Complicated Sisters By Christine Swiderski
Mornings are my favorite. Waking while it is still dark out. I know it will be light in 45 minutes. The birds beckon the sun, welcoming it before the human eye can see it. Coffee is brewing I start my rounds opening up the blinds to let the warmth of the sun, light the room. Showing the dust settling from life’s movements.
Geese cruise overhead trumpeting their existence. Wild flowers spread their gift upon the field across the street. Squirrels are skittering about the trees with their chatter. Wild Turkeys are bustling through foliage making their way to the cornfield for their morning meal. Too much of society misses out on the simpler things in life. Nature is a level playing field. Only the strong survive.
My sister is staying with me after a fight she had with her boyfriend. She goes through boyfriends as some people go through chewing gum. Once it looses its flavor she spits them out and moves on to the next. I told her once, one day you will try and spit out the wrong one. He will either be the keeper or the creeper.
In the kitchen, I hear the coffee maker sputter the last amount of water as it brewed the black caffeine beverage. My feet made a naked padding sound as I crossed the hardwood floor onto the tiled kitchen floor. After pouring my cup of coffee I looked out of the kitchen window and spotted my neighbor Norton taking his trash out. I wondered about the immense bag he was dragging to the curb. Norton lives alone, he seems to be a loner. He is friendly when I am out in the yard, or if we meet in town. There have been times I had asked for his assistance. He is tall, angular man. Very nice looking. I cannot fathom why a woman has not snatched him up yet. I decided to be nosy. I stepped off the porch onto the dewy wet grass as Norton was dragging out another large bag of garbage. I walked over with an extra cup of coffee in my hand.
Calling out I said: “Norton! I figured you could use a cup of coffee after all the grunt work.”
He turned to me and said: “Jeannie. Thank you. When are you going to call me Carl.”
I smiled and said:”Ha, I don’t know why I don’t. I guess it’s because I don’t know you well enough to do so. Silly really. We have lived next door to each other for a couple of years.”
Carl said: “Okay, fair enough. Why not let me fix you some breakfast.”
I was taken aback at the offer. I accepted. Following him into his house, the back door stepped directly inside the kitchen passing the laundry room and a small bathroom.
Carl motioned for me to sit at the counter. We chatted about the weather as he refilled my coffee. He turned to open the refrigerator, my cell phone rang. I excused myself as I answered it. He nodded.
My sister Melanie was calling wondering where I was. After I told her and hung up I looked up and Carl was looking directly at me. At that moment I realized what striking blue eyes he has. I smiled knowing full well my face was probably registering what my loins wanted.
Carl smiled and said: “I have always found you equable Jeanie. Each time we have come across each other, you are always in a serene mood. Even if it was storming outside. Your demeanor shown as though the sun was out.”
Surprised by this clear sweet compliment, I sat back in the chair and smiled. I thanked him and said: “I have, to be honest, Carl. You are an enigma wrapped in a riddle.”
His laugh was hearty. So delightful it made me laugh. As he tipped his head back to laugh I noticed the slope of his jaw and throat. Realizing if I do not focus on something else I will embarrass myself. Looking away to take in my surroundings I was pleasantly surprised by the clean tidy house. Turning back to Carl I said: “A bachelor who is neat and tidy. You get points for that.”
He turned to look at me over his shoulder while he was cooking the bacon and eggs. I know after breakfast I will stay for desert.
After breakfast, I helped with the clean up. Carl asked if I would like to do some garage sales with him. I told him I could not that I needed to help my sister get settled in her new apartment. He then asked me over for dinner. A simple barbecue. I accepted.
It was a grueling day moving boxes. I left my sisters by 5 pm. I told her I would come by tomorrow to help her unpack and get settled in. She laughed and said: “You better or I will come over to Carl’s house and drag you out of his bed.”
My sister is so forward it makes me laugh sometimes. Once I was home I showered, changed, filled a cooler with ice, beer, wine , Tequila. I could see car putzing around in his garage. I called out the window, “Carl I have some liquid refreshments. Are you interested?”
He called back, “Yes I sure am.”
I laughed and said: “I packed the cooler pretty full I need a hand with it.”
He pulled his charcoal grill out of the garage and jogged over. Instead of a helping hand, he lifted the entire cooler. I wondered what was in those bags that he dragged. I glanced over at the curb, there were flies but not a large amount. Tomorrow Waste Management will dispose of them. Shrugging off my common sense I followed this sexy guy over to his yard. Noticing some lawn chairs I ran over and grabbed 2. We settled in with our first brew. Clinked the beer cans together we chugged the first cold brew. Followed by a shot each of Tequila. Carl said he likes my choice of liquid refreshments.
By the time we finished our steaks and satiated our appetite for each other I passed out on Carl’s bed in a heap of mangled legs and sweat, knowing full well I was going to have a hangover in the morning.
I awoke to my sister throwing stones at the bedroom window calling out: “Olly Olly Oxen Free!” My eyes opened, my heart pounded and Carl was nowhere to be found. Leaning out the window I asked Melanie if she had seen Carl. She laughed and said:”What did you do to him?”
I dressed quickly all the while my head was throbbing. Due to the holiday, the garbage was still at the street. There was a patrol car there, a police officer was talking on his phone. By the time I came outside there were 4 patrol cars. A police officer was walking up to the house. The officer asked me: “Mam do you know anything about the contents of those bags?”
I said: “No sir.” I told him how I saw Carl dragging them to the curb. I also said I did not know where Carl was. I was embarrassed to explain the event of the last couple of days, admitting I did not know Carl all that well. The officer was not forthcoming in regards to the contents of the bags.
It took a month before they caught up with Carl. I had to get special permission to visit him. I needed to know why he killed those 3 women.
He said: “They treated me as though I was disposable. Jeanie I know you would not have treated me that way. I left because I realized I screwed up. I forgot they would not be picking up the garbage till the next day because of the holiday.”
A shiver went through me. I told my sister what he said. She now realizes how lucky she is that her remains were not found at the curb.