“What is it?” Cal asked.
“What do you mean?” Kitty answered.
They were at Alva’s Café waiting for Lonnie McSweeney to arrive. They had come early to eat lunch.
“You’ve been preoccupied lately. Ever since I suggested we find an apartment together,” said Cal.
Kitty shrugged. She had so many conflicting emotions. He was asking so much of her. She had been on her own such a short time. She had to find her own way. Yet she didn’t want to lose him.
“We don’t have to, you know. We can leave things the way they are. I just thought… he stumbled for a minute. “I just thought, you know, that it would be nice.” He knew as the words came out of his mouth that it was a halfhearted attempt to placate her, but he didn’t know what else to say. His marriage had crumbled and he didn’t understand why. When he saw the guy Lois had left him for he was even more mystified. Now Kitty. He didn’t want to say the wrong thing or do anything to scare her off. Still, he didn’t like living alone, eating alone, waking up in the morning with no one next to him. He wasn’t one of those guys who likes to stay out late with the boys. He was a family guy, a guy who wanted to know that everything was in its proper place. Especially his wife. And now she was out of the picture. And there was a gaping hole that he needed to fill.
He looked so forlorn that Kitty felt sorry for him. As she was about to relent and tell him it was okay, that she would move in with him, Lonnie McSweeney appeared at the table, a crumpled manila envelope in his hands, his overcoat covered in melting snowflakes.
“What a day,” he said. “The Christmas season. Everyone acts like a lunatic. And now snow. Wouldn’t ya just know it?” He sat down next to Cal after hanging his coat over an extra chair.
“Would you like some lunch?” Kitty asked.
“Nah,” said Lonnie. “I just came to give you my report so far.”
Kitty felt suddenly sick to her stomach.
“Oh,” she whispered. Cal reached over and took her hand.
“Is it … I mean is it bad?” she asked quietly, holding onto Cal’s hand tightly. “Did you find them?”
Lonnie held up the envelope.
“Here’s what I got,” he said. “Maybe you want me to go over it for you? Give you the bird’s eye?”
“Yes,” Kitty answered with as much certainty as she could manage. After all she had hoped for, after all the fantasies of finding her family, of belonging again, of recapturing the past, now she wasn’t at all sure that this had been such a good idea.