The House Where Moses Lives
It was a nice house on a neat block with trees and front porches and a neighborhood feel to it. The houses were more modest than the ones in Alva’s neighborhood, but still they looked a lot like the one where she had lived with her aunt. They had a familiar look and feel that gave Alva a modicum of comfort. Snow was piled around parked cars and up against lampposts, but the steps and walkways to all the houses had been shoveled. Some boys were throwing snowballs at some other boys.
The sounds of small children came from a playground at the end of the block where someone had shoveled away enough snow so that the climbing gym was accessible. The children had pushed snow into a high mound that they were using as a small sledding hill, sliding on black plastic trash bags, then trudging back up to slide down again. It had been a snowy season so far. Alva couldn’t remember a December when they’d had more snow. The sun was shining and icicles dripped from roof eaves. From inside the taxi, Alva scanned the house numbers until she found the one where Moses and his family lived.
Benny pulled his cab over to the curb, letting the engine idle.
“Chjyoo want I stop here and wait, Miss Alba?” he asked, turning to look at her in the back seat.
“Sure, Benny, that would be fine,” she answered but she didn’t move to get out.
“Chjyoo want I help chjyoo out?” Benny asked.
“No, Benny. I’m all right, I guess,” Alva said, but she still did not move. “What do you think, Benny? Maybe I should wait on this a bit. Maybe I shouldn’t a come around like this.”
“Oh, Miss Alba, iss going to be okey dokey you go up there. You see. He going to be happy to see hees mama,” Benny said.
“I hope so,” said Alva as she maneuvered herself sideways and opened the taxi door. She stepped onto the street gingerly, feeling around for a flat spot where she wouldn’t slip. In her mind, she rehearsed what she wanted to say. Or what she thought would be the best way to start, at least. She would greet whoever answered the door and introduce herself as Alva Patterson and say she understood that Moses Freeman lived here. Then she would say she believed he was a relative of hers and she would like to meet him. She thought that should go fine, and if it didn’t, she would have to see what to do when the time came. She would not say right off that she was the mother of Moses Freeman. She thought that would be too much of a shock. Too confusing, since he had been given the name of his adoptive parents. She was rehearsing this as she walked along the shoveled path to number three fifty-three. She had climbed the four steps to the front door, and was about to cross the front porch to ring the doorbell, when it opened and two boys burst out, not expecting someone to be standing there, and crashed into Alva, knocking her off balance. She fell to one side, holding her arms out to keep the littler boy from falling too, and they both went down in a heap.