Episode 1151: A Good DayHope let out a delighted squeal from where she sat on the patio beside Paul, drinking lemonade. She was pretty sure it went against protocol to draw attention to the fact that someone had approached their little free box, people liked to look without feeling intruded upon and her squeal had made it clear that the gray haired woman at their box had an audience.
Hope just hadn’t been able to contain her joy that this project she’d completed with Paul, maybe the only project she’d ever complete with her biological dad was a success. If that thought about it being the only project they’d do together had flashed through her head a few seconds earlier it most definitely would have stopped the squeal.
She’d really enjoyed hanging out with Paul over the summer, it made her sad to think it was all coming to an end.
The gray haired woman raised her arm and waved. Hope and Paul waved in return.
“Do you know her?” Hope whispered.
“Nope,” Paul replied. “I don’t know any of my neighbors.”
“And you kind of wanted to keep it that way and now here she comes and it’s all my fault,” Hope said, watching the woman stride up Paul’s driveway towards them which was even more of a break in little free protocol than squealing in delight when you spy your first visitor.
“I’m sorry,” she muttered under her breath to Paul.
“It’s fine,” he muttered back.
“Hi there, I’m Barbara.”
Hope and Paul introduced themselves in turn.
“I’m sure the last thing you want is some stranger intruding on your lovely afternoon. I just wanted to thank you. I’ve thought for quite some time now that a little library would be the perfect addition to our neighborhood but I’m afraid I’m just not handy with carpentry the way I am with needlepoint and cupcakes, so thank you two for taking the initiative and so beautifully at that, the shape, the sunset colors, it’s truly well done, and I am in love with those woodland creatures, so whimsical. You’re quite the artists.”
“Those animals are all Hope,” Paul said.
“You must be so proud of your daughter.”
Hope braced herself, figuring severe awkwardness was about to settle in. She and Paul had gotten to know one another over the summer but they almost never mentioned the D words, dad or daughter.
Yet Paul didn’t correct his neighbor. “She impresses me more everyday.”
In so many ways it felt like one of those good days you’d cherish forever, but taking in that look on Paul’s face, the way he sort of beamed about her, it just added to the guilt she was already feeling for lying to her mom. She hadn’t lied to Paul about anything. But she also hadn’t broken the news yet that she couldn’t spend this kind of time with him for the rest of the school year, this was the last day, and she’d known it would be for a couple weeks now. She just hadn’t managed to say so out loud.