Are You Jealous (part two)
How could the repairs have cost so much? Reiff had not itemized; he extenuated nothing…but he had included a phone number. Gabriel stood. His phone would be in his jacket. His jacket ought to be downstairs. The clock ought to be downstairs. Why had he heard it as clearly as if it were in the room?
He approached the thing with trepidation.
Eva had placed the clock on the island, below the pot rack. A thought crossed Gabriel’s mind. If a bus were to go by, shake the foundation, one of those pots…but it would have to be cast iron to do real harm. He tapped up his email, got Reiff’s number.
“I accept a credit card,” Reiff told him. “I accept cash. Also, through McFadden Presby. He will arrange for you.”
“I don’t object to paying…”
“My business is such,” Reiff said firmly, “that I must be paid. I expect to be paid.”
Well, as Gabriel supposed, ending the call, everyone’s business is such, for that matter.
The day was not really sunny; it was not really warm. He felt clammy wearing his jacket. He knew that if he took it off, he would feel chilled. The sun, hazy through low clouds, as though a dim shop light were burning, seemed warmer where yellow leaves remained, withdrawing coldly where limbs were bare. He passed three businesses in a row, shuttered and closed, signs advertising their premises available for lease.
Vows and pledges can’t obviate human nature. Passages in life run their course. Eva’s nature was to fix things—to take a shabby thing and make art of it; to take a broken thing and restore its utility. Eva, on the other hand (as in her blithe way she always said), had a short attention span.
“You don’t, you know. You choose to.” He had said this back to her.
He saw Eva’s face.
Yes, she cast things aside; she moved on to new enthusiasms. She was mistaken, Gabriel thought, if she believed her work was finished.
(2014, Stephanie Foster)