Liddy sat on the brown wicker sofa with her feet on the matching ottoman. From her place in the silver bullet of a trailer, she could see a stack of clothes on the washer. Dishes were stacked in the small sink. Antares, the brindled cat, was curled up on Liddy’s rumpled bed. It was early Saturday morning of the Labor Day weekend. The desert colors of the room stifled Liddy’s very breath. The canvas with its fading colors on the upholstery of the sofa and chair were thin. Liddy looked down at upholstery and wondered, I wish I had a home with leather furniture. The orange rug and gold throw pillows graced the wicker couch. Liddy was sipping a tall glass of tomato juice blended with vodka. Her hands caressed the white papers on the glass-topped end table next to Liddy’s easy chair. The blue wallpaper with little barrel cactus plants on it was the only bright feature of the room. Liddy sat near the matching green push-button phone. She had made her appointment earlier in the week, and she wouldn’t cancel now. It was out of the question.
Liddy had called Odette an hour earlier. Her voice had sounded somewhat distant and baffled, though when Liddy requested that she come to the trailer. ”Why are you calling me?” Odette had asked. Liddy never had invited anyone over for any reason, she cherished her privacy. That was a well-known fact. Privacy, secrets, loneliness thought Liddy. My life. Why don’t I have a really ordered life like most women. Her mind began to wander. Would it be wrong for me to want what other women have? Her mind pictured life as it should be. A life worth living. Not as it was. This was existing. Home would be a white stucco house neatly restored in Salamis Cay. She would live there with her family. A loving husband would be home at five fifteen for dinner. He would be tall, blond and tanned from weekend fishing trips on their boat, she thought. When he entered the frame home, he would kiss the nape of her neck where her neat brown hair became a light fuzz. His lips would lightly touch her fingertips, which would be soft and yielding to his touch. The children would be playing outside. There would be two of them—a boy and a girl. Their tanned skin would glisten golden in the setting sun. The little boy would be shooting hoops with the sunlight glistening in his golden curls. Curls like his father’s. The girl, the older of the two, would be gracefully swimming laps in the pool, dressed in a flowered two piece bathing suit with sparks of sunlight filtering her wet hair. Life would be good. Fruitful. Full of love. Liddy herself would be neatly dressed in white capri pants with a lavender blouse. She would be watching her family from her yellow kitchen filtered with the late afternoon sun. Why couldn’t she have what had been gifted to other women, by fate, by love, by chance? Her childhood had been lonely, raw and anguished. Kate, her mother. Kate in her company work clothes. Pants. Shirt. The company logo stitched on the pocket. She had done her best by working for the wholesale distribution company. I don’t hate her. I have no feelings for her. Numb. Is it the vodka?
A slight trickle of tears ran down her cheeks. I must not let all that past stuff intrude on my life. My fantasy life. It’s real. Nothing else is. When she thought of Kate’s avocado colored refrigerator with the rust trimming the outside, Liddy shuddered. The refrigerator of her childhood had become the token of her life. Old hand-me-down things. I live a hand-me-down life. Somebody else’s life is new and fresh. Not mine. She arose from the wicker chair and poured the vodka into the tumbler with generous flourish of her wrist. Then she added the tomato juice with a quick flick. She heard a car purr into the front yard of her trailer. She went to the window and separated the curtains. Liddy could see the full figure of Odette close the door to the Mitsubishi. She walked up the aluminum steps to the trailer, and knocked on the door.
“Hi! Liddy. Here I am,” said Odette with a little false song in her voice. The kind of tone ladies in the South use to greet each other on the street. Liddy didn’t believe that they were at all sincere. She preferred her own honest, direct Michigan accent.
“Let yourself in, Odette,” said Liddy with a wave of her glass toward the door.
The door opened, and Odette entered. The morning found her in a pair of denim cutoff’s with a white T-shirt. ”What’s up?” The cheery sing song vanished from her voice, when she looked at Liddy. ”What’s going on here? Why did you call? This is not a social visit, I can see that now.” She found Liddy slumped on the sofa in a green chenille robe. Antares moved from the bed and was huddled on the back of the sofa in a curled ball. Odette, not liking cats, shuddered. His posture indicated a readiness to pounce on her. ”What did you want that you couldn’t tell me on the phone?” she queried.
