It’s Mother’s Day. She has a right to see her boy.
Zed said that one day she would be with Daniel again, that somehow she would find a way back into his life. Zed said a lot of things and I believed her on some level. But I guess deep down I knew she would never win.
I woke up to four missed calls from Zed. Before I could throw off the covers the phone rang again. “He’s not picking up, Felipé. I told you he wouldn’t.”
“It’s still early,” I said.
“It’s Mother’s Day,” Zed said.
“I know. I’ll be over soon.”
I had not seen Zed’s place in almost a year, not since she said we would be better off just friends. A grand house. Once the local freemasons lodge, Zed said. She had dreamed of raising her boy in the house but when that dream died the place fell by the wayside of lonely living, the knocker tangled in ivy, the gutters clogged with black leaves.
It had just stopped raining and the only sound was water dripping from the trees. On the steps of the wraparound porch, I remembered where not to step, Zed would hold my hand and point to the rotted boards.
We worked in construction, met on a job site, a new Olive Garden in Harrisonburg. She was the civil engineer and I was her helper because I spoke better English than the rest of the crew.
We never even shook hands on the job. But the guys would tease me, ask what color thong she wore, as if they never peeked. Tu novia this, tu novia that, tu novia needs you, tu novia owns you, and that may have been true because at that time I would have done anything for her. But time is time, always unfolding, less and less of it forever.
I found Zed around back sitting on the little wall circling the fishpond. “Still good,” I said, patting the wall. I had made it with hundreds of slates out of the brook that ran behind the old apple-packing garage.
“It’s good to see you too, Zed, especially not on a workday.” She looked ready for the field though, dirty blue jeans, a checkered short-sleeve button-down, muddy boots, neon vest slung over her shoulder. The lengthening days had worked on her farmer’s tan, kissed her blonde hair a shade lighter.
She was staring at something, a look full of wonder or a dead-eyed gaze, I could not tell. I sat beside her and traced her sightline. Through the overhanging tree limbs I spotted a bird gliding through the air.
“A hawk,” I said.
“That’s not a hawk,” Zed said, “that’s a vulture. But let’s say if we see a hawk this morning it’s a sign that we’ll see Daniel, too.”
“Sure,” I said, “but I have a feeling we’ll see him either way.”