Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Episode 39 Graveyard

John Donati had never found much to like about Caroline Wilson, but he felt a certain sadness at her passing. She wasn't popular, even when they were kids, and she'd grown into a bitter, unpleasant woman, but still, they had that shared history, that common bond of growing up in Pine Lake. Now, after a brief graveside service which a surprisingly large number of people had attended, there was a crowd at Taverna, drinking and eating food donated by Matt Wilson's friends and neighbors.

"Look at all these people," Donati's ex-wife, April, said. "Caroline would have been stunned."

"Yeah. I think there were a bunch of folks not too sad to see her go," Donati replied, taking a swig of his Diet Coke. Technically, he was on duty, so no booze.

"That's awful. You shouldn't speak ill of the dead," April replied.

John glanced at his ex. She was still pretty, though in a softer way than when they had first met. Her auburn hair was lighter, threads of gray woven in here and there, and her face and figure were slightly fuller. Despite the divorce (her idea), he still loved her, though not with the blazing passion of their early years.

"Caroline wasn't a happy person. Not our fault," he said.

"No. I guess not." April sipped her white wine.

In the silence between them, John looked over the room. Nick Kallias was sitting at a table all alone. Pale and thin, he was a shadow of his former self. Donati had heard from Claire Monroe that Nick would be having triple bypass in a week or two, once Selena was better.

Helen Kallias was bustling around, keeping the restaurant functioning, but she, too, had aged ten years in the past two weeks. Something had gone down in that family even before Selena's accident; Donati didn't know what it was, but it had to be more than coincidence that Nick and his daughter were both perfectly healthy one minute, and in intensive care the next.

Across the room, Blake Adams was making a fool of himself over Jeni DuMont. It didn't take the Chief of Police to figure there was something hinky going on there, too. Blake had been behaving badly lately, trying to escape the pressures of his life by diving head-first into mid-life crisis mode.

"So, John-D, there's something I've been meaning to tell you," April said, referring to Donati by his childhood nickname.

Donati felt his breath catch; there was usually something dark beneath those words.

"Yeah? What?" He wasn't sure he wanted to know.

"I'm leaving."

"What do you mean 'leaving'?"

"Moving. I'm going to California."

The blood ran out of John's head. "What?"

"I've been offered a job in a gallery in San Francisco. It's a new start for me."

"You can't be serious."

"I'm very serious. I leave next week."

"But we have a son. You can't leave Jack."

April tilted her head to one side--a gesture that John had always loved. "Our son is twenty-five. He's getting married. I'll come back for the wedding, but he doesn't need his mommy to tuck him in at night."

"But he still needs you. And you can't leave Pine Lake."

"Oh, John."

"Don't 'oh, John' me. That's what you always do." He reached for her arm.

Anticipating his move, she put her hand out and grasped his wrist. "John. We're done. Finished.  We have been for years." She released her grasp, turned again, and walked away.

It wasn't true, John thought. They would never be finished.

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