Candy awoke to the sound of shouting in a foreign language. It took her a moment, once again, to remember where she was. The familiar outline of her mom’s house. The smell of toast. Her senses reminded her she was at Kevin’s house.
She stretched her arms above her head, her feet dangling off the slightly-too-small bed that was meant for seven-year-olds, not 19-year-olds.
More yelling from downstairs. What’s going on? She wondered, yawning as she pushed herself upright and allowed her eyes to adjust to the morning sun.
Candy hurried downstairs to check on Kevin. She found him pacing in his office--formerly the room she’d claimed as her own, with sliding glass doors to the pool--yelling into the phone. He looked up at her and gave her a pathetic smile, rotating the tip of his finger around his temple and rolling his eyes.
More yelling, and then bam! He slammed the phone down into its receiver. He huffed, and stormed past her to the front door, walked out.
Candy followed him and found him sitting on the porch front steps with his head in his hands. The clouds were heavier than usual this morning; it looked like it might rain.
She bit her lip. “Morning…” she uttered hesitantly.
“Sorry about that. Morning. Did I wake you up?”
“Sorta, but that’s OK. What’s going on? Is everything OK?” Candy asked, sitting down next to him.
“Not really,” he said defeatedly, without looking up.
She put her arm around him reassuringly.
“The passport office back home is delaying Easter and the kids’ passports. For no good reason. I’ve done all the paperwork. They made me jump through hoops, and still, it’s not enough!” He threw his hands up in the air in frustration. “Summer’s almost over, and the kids are going to miss the first weeks of school if they don’t get here soon.”
“Ugh, Kevin, that sucks! I’m sorry,” Candy wasn’t really sure what else to say, so she decided to just let him talk. It sounded like he just needed to vent.
“I just hate being in limbo! We’ve been planning this move for months. I just want my family here! We’re supposed to be starting our new life!” Kevin stood up and started pacing again. He was clearly very worked up.
Candy suspected that it was more than frustration; that Kevin was, in fact, lonely. He obviously misses Easter and their children. He’s pretty helpless around the house, she acknowledged. He doesn’t know how to keep the fridge stocked or where to put things, how to decorate. He obviously needs a woman around. He must have grown pretty dependent on Easter, she concluded.
“I wish there was something I could do, Kevin.”
“Yeah, me too,” he agreed, kicking his feet in the grass.
“Hey, how about we go to the mall? That always makes me feel better when I’m down. I can show you around my favorite spots so that you can show Easter and the girls when they get here and impress them with your local knowledge. Come on, it’ll help take your mind off all this mess.”
Kevin frowned. Malls clearly weren’t his thing.
“Come onnnn,” Candy begged. “It will help, I promise. Besides, you need to get out of this house! And it looks like it might rain--the mall is perfect for rainy days.”
He rolled his eyes. “Alright then. I guess. But not too long. I need to get back here in case they call later today.”
“Call them back and give them your cell number.”
He hesitated. “Oh yeah. Good idea.”
Candy winked at him and patted her temple with her index finger. “See? Not just a pretty face!” They both laughed. “Glad I could make you smile. OK, you do that, and I’ll go quickly shower and change, and we’ll reconvene at the car in 20. Cool?”
“Cool,” he agreed.