THE PUBLISHED SHORT STORIES OF
Edith Gallagher Boyd

The Perils of Moving Day
Edith Boyd

            Kevin's friend Roger backed his truck into my driveway. I could hear the swoosh of the mattress going through the door. I was in the kitchen, not trusting the guys with my grandmother's china.  I had lined the boxes with newspaper, and chosen white tissue paper to surround each delicate piece.

            I heard the screen door shut, and inhaled the scent of azalea bushes surrounding the entrance to my place. So, it was decided. Kevin and I were moving in together. My parents wouldn't approve, so I hadn't told them.

            "Katie," Kevin would say, as he put down the remote to look at me.

            "Why pay for two places, and run back and forth forgetting half our stuff?"

            "Kevin, that was the least romantic proposal I've ever heard," I said, grateful for our easy ways, but sometimes I wanted more tradition between us.

            Like an engagement ring sitting poised on a delicate gold band, presented to me in a small blue box. Stories my aunts liked to tell during card games my mother held when I was little. Remembering all the romance before my uncles, those still among us, sprouted beer bellies, and were taken over by their remote controls, switching one loud game for another.

            From my vantage point, there was no dimming of the love my aunts and uncles shared, stretched and grown through the turmoil of children and layoffs. Their girl talk, unguarded with my mother's blush wine, proudly served in stemmed glasses, let them reminisce their dreams when love was new; their waists tiny; and their hopes untainted with age or loss.

            Was I craving these traditions my aunts spoke of so colorfully, or was something off between Kevin and me? I could list the friends and family who spoke of my luck in having met him and sparked his interest. I was in complete agreement to the point of feeling defensive of my own worthiness, and few things were as captivating as Kevin's eyes...when he removed himself from the sports viewing that so consumed his free time.

            And then there was the trickle of doubt that swept through me when I thought of Richard and the charge between us that rocked my world. His saying he needed space, and wasn't ready for commitment; my wobbly re entry into the world of dating; the smoky-eyed guy who applied ice to my head when I slipped at a party wearing too high heels - the guy I was moving in with today.

            "Katie," he said, peeking into the kitchen. I nearly dropped my grandma's gravy dish. "We need you to go to Home Depot to get more packing boxes. Roger's buddies will be here in two hours."

            Typical Kevin to let things go to the last minute. Home Depot was the last place I wanted to be on a Saturday. I shifted gears, got a better head about it, and went to my car, squeezed in at the corner.

            Given to believing in celestial signs and signals, I breathed a sigh of relief when I found a parking spot close to the entrance of the store. Perhaps this move was blessed by the gods. As I asked an orange- aproned employee to direct me to the boxes, I caught sight of a profile that ground me to a halt. I hid behind a sign to take a better look.

            The old familiar jolt, the high that was everything Richard hit me like a shot of Jack    Daniels. I missed that spark, but not the slights, the freeze-outs....the angst.

            He spotted me, placed the tools he was holding onto a display table, and gifted me with one of his heart-stopping smiles. I stayed put and he came over and pulled me close to him. I remembered his scent and the turmoil of his infidelities, and my leaning on Aunt Sally during one of our episodes.

            "He's not the right one, Katie. You'll know it when you meet him. My parents hated Tony at first, but I knew...and he never disappointed me, 'did you Tony?' "she said to the empty placemat.

            "All that glitters isn't gold" she added, my tears welling up again, loving her, and missing Uncle Tony.

            "Katie, it's so good to see you," Richard said, bringing me back to the present.

            'Catch a coffee?" He said confidently.

            He had the look he had when I made him fess up that he did hit on my friend Mariah.

            "No thanks, Richard,"  I said,  "Give my best to your parents," I said, meaning it.

            I didn't check out any boxes, and felt in my bones that Kevin was not right for me. I turned and headed to my car knowing that we wouldn't be moving in together, not today...not ever. His kindness had healed me from the dregs of my break-up with Richard, but he didn't inflame me as Richard had, and I knew there was somebody out there who could make me feel what Aunt Sally felt for Uncle Tony.. somebody with Kevin's goodness who sparked me as had Richard, without his glaring flaws.

            It wouldn't be easy disappointing Kevin, but he deserved better than what I felt for him.

            The sound of Aunt Sally's voice on the phone overwhelmed me with relief. She accepted my dropping by for a quick chat,  to shore me up for what I was facing, and would not disappoint me in her counsel or her kindness.

Edith Boyd
Edith Gallagher Boyd is a graduate of Temple University, a former French teacher, and an avid fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.  She and her family live in Jupiter, Florida.