how to stack the dishwasher most economically, the place had fallen apart. Her clothes still hung in our wardrobe and her unfinished book lay on her bedside table, it was like I was waiting for her to come home after a four year vacation. I finished the coffee and stood up,
“Thank you for that Meghan, I’ve got to get going,” I smiled.
“Well thanks for stopping by,” she said getting up and showing me to the door, “I’ll see you tomorrow at the festival?” she checked,
“Should do, especially if you get injured!” I grinned; she rolled her eyes and waved as I left.
I passed the coffee shop, passed the Addler’s house and crossed the path up to my house. I unlocked the door and stepped in; I took off my shoes and stepped over a month’s worth of newspapers. I went into the kitchen and groaned, Meghan did put me to shame, the plates stacked up were days old and the food had dried and stuck firmly to the surface. I turned on the tap and put the dishes into soak, instead of cooking I picked up the phone and ordered a Chinese for two and then tidied up the ground floor before calling Josie, Charli’s sister. Josie was my best friend, she had been the shoulder I’d cried on after Mollie’s death, the one to help organise the funeral and she had also been my wife’s best friend. There were not many people in the town my age, I couldn’t describe many of them as close friends either, they were all too guarded hoping they wouldn’t accidently mention Mollie. Josie and a few others were my true friends, people I could talk to about Mollie, people I could cry in front of, people I could be my true messed up self with.
A few minutes later there was a knock on the door, it was either going to be Josie or the Chinese, turned out it was both. Josie paid the delivery guy and brought the food in,
“How much did it cost? So I can pay you back.” I asked finding my wallet,
“My treat!” she grinned. I led her into the living room and we sat on the rug and ate Chinese out the box, Josie was probably my best friend and we could coexist side by side without any awkwardness. “How you holding up?” she asked after a while,
“I’m fine,” I smiled, “the surgery was quiet today,”
“You’ll be busy tomorrow,” she smiled taking a prawn cracker. I offered her a glass of wine and leant against the sofa, full.
“You doing anything?” I asked,
“Just helping Charli out in the café.” she smiled, “You finished?” she asked, I nodded and she picked up the collection of containers and threw them in the bin. “I hate to eat and run but Charli needs my help baking for tomorrow, so I’ve gotta dash!” Josie called from the kitchen, I stood up,
“Thanks for coming by,” I smiled, “much appreciated, sometimes I hate eating alone.”
“My pleasure,” she smiled, I kissed her on the cheek and she walked out the door leaving me alone again.