Further Up, Further In
by B. Nagel
Leigh Monaley waited seven hours at the station. The private investigator assured her that Walter Davidman would be on the 4:05 to Jackson. But Davidman hadn’t been on assurances 10:20, 12:05 or 2:15.
Leigh checked her cellphone. Six missed calls from her mother. Three voicemails. Ten minutes until the bus was due.
She pulled the yearbook out of her bag and opened it to the dog-eared Homecoming page. Her mother, Katie Lopez, in the back of a red convertible driven by a young man with blond hair and thick black plastic glasses.
Leigh’s mother claimed not to know his name, but Leigh knew this man was her father. Where else could she have gotten her abominable vision? Certainly not from her mother’s husband.
“What do we have here?” asked a quaky voice and an age-spotted hand obliterated her father.
The hand’s woman squatted down beside Leigh and the stench enveloped them both. “What a beautiful woman. Are you meeting her here?”
“I’m sorry. This seat is taken.” Leigh shut the book and waited for the woman to move on.
“Not unless you’ve been holding it for the last few hours,” the old woman cackled and winked. “How about I keep you company until the bus shows up with the pretty lady who doesn’t know you’re her daughter? I’ll be your foster mother and we can. . .”
Leigh bolted for the exit and ran up the escalator two steps at a time, past the poet in new jeans.