Regarding Anna

Regarding Anna by Florence Osmund Read Free Book Online

Book: Regarding Anna by Florence Osmund Read Free Book Online
Authors: Florence Osmund
Tags: Contemporary, v.5
It seemed a little unfair not to give someone a second chance, but how could you ever trust him again? And if you didn’t have trust, what did you have? Mrs. Barnett was set to leave her husband if he was being unfaithful. I wondered what their marriage was like.
    I tried to fall asleep, but my mind drifted to the boarders who used to live in Anna’s house. Some of them could still be around and able to shed light on her—how she lived, who her friends were, what kind of landlady she was. I made a mental note to track down Flora Walsh the next time I was at City Hall and ask her if she could find Anna’s death certificate, something I had no luck in finding without an inside connection in that department. I made another mental note to thank Louise for putting me in touch with Flora.
    * * *
    The next day, when I arrived at my office, Elmer greeted me at the door.
    “You have a visitor.” He gave me a look that said he was annoyed. It was one minute after nine. If he was going to freak out because I was late by one minute, it was too bad. Who did he think he was—my boss?
    Seated in my office was Mrs. Barnett. “It’s nice to see you again,” I said as I sat down in my desk chair and scrambled for the Thursdays Out file. “I’m afraid I haven’t had the chance to prepare a report for you quite yet.” What did she think...that I worked through the night?
    “That’s okay. You can put it in the mail to me. I’m always the one who gets the mail.” She gave me a quick smile. “I wanted to tell you in person what is going on with my husband.” She paused while she brushed an imaginary piece of lint or something off her lap. “My husband lost his mother when he was very young, and unbeknownst to me until now, she was Jewish. His father was a Lutheran, so Judaism was never part of his life. For the past six months, my husband has been studying Jewish history, its culture, and its religious practices under the guidance of Rabbi Ascherman, all in order to have a bar mitzvah.”
    She closed her eyes for a brief moment, and when she opened them, they were teary. “It had always bothered him, but he had never said a word about it to me.”
    “Was he eventually going to tell you?”
    “He said he wanted to complete the process first before he said anything. Just his way, I guess.”
    “Did you confront him when he got home? Is that how you found out about this?”
    “I did. And he told me he wasn’t surprised I knew where he was because after he left the rabbi’s home last night, some crazy woman in a ridiculous-looking hat had followed him all the way to our apartment.”
    “Don’t worry. Everything turned out fine.”
    “I’m glad it did.” It was clear I needed to work on my undercover disguises.
    “What is the balance of my bill? I would like to pay that now.”
    Lucie settled her account with me, and after she left I glanced at the check she had written—it was fifty dollars more than what she owed. She probably felt sorry for me, but I didn’t care. I was too busy thinking about the skirt steak I was going to attempt to cook on my beat-up hotplate that night.

    Indigent, Unclaimed, and Unknown
    The Millers, bless their hearts, had invited me to spend Thanksgiving Day with them. Otherwise I would have been stuck in the six hundred square feet of pathetic space I called home heating up a frozen turkey TV dinner in the toaster oven and then eating it from a tray on my lap. I had often missed the Millers during those first months on my own. Mostly I missed sitting around a table at mealtime, talking with other people. Or maybe it was just the table itself.
    “Mom, Dad, there’s something we want to tell you,” Beth said.
    Beth, her husband, her parents, and I had just finished a fabulous turkey dinner and had congregated in the living room. Beth was sitting in her mother’s rocking chair smiling from ear to ear. Her husband stood behind her. The Millers and I stopped our conversation

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