Helen opened the door of the car and waited until Josie sat down to ask her why she'd been smiling so much; during the PTA meeting. Josie loved gossip and if this tidbit proved as delicious as usual, Helen knew they’d be in for an entertaining ride.
After all, what could be better than some juicy gossip?
“So, what’s got you smiling?” Helen asked.
Josie fastened her seat belt and turned to her friend with a smile. “I heard one of the ladies in our neighborhood is going to be getting a divorce.”
Helen started the car. This was even better than usual. “Really? Who?”
Josie shook her head. “I don’t know. I’ve heard the wife doesn’t even know – but her husband’s been cheating on her for years.”
Helen couldn’t believe it. “Really? Who told you?”
“Oh, I really shouldn’t say.”
Helen smiled. She knew Josie couldn’t keep stuff like this to herself. “Oh, C’mon.”
Josie smiled and confirmed Helen’s prediction. “Well, OK. I heard it from the girlfriend’s sister. She also told me the girlfriend is expecting.”
Helen shook her head. There really was nothing better than this, was there? “Oh, goodness. And the wife doesn’t know?”
Josie echoed the head-shake. “Not at all. From what I hear, she’s got no clue.”
Helen glanced at Josie. “How can she not know her husband’s running around? I mean… she’d have to notice he wasn’t spending time at home.”
Josie shrugged. “Well, I heard he’s telling her he’s been taking classes for work. Classes: anatomy classes, I’m sure.” Josie giggled at her own wit.
Helen groaned. “Oh, Josie. You’re so bad. I mean… I know you heard this from the girlfriend’s sister, but…”
Helen had to say something. After all…”Well… sometimes guys do have to take classes, at work.”
Another shrug. “Well, yes, I guess,” Josie responded. “But the sister says he goes to her house every Thursday evening.”
Helen had stopped enjoying the juicy story, because it was beginning to hit a little close to home. “Well… it’s just… that’s when Jay takes his classes.”
“Oh? It is?”
“Yes, every Thursday.”
“That doesn’t mean anything,” Josie assured her. “Jay isn’t like that.”
Helen hesitated; then responded quietly. “No, of course he’s not. He wouldn’t do that.”
Josie rushed to think of more details, so she could reassure her. “Don’t worry, Helen. It can’t be Jay. This guy doesn’t even drive a Saturn. This guy’s car is an old Pontiac.”
Helen stared straight ahead. Her complexion was suddenly pale.
Helen grimaced and slowed the car. Slowly, she pulled it to the curb and stopped. Then she said, “Josie, the Saturn was in an accident. Jay’s been driving a loaner car: a Pontiac.”
Josie didn’t know what to say. “Helen…c’mon. It couldn’t be.”
Helen just shook her head. “I don’t want to think so, but… what if it is?”
Josie was quiet. How had a bit of harmless gossip tidbit ended up like this? What had she done – and what could she do, now? She turned and said, “Helen, let me drive us to my place. We’ll go in and have a cup of tea and pray. We’ll think of something.”
Mutely, Helen nodded and unbuckled her seat belt. She opened the car door. “Okay,” she said.
But, as they switched seats, Josie knew it wasn’t okay.
And Helen could think of about a million things better than this particular piece of gossip.
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