Hello Lafontaine

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rogers picked me up from Union Station in a late model, hearse of a Cadillac and drove north.   After an hour, we broke through the congestion of city and suburbia to rolling country-side dotted with farms and latticed with streams.   Our entire conversation on that long drive consisted of me asking questions and of him responding monosyllabically in a way that told me less than I thought I already knew.

It was 9 o’clock when he turned up a dirt road that terminated in front of a Victorian farm house.  I untangled myself from the seatbelt with a sigh of relief and accepted Rogers hand gratefully while I extricated myself from the bucket seat .  I had been traveling since 10 pm the night before and my legs cramped from inactivity.  Rogers brought my bags from the trunk and put them on the steps to the broad veranda, where I took them, one in each hand.  I looked around the surrounding hills in the rapidly fading light.  The countryside was beautiful, quiet and very dark.  The only artificial illumination came from the farm house where the windows glowed warm amber in the night.

The door burst open, the wood -framed screen-door slapping back under Lafontaine’s hand.

“Catherine!”  He shouted, bounding down the steps and stopping in front of me as though unsure if he should hug me or shake hands.

I quickly extended a hand and said, “Lafontaine, how good to see you.”

It occurred to me that Lafontaine might remember our relationship in school somewhat differently than I did.

He shook my hand with both of his and held it a bit longer than necessary.   Another man stepped out of the house on to the porch.  “Hello,” he said politely in a flat mid-western accent.

“Come on, then!” Lafontaine exclaimed, then he was snatching up my bags and swinging back into the house, nearly sweeping the legs out from the other man with my duffle.

I stepped up on porch a little reluctantly.  I had forgotten how intense Lafontaine could get.  Not even two minutes with him and I was already exhausted.   I sighed, putting down my tiredness to the long day.  With a swish, the car drove away, back down the long drive, with Rogers in it, and any chance of changing my mind gone.   I stared after the car, then remembered the fossilized carnivorous plant I’d dubbed “Creepizod”, and stepped inside.

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