Mary flung her knitting off her lap, tired of pretending to a serenity she didn’t feel. She pulled the lace curtain back and peered through the front window, hoping for a glimpse of Andy’s headlights in the waning afternoon light.
Heavy snow was falling, and the wind blew, making visibility poor. Mary knew that the rain from earlier in the day was frozen slick beneath the deep accumulation on the road. Her mind pictured Andy’s truck sliding off the road and crashing into a tree – or worse yet, skidding off the turn on Rt. 7 and careening straight into the McClune’s pond. She saw his vehicle submerged in the icy waters, the door jammed, as Andy pounded on the window in desperation…
She shuddered at her horrible imaginings. She tried to think of other things, but her mind was unruly and she was unable to quell the anxious thoughts. With a steadying breath, she picked up the jumble of yarn from the couch cushions, determined to dwell on more pleasant musings.
The clock ticked. Her knitting grew. Outside, the last glimmer of twilight faded to the blue-black of night as the snow continued to fall. Mary’s hands shook, but she kept her eyes focused on her work.
At last she heard the familiar crunch of tires in the drive way. The back door opened and then banged shut with reverberating thunder. Was he ever going to fix that door spring? He stomped through the mud room, and then — thud! thud! – his boots landed on the tiled floor.
Andy padded into the living in his stocking feet and bent to give Mary a kiss. She turned her cheek to him with calm demeanor, only the barest trace of tension around her eyes giving testimony to her earlier apprehensions. With a slight grunt, Andy eased his body into the reclining chair and reached for the television remote. His eyes passed over the mantle clock.
“You weren’t worried, were you?” Andy asked as he clicked on the set. “I’m a mite late — I suppose you had me wrapped around the corner telephone pole by now.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Mary answered. “I’m not the ninny you imagine me to be, Andy.”
A fireplace log sparked and popped as if to underline her comment. Mary kept her eyes riveted to her knitting, too irritated to meet her husband’s gaze. The clicking needles provided the tempo for her frustration as she muttered under her breath, “…but you are forty minutes late and not even a phone call…”
“What’s that, Mary? I can’t hear you over these danged commercials. Why do they play them so loud?” He didn’t wait for her answer before posing the next question. “What’s for dinner?”
“Pot roast.” Mary stood up and went to pull the roast from the oven.
“My favorite,” Andy enthused.
“Yes,” Mary replied. “I lost track of time, though. Could be that it’s a mite dry.”