Sit down here next to me,” commanded Liddy. Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes.
Odette did as Liddy requested. ”Got a cup of coffee around here?” she asked, her eyes looking over the disheveled room. Clothes were scattered all over, and dishes were piled in the sink. Food stuck to the edges. Boxes from Chinese take out overflowed the kitchenette’s waste basket. A pizza carton lay on the table. Cold pizza stuck to the bottom of the cardboard. ”This is Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. Don’t you have any plans?” Odette looked at Liddy. ”Wait a minute. What’s going on here?”
“Odette, I am going to take a little trip to Larita Cay on Tuesday.”
“Okay. Well, what for and all that?” said Odette, her brow wrinkling. There was a violent pounding on the door.
”Liddy Randal you let me in! I demand it.” It was the voice of Peggy Connor.
“Let yourself in!” Liddy shouted becoming truculent under the influence of the vodka and tomato juice she had been drinking. It was going on eleven in the morning.
“What are you doing here Mrs. Connor? Did I call you? Whatever for? I can’t imagine,” Liddy slurred as Antares jumped from the couch and ran to the door. ”Since you are here, take these leave papers to Althea, will you?” She handed over the papers from the end table.
Peggy stood there with a black leather trimmed book in her hands. ”I am here to do the Lord’s calling,” she said.
“There is no Lord for you, for me or anybody else,” mumbled Liddy taking a gulp of the drink.
“Somebody has got to make you see the Light and the Truth!” said Peggy, looking around the disorderly room.
Odette looked at Peggy, then went over to her. Taking Peggy by the elbow, she directed her to a corner of the room. ”What are you—um—we doing here? Liddy has obviously drunk too much.” Odette was confused. She felt that she was a player entering a scene of a bad play.
Peggy answered, her fingers caressing the Bible, “She asked me to come over. Something about being absent from school for a few days next week. Wanted to tell me where her lesson plans were. Althea Goss called me up about it. Liddy told Althea that she was going to be absent. So I had to follow up. Then Beth, Dr. Stein’s nurse called me with the full report.
“Unprofessional. Typical Salamis Cay. Ignore the rules and tattle the tale,” said Odette snorting, the fire in her green eyes flashing at Peggy.
Peggy sniffed through her scarred nose the skin cancer had given her, and gave Odette a foul look.
“Don’t talk about me. Talk to me!” shrieked Liddy from the sofa. She tried to stand, but couldn’t. Tears ran down her cheeks. She pulled the green chenille robe close around her body. She appeared as limp as a wet sheet.
“It’s the booze talkin’ I tell you,” said Peggy with a wave of the Bible.
“Let’s listen then, perhaps we will hear Liddy’s own mind.” said Odette seating herself on the sofa next to Liddy. ”Sit down in that chair over there.” Somebody has to take hand of this situation. she thought. ”What’s up Liddy? You called us out here on a Saturday morning.”
“Well, if you are so social conscious, you may just as well leave,” sulked Liddy.
“Come now, let’s talk,” Odette said as she seated herself next to Liddy and placed her arm around her.
“Oh, Odette. I am sorry. Got the report from Dr. Stein. I don’t know how to say this. He recommended a clinic to me in Larita Cay. I am pregnant. I just won’t have this baby!” Liddy rubbed her tears from her brown eyes with the sleeve of the chenille robe.
“Whore of Babylon!” spat Peggy though her teeth.
“Silence. Peggy. Let me talk,” said Odette leveling her voice to a neutral tone. Somebody here has to remain rational, she thought.
“Kitt?” asked Odette. Her green eyes filling with concern.
“I knew this behavior would come to not good,” hissed Peggy.
“Does he know?” asked Odette quickly interrupting Peggy.
”Yes. He talked to me, and said that I could do whatever I wanted. I should let him know. I told him I didn’t want the baby, and I saw the doctor. It’s my decision, he said. Dr. Stein made arrangements at the clinic for me, after my test came back positive.”
“All Salamis Cay knew that you were having that tryst even the kids. Yes, one of your students, Karen, I believe told me that you were no better than anyone else. You put airs on in the classroom too,” said Peggy refusing to be silenced.