I pulled into Mom’s driveway and shut the engine off. A year ago, I moved back to keep an eye on her. Even though her mind is still sharp, her physical health is worrisome. She sleeps much of the time. The doctors brushed it off as natural age progression. Then they suggested moving her into assisted living, but she refuses to because in her words, ‘I’m not old.’
Closing my eyes, I leaned back in the seat to collect my thoughts. Could I really be considered an accessory to Alex’s poaching? When I moved back in with Mom, I had to give up a better paying job in the cities. My freelance pay isn’t enough to cover lawyer fees. I can’t tell Mom, not right now at least.
I opened my eyes and took a deep breath. Now, to assess Lowry’s vandalism of the interior my vehicle. The contents of the glove compartment littered the floorboard. My emergency crate was tipped over. And Alex’s backpack was partially emptied and some of his belongings scattered between the front and second row seats. The bottom of the backpack was wedged under a second-row seat. A worn-out sneaker, a pair of rolled up socks, and a pair of frayed jeans laid near its opening.
After straightening up my belongings, I attempted to put the spilled things Alex’s pack back inside it. The man must be a master. Try as I might it wouldn’t close properly even though not everything was back inside it. I scooped up the pack and stray items, taking them into the house.
Knowing Mom might be asleep, I gently nudged the front door open; she was. The recliner would be far more comfortable, instead she was sitting up on the couch with her head thrown back. Several years ago she would have stirred or said something, but she continued snoring. I tiptoed across the living room dodging the two squeaky boards that tattled on me so many times when I was a child.
Once in the kitchen, I placed the stray items on the table and began unpacking the rest. Maybe if I saw how it was packed, I can get everything back into it. Inside were two thread bare shirts and one pair of jeans with holes in the knees. They weren’t the fancy ones you bought that way, but the kind that are worn out. Oddly, the other sneaker was towards the bottom of the pack.
It looked empty, but still seemed too heavy. I turned it over looking for other compartments – nothing. Grabbing it by the straps, I gave it a firm shake. Something shifted inside, but I couldn’t see how to reach what was hidden.