TWO INVITATIONS FOR ABBY
Illustration by Carlos Uribe
Abby pushed herself out the door and tried to work off her energy by moving the potted plants and trays of seedlings to the spots in the garden she had chosen for them. Her thoughts continued to grapple with the implications of the minute holes drilled in her window. Someone had broken into her cottage the night before, and had done it in a very professional way.
Tuck appeared at his side door and called to her. “Give me a few minutes,” he said. She followed him up to his office, dreading another piece of bad news.
“Both Glenda and George,” Tuck told her, “stopped by the front desk to see you. Since I’d left Janet with instructions not to allow visitors, they left you these notes.” He handed her two envelopes. “I hate to impose on you this way, but you really do need to get your own phone.”
Abby’s depression changed to a flash of anger. “Someone broke into my cottage last night, using quite a bit of skill. They could easily be eavesdropping on our phones.”
Tuck looked bitterly off into space. “I was afraid of that,” he said. “But I didn’t think they’d jump to such an extreme.”
“Why wouldn’t they go as far as they can?” Abby replied. Tuck turned white with a frozen expression on his face. Red blotches appeared on his cheeks. “I’m sorry,” he finally said. “I’ll need time to… digest the implications… It seems I’ve underestimated the dangers here.”
“I’m going through the same thing,” Abby said, as she rose and walked to the door.
Back in the cottage she grabbed the note from George from her back pocket and read the scribbled words:
Abby, why is your phone turned off? I’ve got news you
must hear right away. I’ll be at the back door at 1AM.
She felt that George was taking too many risks, but she didn’t dare enter Scutter’s Market across the street and try to talk to him on the job. In fact she had no idea what to do, and grabbed Glenda’s note get her mind onto a different subject. She read:
Hi Abby, the interview with Rose and Rob is on for 6:30. Come to my house by 5, bring whatever ID and resume you may have. Tiny and I will go with you to the pre-school.
‘Resume?’ thought Abby. ‘I don’t have any resume, or even a computer to type it on. And it’s not as if there’s much to put on it.’ But she definitely wanted the job at the pre-school, and felt determined to try no matter how hopeless it seemed. She showered, found the most respectable clothes she owned, and hurried down Bridge Avenue, birth certificate and social security card in her pocket. ‘Rose and Rob are getting old,’ she said to herself. ‘That school runs 10 hours a day. Do they have anyone to help them?’
Glenda and Tiny were delighted to see her. Abby told them about her previous jobs and very brief child care experience, and Glenda typed the resume.
They arrived at the Todd farmhouse at 6:30 sharp. Rob invited Tiny and Glenda to the playroom and Rose walked Abby to the children’s dining room, where they sat in chairs far too small for them. Abby found herself totally at ease. Rose’s questions all seemed to be an effort to find reasons to hire her. Abby make it clear that she was only looking for a morning job. The 8:30 to 1pm shift would be perfect. Her responsibilities at the church could not be neglected. When Rose discovered that Abby played the guitar she beamed and smiled, clapped her hands and said, “Oh, just what we need!”
When they rejoined Glenda, Tiny, and Rob, Rose handed her the guitar, and everyone waited. Abby’s mind went blank. But then she thought of a few songs her father had taught her long ago. She hummed a tune to a few chords and launched into the signature song from the old Walt Disney TV show:
When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are
When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.
She sang it twice and then invited Tiny to sing with her. Tiny joined in with enthusiasm and Rose and Rob joined in too. Later on Abby explained that she used to run gardening activities for families at the Half Moon Florist, her previous employer. Rose invited her to try out gardening and music as a volunteer with the children for three mornings the coming week. They spent half an hour filling out paperwork, and Glenda drove Abby home.
Everything had gone well, but Abby remembered that after the mob scene at the abandoned house – only a few days ago -- she had said in her TV interview that she was ‘living’ in the abandoned house. Suddenly she felt certain her paperwork would never be approved… but somewhere in her heart she still had hope.
Then her thoughts shifted to her coming late-night meeting with George.