The back screen door made the all-familiar creak followed closely by the thud as John exited to meet the guys at Bowl-a-rama. I glanced at my watch, intuitively knowing it would read 7:00pm. John was a creature of habit. Not much had changed in his daily routine over the 30 years we were married. He would wake up every morning at precisely 6am, walk exactly one mile, and consume a large bowl of oatmeal with only cinnamon and two cups of black coffee. He would shower and dress at eight, and be off to open up the hardware store for nine. At 5:30pm John would return home and expect a meal on the table by six. Every night of the week except Tuesday he would watch old westerns after supper until he fell asleep in his lazy boy chair.
As I dried the last dinner plate, I caught a glimpse of John’s faded blue bowling bag next to the door in the kitchen.
“That’s just great, now I have to drive to the Bowl-a-rama,” I thought.
The Bowl-a-rama was bubbling over with overzealous children bouncing to and fro from the video games to the refreshment stand. I spotted Walter first on lane five. He was a broad- shouldered massive man dressed in green. “He looks like the Jolly Green Giant,” I thought giggling to myself.
“Hey Walter, where is John? He forgot his ball.”
Walter looked back and forth completely startled and confused, “I don’t know June; we haven’t seen him lately.”
“What do you mean? He left at 7:00 to meet you guys.”
“I don’t know sweetie. It’s been two weeks now since he’s bowled with us,” Walter responded.
“Ok, thank you,” was all I managed to say as I attempted to maintain my composure and leave.
“I don’t know where John is, but I hope he’s having more fun than we are,” Walter commented as he threw a gutter ball.
A stampede of feelings flooded my head as I choked back the tears.
“What’s he doing? Is he with someone else? Should I confront him about this?”
“I need to call Josie. No, I first need to talk to God; the throne before the phone the pastor would say. I’ll make a detour here at the abbey before I go back home,” I resolved.
God’s message was clear “Be Still”.
So still and silent I remained.
On the other side of town, still and silent was not the order of the evening.
“Is that you Walter? How was your game tonight?”
“Ok. June stopped by with John’s bowling ball. For some reason, he told her he was playing with us.”
“He wasn’t bowling tonight?”
“No, he hasn’t bowled with us in a couple of weeks.”
“Oh no! She must be devastated. It’s obvious he is seeing someone. I wonder who she is.”
“Leave it be Josie. Don’t go writing the gossip column in the Sunday Tribune. Remember Noseville is a small town.”
Unfortunately, Josie did not heed the warning. She called Susan, who in turn contacted Laura, who notified Cheryl, and on and on, until the last domino fell.
June maintained her silence and prayed often as Tuesday approached once again.
“Tom has never lied to me. I just have to trust God and Tom. There must be a logical explanation for his behavior,” she thought.
For diversion, June went out with the girls on Tuesday night. After a cocktail or two the gossiping women could not contain themselves any longer.
“June, we’re here for you. We know all about John and the 25 year old.” Cheryl commented.
“What? What 25 year old?”
“Oh we’re sorry, we thought you …. Oh my goodness! Look!” Cheryl pointed.
Before any further erroneous information was shared, all eyes were glued to John and a woman with a briefcase entering the cafe. Without thinking, June flew out of her seat and marched over to his table.
“June, what are you doing here?” John asked sheepishly.
“John, I think the better question is, what are you doing and who is she?”
“I’m Angelle. I’m afraid there’s been a misunderstanding. John?”
I hired Angelle to plan our 30th anniversary party. I wanted us to renew our vows.”
“We were finalizing the paperwork tonight,” Angelle added.
“I was just trying to surprise you,” John admitted smiling.
“Ok, I know I wasn’t being still. Just look at what happens when I don’t listen to You,” June said talking to the heavens as the gossipers slithered out.
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