Rebekah is Monk’s somewhat estranged daughter, somewhat because she lives in Virginia and he’s out in LA. Throw in that he’s adverse to carrying a phone and she’s going through a rough patch in her marriage with her husband, Farrell, and the not so insignificant fact that they’ve seen little of one another in the six or so years since he left, and their relationship is tentative at best. Rebekah is stopping by after visiting her grandfather, Moses, who lives in Northern California.
“This is where you live?” Rebekah, my daughter, was not impressed with my quant little bungalow.
“This is it,” I said, confirming her impression. “Why, what did you expect?”
“I don’t know, something different, I guess.”
She stood at the door.
I didn’t expected her, hadn’t seen her in six years. My last memory of her is saying goodbye that sad summer’s eve and her rather blunt, “ok.” I sent my address, somewhat reluctantly, to her a few years back and expected nothing from it.
I assumed we were done with each other.
“Why don’t you come and have a seat,” I pointed to the small sofa across from the door.
“I can’t stay very long, my flight leaves in a few hours.”
If she had no time, why was she here? “You’re still welcome to have a seat for how ever long you can stay.”
Rebekah Jenkins, wife of Farrell Jenkins, moved past me and carefully sat down on the sofa.
“Would you like something to drink? I have water, wine, a few beers, and whiskey.” I offered.
“Water is fine.”
I liked that I shocked her with an offer of whiskey.
With water in hand, I sat in the chair to her right. She removed the cap off the bottle, all the while regarding me. I knew I was different in both appearance and attitude, at least outwardly. Gone were the beard and the attitude. In place of denim overalls, I now wore suits of some vintage and I kept my face clean shaven. She probably didn’t recognize me.
“You seem to have changed everything about yourself. I asked for William Bohrman and no one knew the name. Then I remembered the name on the address you sent, Monk Buttman. Fortunately, a woman named Joanie pointed me here. ”
I wondered if Joanie was just outside the door trying to listen in.
“It’s true I don’t use the name William Bohrman anymore, but if you want to continue using it, that’s ok.”
“You mean like Astral?” she smiled at that. Astral was her mother’s name before she decided she preferred Lilith. I preferred Astral.
“Yes, like Astral. Speaking of which, how is your mother? Is she still with Judah?” I didn’t really want to know.
“They’re fine. She just delivered their third little boy.” I noted the sour tone in Rebekah’s voice.
“Yes.” Nice and terse, it was almost as if Astral were here.
“And me what?” she knew.
“Kids. I thought you were gung-ho to have children.”
Rebekah pursed her lips; I recognized the look, I had received it many times over the years. “We’re trying. For whatever reason we haven’t had any luck,” she looked directly at me as if it were my fault. She sounded like her mother after we tried to give her a brother or sister, insinuating the same, but I knew the truth to that lie. “Maybe God is testing us,” she murmured.
“What does that mean,” she shot back.
“Only that the mind of God can be difficult to discern, that’s all. How’s Farrell?” There was no point in arguing religion.
“He’s ok, he still works at the farm and feed with his brothers. He also leads a men’s bible study group at the church.” She got up and moved towards the kitchen. I followed.
“And what do you do these days?” I was curious.
“I have a job in town. It’s ok, I guess.” I noticed her looking at her hands.
“But what?” Rebekah looked at me. I wondered if the day would ever come where I didn’t see anger or disappointment in her eyes.
“Nothing, it’s just that you don’t seem very thrilled.”
“Are you thrilled with your job? Actually, what is your job? I doubt it’s farming.” She stood on the other side of the dinette table I’d bought at the Goodwill.
“I work for a law firm, Aeschylus and Associates, and while I wouldn’t use the word thrilled, I’m content in what I do.”
“Yes, yes, everyone’s content.” She was back to looking at her hands.
“What do you mean?”
“It doesn’t mean anything.” I waited for more, but instead got, “I should probably go. Can you take me to the airport?”
I reached over to the counter and grabbed a tissue.
©2019 David William Pearce