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Friday, March 11, 2011

Fiction Friday-- One More Time, Chapter 3c

For earlier chapters, scroll on down to previous Friday blogs.
Paul felt frustrated, but what could he do? He pulled off his tie and threw it across the room. Running his fingers through his hair, he tried to think of anyone else that Sarah might have gone to. Two cousins, Mildred, in Carefree, and Mildred’s sister, Wilma, in Kingman. Late now, but maybe they would still be up. He tried Mildred first, who answered on the first ring.
“Hello, Mildred, this is Paul, Sarah’s husband. I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m worried about Sarah. She’s not home yet, and she left early this morning, for work I’m assuming. Have you heard from her?”
“No, Paul, I sure haven’t. Surely she wouldn’t have gone anywhere without letting someone know, though.”
“I know, that’s the whole thing. I can’t find anyone who knows anything. She didn’t show up at her office today. I don’t know where else to check. You and Wilma are my last resources. Have you talked to Wilma today?”
“No, you want me to call her?”
“No—thanks, but no. I’ll call her. ‘Bye, Mildred.”
“Let me know what you find out, okay? See you Paul.”
He called Wilma. It took four rings for her to answer, and her voice sounded groggy.
“I’m sorry to wake you, Wilma. This is Paul Johnson. I’m hoping you have heard from or seen Sarah today. She’s not home, and she left early this morning.”
“Whoa, Paul, I’m awake now! No, I haven’t seen her. Have you called the police?”
“Yes, and they put the information into their missing persons system. I’ve been calling people to see if anyone has seen or heard from her.”
“Well, she’s not here. Sorry, Paul. I haven’t heard from her for over a week. If I hear anything, I’ll let you know, though. Will you let me know, too?”
“I’ll try to. Thanks Wilma. Bye.”
“See you Paul. Hang in there.”
Paul hung up the phone. Who else could he call? Sarah had been sort of a loner, not many close friends. They had a lot of casual friends, but there were none he could think of that she’d spend the entire day with. Unless—Could it be that she might have been seeing another man? That doesn’t feel like something she’d do. Besides, usually if a person has a new interest, wouldn’t they get spiffed up and look pretty cheery? If anything, she’s just the opposite—she isn’t taking particular care with her appearance, even going casual to work—which most of her co-workers do, but Sarah didn’t until after Tammy died. So that’s probably out as an option, too. This, as far as I can think, leaves only two options—she was injured so badly she couldn’t even use her cell phone or she is, she is...
Paul sat at the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. Was it only this morning that I was thinking about asking for a divorce? What kind of idiot am I?

The phone rang, and Paul grabbed it before even checking the Caller ID.
“Hello?” He could hear the urgency in his own voice.
“Hi, it’s me,” his mother said. “Have you heard anything?”
“Oh. Hi, Mom,” he said, disappointment flooding him. “No, nothing.”
“I just had another thought,” said Halena. “Didn’t Sarah have a college roommate named Dorothy that she was pretty close to? I think she was the maid of honor at your wedding, and she came to the funeral, too.”
“Oh, yeah, good, I forgot about her. I’ll call her. In fact, I think maybe Sarah just got a call from her just a couple of days ago. The phone number should still be in the received calls on the phone. See ya, Mom.”
“‘Bye, Sweetheart. Call me when you find out anything.”
Paul paged through the received calls on the phone, and sure enough, there was Dorothy’s number. He pushed send, and the phone rang several times. When the answering machine picked up, Paul just began leaving a message when Dorothy’s sleepy voice answered.
“Hi, Sarah. What’s up?”
“Hello Dorothy. It’s not Sarah, it’s Paul. Sarah’s missing, and I’m contacting anyone I think might have heard from her. Have you?”
“What? Missing? No, I haven’t talked to her since Monday. How long has she been gone?”
“Since early this morning.”
“You know, Paul, I’ve been really worried about her since Tamara died, she’s been so depressed. This is not something I even want to think about, but you don’t think she might have...I mean, she wouldn’t try to...”
“No, I didn’t think so, but that really worries me now, too. I don’t want to think so, either, but she’s never done anything like this before. I’d think if there had been an accident, the police would’ve notified me by now, but I haven’t heard anything—I called them a couple of hours ago, and they said they would send someone out to interview me when an officer was free, but they haven’t called back or showed up yet.”
“Maybe they think she’ll show up on her own. If she went off the road, though, there are a hundred places that her car wouldn’t be very visible, and it’s dark now.”
“Yeah, and if she went off the road somewhere between here and town and she could be injured or, ...or worse. Probably they just haven’t found the car or whatever. I wish I knew, I just wish I knew where to even start.”
“I’m here, Paul, if you want to talk, and I mean that. Any time, day or night.”
“Thanks, Dorothy. I think I’ll be calling Dr. Howard tomorrow—the therapist that I’ve been going to since Tamara died. I think he’s had a pretty good feel for what’s been going on inside my head. Maybe better than I do. This is hitting pretty hard, so I guess I’ll call him. But now I need to get off the phone just in case anyone calls me back.”
“Sure, Paul, I understand. Hang in there. Bye.”
He tried Sarah’s cell phone again—no luck.
Paul didn’t sleep much that night. Every car passing on the road, every dog barking, every creaking noise in the house snapped him awake. At five, he gave up and got up. He tried Sarah’s cell again. He started the coffee, took a shower, poured his coffee, force of habit alone carrying him heavily from one action to the next.
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