The Stone Woman, pt.8
By Lab Rockstar
Gail looked outside too, and by the light of the outside porch, she couldn’t even see the driveway. Her hands started to sweat. Even if she drove very slowly, she probably wouldn’t be able to see well enough to make it home. Likewise, it didn’t look like anyone would be out plowing the roads in this part of the country yet. Tomorrow, then, Gail thought, disappointed. She sighed. She struggled to come up with a different conversation topic.
“Is that picture of the little girl in the hallway—Charlotte?—is she your daughter?” Gail heard herself asking. Mrs. Scofield grinned.
“Yes, that’s my daughter. She’s in her forties now, can you believe it? I can’t. She’s got two sons, my grandsons, in junior high school. Or middle school, as folks call it nowadays.”
As Mrs. Scofield spoke, Mr. Scofield came into the kitchen. He wore a brown sweater, and had a copy of Reader’s Digest rolled up and shoved into the back pocket of his chinos. He greeted Gail and stood beside her at the stove.
“Gail was just asking about Charlotte,” Mrs. Scofield announced to him.
“Oh? Which one?”
“Our daughter,” Mrs. Scofield explained, taking three bowls out of the cupboard.
“Who is the Charlotte buried on the hill?” Gail asked Mr. Scofield.
“That’s my mother. Edward was my father.” He looked at Gail meaningfully.
The human parts of Gail felt awkward talking about the long dead, but she continued, “I noticed they were born and died the same year.”
“Yes. My mother had cancer. My father died of a heart attack. They didn’t have angioplasties and shunts and triple by-passes and stuff in those days.”
“1970 must have been a very hard year for you.”
Mr. Scofield locked Gail in his eye and said gently, but with finality, “It was.”
“Dinnertime!” Mrs. Scofield chirped with a hint of desperation. “Please sit down, Gail, and have dinner with us.”
“I’m not hungry, but thank you,” Gail said, looking at the table. “I’ll just go to bed, I think.” She could feel the stone creeping through her even as she spoke.
“I made enough for everyone,” Mrs. Scofield persisted. “More than enough, really. Do sit down, please. I made stew, and there’s some biscuits coming from the oven.”
“No thank you,” Gail said curtly, edging away from the woodstove. “I’m really very tired.” But Mr. Scofield blocked her way.
“Death is hard for a scientist, Gail,” he stated suddenly. “Knowing how life works, DNA and proteins and all that molecular biology stuff, turns people into cynics. Now sit down and have dinner.”