I sat motionless, as the scrubby man walked past the large garage window. He didn’t know, I was sitting very near. The sight of him, seemed to take the wind right out of me. I waited to hear something, to see something… that would reassure me.
My mind became rational, as I gathered sense to my thoughts. It was the meter-man, I told myself. Why is it taking him so long? Suddenly that rough image, was peering at me through the pane. Panic took hold of me, and my heart took a sudden flight. Get yourself together, I thought to myself. Do something…..anything.
He was gone. The silence was not golden. Who was he? Where did he go? With numb fingers, I slowly grabbed the door latch. I listened intently….for the noise of an engine. Did he leave? Nothing. Sharp clatter, suddenly filled the eery silence.
My hand again pulled at the handle, and I opened the door slowly. My knees felt weak, as I stepped out onto the cold cement. With heavy feet, I made short strides to the door. What would I find on the other side. Who was he, and why is he outside that door? Did he see me?
My hand reached out for the frozen knob. Slowly, I turned it, and pushed the door slightly ajar. My eyes focused upwards to cold metal steps. There he was, the disheveled man I saw through the dirty window.
The beating of my heart suddenly calmed slightly, as I realized why he was there. “Oh, Hi,”I said, …..feeling blood, rush my cheeks. “I tried to call,” he said. “Why did you cancel your service?”
Tattoos, two silver loop earrings, and the stout smell of cigarettes stared down at me. “It was too slow,” was all my frozen tongue could utter. Pull it together, I thought to myself. He is only taking the dish down. “I tried to call,” he muttered again. “Oh……I was in the garage, vacuuming my car…….so I didn’t hear the phone ring,” I replied.
Finally, with one last heavy pull, he released it from the roof’s edge. I told him “Thank-You,”
and figured he would be on his way. With great relief, I made my way back inside the garage, and closed the door behind me. I continued to listen again, for the sound of tires…..backing down our long driveway. Again, nothing. What could he still be doing?…….I thought to myself.
I lifted the cold, damp rag, and dragged it across the dashboard. My fingers were stiff and beginning to throb. My mind…..was pulling terrible tricks on me. I finally.. had begun to relax a bit, when suddenly, I heard the creek and whine of the door. Almost immediately, he was face to face with me.
“I need the router,” he said. I quickly jumped from my seat, and said…..”Oh….I’ll get it.” I proceeded directly to the door, that enters our home. He followed closely behind. My mind, began racing with great speed. I don’t like this!… I thought to myself. I hoped he would stay back at the door, but he followed. “Just a minute,” I stuttered. Quickly, I made my way to the office, down the hall. Glancing back, I saw him close behind. His hair was greasy, and I realized the red and black ink that covered his right cheek, was that of an eagle. It ran down his neck, and chills ran up my spine!
Quickly, I tried to remember where I had placed the router. With fumbling fingers, I opened and closed drawers…..but to no avail. Suddenly, as if a picture had been placed on my brain, I remembered…it was downstairs. “Just a minute, I remember where I put it,” I blurted. Not wanting to be rude, I said, “Wait here, I’ll be right back.”
With heavy legs, I made my way to the basement. I did not glance back this time, but I could hear him closely behind. My mind finally became clear, and I grabbed the router, that lay hidden deep inside a desk. I stood to my feet, turned around, and saw he was ‘too close for comfort.’ Eagerly, I handed it off, and made my way up the stairs. He folowed closely, at my heels.
The air was deathly silent, except for the chiming of our Grandfather Clock. “You have a lot of Clocks,” he noted. “I do…..I Love Clocks,” I muttered back. He stopped at the top of the stairs, and peered into the tall, elegant clock that stands proud, in my home’s entry. He’s been here long enough, I thought to myself.
He continued to listen, until the chiming ended. “I like that,” he said. “Thanks,” was all I followed with. I made my way quickly back down the hall. He stopped, and peered into the office once again. “You have a clock in every room?”, he questioned me. “I do,” I said, as I laughed with nervousness. “You have a beautiful home,” he stated, as he paused to look through the kitchen. “We like it,” I said, “I’m very lucky.” My intuition… was pushing past ‘uneasy’ now.
Again, he noticed another large clock that adorned the mantle, above the living room fireplace.
“I like that one too,” he said. “Does your Husband like clocks?” he asked. “Yes, but not like I do, he thinks we have too many,” I said.
Finally, he followed me from the house, into the cold garage. He glanced around, and said…..
“You are lucky!” “Yes, I am,” I said sheepishly. Eagerly, I opened the door that would lead him to the outside. With great relief, I turned towards him and said…..”Thanks again.” He stared back, with piercing gray eyes, and said, “No Problem, let me know if you change your mind about the service.” “I will,” I assured him.
Almost with a run, I made my way back into the safety of the garage. I grabbed at the frigid knob, pushed it shut with some force, and turned the lock. Quietly and motionless, I stood with my ear pressing at the door. I forgot to breath, as I listened for any evidence of his leaving. There it was. I could hear the sweet sound I had been longing for. He was gone, and my pulse slowly returned to normal.
I gathered, very quickly, the vacuum and the dirty, damp rags and made my way back into the house. My fingers, were beginning to thaw now, and I felt sharp pain. It was odd, but I could hear the ticking of all my clocks. It was unusual…..I rarely noticed it before now. I said a small prayer of thanks, for my safety. Not often, do I feel that “out of place, or frightened.”
My focus for the next hour or so, was on that strange man, and my many clocks. I do have a lot of clocks! How many do I really have? Why do I like them so much?
My head flooded with wonderful memories. I could see myself standing as a little girl, in front of my Grandma Lunsford’s, Grandfather Clock. I loved that clock. I would stare intently, and watch it work. My Grandmother didn’t mind at all, as long as I didn’t touch the glass. I remember… seeing myself in the clean glass. I remember thinking how much I hated the eye glasses, that adorned my nose. It was as if, they were staring back at me! I told my Grandma, many times, that I didn’t like the way I looked in them. She would bring me over to a large mirror that graced her wall, above a large uncluttered desk.
Grandma would say……”See how beautiful you are.” Funny, but I could never see it. I also have a love for mirrors…..maybe that’s why! She would gaze into that mirror with me, and say things like: “Look at your beautiful teeth….always take care of them!” I think about that, everytime I brush my pearly whites!