The next day, Saturday, Mr. Cook woke up around 2:00pm. He had been a night owl since he retired and doesn’t usually go to bed until about 3am. Sometimes he even stays up all night. The night is his favorite time because there is no one to bother him except his own thoughts…
Oscar was sound asleep on the corner of the bed until Mr. Cook sat up. He glanced over at Oscar who stretched and rolled over to his other side then closed his eyes again for a moment. Mr. Cook stood up and put his bathrobe and slippers on and hobbled outside to check the mail.
It was a cold and breezy afternoon; the maple tree beside the mail box was struggling to hold onto the last of it’s leaves. A few of them blew off the tree toward Mr. Cook as he bent down slowly and grunted while he picked up the paper. In the mailbox were a few bills and tucked in the back was his favorite magazine, “Boating”.
The neighbor next to him- the one he especially didn’t like- was blowing the leaves off of his lawn and waved. Mr. Cook was lost in thought. He thought it was useless to use a blower during the fall when the leaves just float right back in the wind. He didn’t wave back or change his expression but gave a nod and then went back inside.
It’s not that his neighbors are bad people; in fact, they are quite nice and always try to help him. The problem is that Mr. Cook doesn’t trust anyone, all of the people he trusted in his life are dead. He thinks everyone is going to take advantage of him because of his age, but for a 94 year old man he is sharper than others assume.
Mr. Cook finally managed to get himself dressed and goes into the kitchen to make himself a pot of coffee. Just as he is about to pour a cup someone knocked on the door. Irritated, he slammed the pot down and looked through the fish eye on the door and saw a thin red-haired woman with a child next to her. He hesitated to open the door, he thought if he didn’t maybe they would go away.
“Mr. Cook? It’s Eveline” she shouted as she knocked again, this time louder. He finally remembered their arrangement and flung the door open, “sorry you startled me, come in”.
“It’s nice to finally meet you!” Eveline smiled as she shot her hand out to shake his; Mr. Cook hesitated but shook hers. “This is my daughter Clara”.
Clara smiled and blushed as she wiggled around, grabbing the arm of her mothers coat.
“Hi” she said quietly. For a moment Mr. Cook is softened by her sweet smile and then looked up at Mrs. Fryling and gestured them to come into the kitchen.
“Here is the kitchen, I’m not much of a tour guide, you’re welcome to wander around the house. I just don’t want the child to get into any of my things, they’re fragile. Also, please do not go into the master bedroom; my cat Oscar is in there and he isn’t very friendly. I can tell you what it looks like”.
Just like on the phone, Eveline responded cheerfully. “Thank you so much! We will only be a few minutes”.
Eveline’s voice was just as loud and enthusiastic in person; actually, according to Mr. Cook it was worse in person since she used her hands in excitement as well. Being that cheerful was certainly not normal and was something that stumped Mr. Cook; for he was not usually around cheerful people, well… people at all.
Mr. Cook sat down in the same chair as always and grabbed the days classified ads and opened it. Eveline and Clara wandered from room to room. Eveline had already fallen in love with the house at first glance, she knew she was going to put in an offer regardless of how it looked inside.
The house was a 2-story home that was built in the 1940s. The ground floor was the main living space and had a master bedroom, a very dated formal living room, and an office/storage room. Below was a basement where the other office, spare room, and laundry room were. For clearly not being updated pretty much at all since the day it was built, it was in good condition minus a few things here and there- which Eveline thought gave it character.
The kitchen was Eveline’s favorite part of the house. The floors were dark red brick, white counters, and black appliances which appeared to be updated in the 70s, but that was ok with her. She loved anything that had a history to it, and she loved uncovering hidden stories.