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July 10, 1989
Three months had passed since Clara had left rehab and she had fallen into a boring daily routine. She worked part time stocking produce at a small mom and pop store. The store was close enough to Pat’s house that she could walk back and forth each day. On Sundays Pat insisted that Clara and Harmony attend church with her at Our Lady of Grace and it was easier to go than to fight with Pat. On Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings there were AA meetings that Pat attended but rarely participated in. She hadn’t touched alcohol since leaving rehab but that doesn’t mean she didn’t want to. When Pat insisted, Clara took Harmony out for a stroll, or to the park but she did not enjoy those outings.
Clara was good at going through the motions of life without getting involved or emotionally attached. She fed, changed, rocked and held Harmony but she did it all on automatic pilot. She felt no connection or love for her grandchild. It wasn’t the baby’s fault. Clara hadn’t felt love for anyone since her Harvey had been murdered all those years ago.
Now, Clara walked down the street pushing the used stroller that Pat had purchased for Harmony at the Goodwill store. They had just left Pat at church and were on their way home for Harmony’s naptime. Clara stopped at the corner and waited for the light to change so she could cross against the traffic. She didn’t notice the taxi coming down the street until it stopped in front of her.
“Hi, Miss. Do you remember me? My name is Moritmer. I gave you a ride a couple of months ago. Is that your baby?”
Clara looked into the car at the driver and instantly recognized him as the man who had given her a ride home from rehab in his taxi. She looked up to check on the traffic signal before answering. ‘No, this is my daughter’s child.”
Mortimer had put the car into park and gotten out. He walked around and opened the back door for Clara. “It looks like a storm is moving in. Let me give you a ride home.”
“No, I can’t…”
“Don’t worry. I’ll cover the cost. We can’t have that baby getting wet. She might get sick.”
Clara looked up at the traffic signal again and wondered if the still red light was some kind of premonition, but her feet hurt and the wind was blowing and it was cloudy so she gave in. She picked Harmony up out of the stroller and waited as Mortimer folded it up and placed it in the backseat. She then crawled in beside it and held Harmony on her lap and Mortimer closed the door and ran back around to the drivers seat.
“My address is…”
“Oh don’t you worry about that. I never forget the address of a beautiful lady.” Mortimer smiled into the rearview mirror and then pulled the car back into traffic. Clara looked up and noticed that the traffic signal was still stuck on red.
Have you gotten your copy of The Day Ginger Snapped?