All That Is Mine
I sat there in the same seat since September yet nothing felt the same. There was a draft coming in from the vent slightly above our table. I thought of moving seats but there was no point on switching at the end of the semester. It was the last day of Psychology 2400 Behavioural Research Method.
The professor who had taken over Ric’s position had no intention of giving extra-curricular teachings on the subject. His substitution only obligated him to inform of us that nothing from the scheduled curriculum will be changed. He also had given us our final paper to write and the exam date to finalize the end of this course. I noticed he had actually written his last name on the board behind him - Mr. Maddsen. He seemed jolly for the most part; laughed at his own jokes. I realized it was useless to profile him at such a late stage.
He showed his appreciation by throwing a luncheon for our class alone. The food was catered with assorted trays of sandwiches and veggies; all lined up on a couple long tables positioned by the entrance door. I assumed he brought the potato chips and refreshments to save cost. It almost seemed like he was celebrating an extra pay for taking over what could be his class next year.
Moments passed and I felt as if I was hallucinating. There was a part of me wishing Ric was throwing this simple banquet. I looked at Mr. Maddsen from across the room and once in a while a colleague would pass him and I would see Ric instead. I knew my mind was playing tricks on me on the notion that I longed for Mr. Gardner.
I left the small gathering earlier than I had planned since there was no substantial reason for me to stay. My reason was somewhere else.
Ric’s absence had been much given and I needed to see him. I drove to his place as soon as I left Langara. I parked the car right behind his and sat in there for a while, thinking of the words to say or the perfect line to show him my intent on apologizing. I ended up with nothing but mumbled thoughts.
Breeze had picked up as if it wanted to add mood to an already undesired situation. I knocked on his door instead of ringing the bell just to give me an allotted time to think in case he did not hear it. It was an intentional delay just to have a chance to walk out of my conscience.
“Hello?” Someone spoke behind me.
I turned around in surprise, “Hi, may I help you?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing.” She replied with suspicion.
“Who are you?”
“I should be the one asking questions, dear.”
I had to respect her stature. She was an aged woman but with more hair than most people and finer skin that most teenagers. I have seen her before but I could not pin exactly when and where.
She realized my stalled response, “I’m Eve - the nosy next door neighbour who is watching over this house.”
“I’m Paula. I’m a friend of Ric’s. Just wondering, do you happen to know where he could be?”
“If I did know, I wouldn’t tell you.” She smiled in contentment.
“Do you know?” I needed to keep up with her wits.
“I do. Why do you need to see him?”
I hesitated on opening up but I found no harm in telling the truth, “I wanted to personally apologize.”
Her face changed and so was her mood, “Paula, the college girl.”
“That’s me.” I assumed my name had been passed along.
She finally put down her wall, “He knew you’d come around. You’re lucky I caught you or else you’d be waiting for a long time. He’s not there. He won’t be back for a while.”
“Where did he go?”
“I really can’t tell you that.” Eve looked like she wanted to but sighed in result, “But he said to give you this.”
“What is it for?”
She handed me a key and looks at the house, “You know what it’s for.”
I could not say a word. I was confused in all that had transpired.
She spoke again, “Why don’t you go home before it gets dark, get some belongings of yours to bring back here and figure it out from there. As for me, I’ve done my part. If you need me I’m just across the street right over there.”
I looked over to the house she was pointing at then right back at her. I had to agree with everything she had mentioned since it was a premeditated situation. I felt I was in no position to argue or go against it. I definitely did not want to go against Ric’s wishes.
“Halloween.” Eve interrupted my thoughts, “You were the one handing out the candies to my grandkids before he stepped out of the door.”
She surprised me once again like she knew it had been bothering me. I uttered my appreciation, “Anything else?”
“Don’t give me trouble.” She laughed at a good gesture.
“I won’t.” I joined in the humour.
I did was she had asked me to do as soon as our conversation ended. I disregarded the fact that it was getting dark. I had planned that for however long Ric needed me to stay at his house that I was going to spend my time there studying for exams and writing a whole lot of papers. It was my perfect library. I left my car back at my place and took whatever I needed and rode the transit back to Steveston.
I entered the house with no clue of my next step. The only fixture lit was the light above the kitchen island. I walked straight there like a moth to a flame. There was a note with my name on it leaning against a vase filled with fresh picked tulips. I immediately turned the card over in hopes of finding a better understanding on my current situation.
“Ms. Sullivan, chances are if you’re reading this, then you’ve decided to stay. I’ll be away for a while to further clear my head. Everything in this house is yours to use as your own. Everything in this property is all what is mine and all that I care for, especially you. Please take care of it.