Umber (64)

October 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

The front door opened onto a waiting room, the same kind of place you might linger in the hope of learning whether or not a loved one has survived an emergency appendectomy.  I looked around uncertainly, wondering what I was supposed to do now.  Neither Sebastian nor the estate sale lady had given me any instructions in this regard, so I thought I might just take a seat in the lobby and wait for something to happen.  Just then I noticed a stern woman, half my age, with perfect posture and straight brown shoulder-length hair.  She watched me from behind a glass window, where a placard read, “Please Sign In.”

She stared at me with a forbidding expression that said she thought I had no business sitting her lobby.  And for all I knew, she was right.  I didn’t know why I was there.  She slid the glass window open briskly and eyed me with suspicion.  No doubt I looked guilty; I was still feeling sneaky for trying to change Vera’s life without permission.

Just as the suspicious receptionist asked, “May I help you?” I heard a small commotion down the hallway to my left.  A young man in a green uniform called out in a voice meant for the hard-of-hearing, “Wait, Miss Tibbs, your room is this way.”  He reached out and took ahold of the elbow of an old, white-haired woman in a periwinkle pantsuit, steering her gently around in a semi-circle.

Tibbs!  I heard him say Tibbs!  As in Leroy Tibbs…

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