Do you believe in true love, she asks, and you think for a moment. Your phone rings before you can answer. You take your pants from the back of the chair. Without looking up, you tell her you’ll call.
Traffic is light. You make good time. The white frame house sits back from the road. The lights are on. The neighbors say they haven’t seen anyone there since last Sunday.
You knock on the door. You listen, you wait. You knock again. You don’t yell “Police”. Not in this neighborhood.
You look through the window. The living room’s practically empty. Something else here is odd, and unsettling. Like a mint-colored wall with a bright orange stripe.
You will have to fill paperwork out for a search warrant. And someone will have to get Judge Barnett out of bed to sign it. In the end, he will; he always does. But he will be testy. This judge always is.
A thousand things must happen first, before you can go through the door. A thousand things have happened here, too. Memories were made and moments were captured. They stand on display in cut-crystal frames.
She sticks out her tongue. Pulls down the brim of a polka dot hat. He smiles. Shows off the striped bass he just caught to the camera.
Her garden, his birthday. Their wedding day. They look so young. She gazes longingly into his eyes.
No pictures of her, awake at night, looking up at the ceiling. No photos of him, looking down at the water.
Two box fans sit on the living room floor. A large, damp spot on the carpet between them. And a thousand other things, besides.
Do you believe in true love, she asks.
And somehow you do.
But you tell her you’ll call.