Sweet Little Thing(9)

By: Abbi Glines

She shook her head. “Don’t have time. A muffin maybe? And a cup of coffee to go?”

I walked over to the pantry and found the bakery muffins that Portia sometimes nibbled on with her coffee in the morning. Stepping out, I handed it to her and went over to make the coffee.

“Thank you. I’m so damn hungry.”

“You’re welcome,” I replied.

“I’m Shay by the way. I saw you working last night. Thought it looked about as sucky as my job. But then you get to see Jasper every day, so that’s a perk. I hear he’s an amazing fuck.”

Opening the cabinet where there were less expensive coffee cups, I reached in and took one down. There were no disposable cups here but this one wouldn’t be missed. I didn’t really want to discuss Jasper or his sex life. I preferred to ignore that comment.

“Do you have a name?”

I was being rude and she was the friendliest person I’d met here yet. “Beulah.”

Shay scrunched her nose. “Weird name.”

I nodded. Because I agreed. I’d never much cared for my name. But now my mother was gone and I didn’t complain anymore. It was something no one could take away from me.

“That was rude. Sorry. I just say stuff. I have no filter,” Shay said quietly.

“No, it’s okay. It is an odd name. My mother gave it to me, and now that she’s gone I cherish it.”

Shay winced. “Damn, I really am sorry. I should work on that. I didn’t know my mom. Or my dad. G-maw raised me—that was what we called the older lady in the foster home where I lived for twelve years. She passed away just before I turned eighteen. Cancer got her. She smoked every day.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

Shay grinned. “About my suck life or G-maw passing?”

“Both,” I replied honestly.

“Me too. But don’t sound or look like your life is peaches either. We’re making it fine enough though. Could be worse. Always could be worse. Anyway, I gotta go. I’ll walk until I figure out the cab thing. Someone may give me a ride. Nice talking to you and thanks for the coffee and muffin.”

Then she headed for the door. In a T-shirt. Only a T-shirt.


People began to wake outside on lounge chairs, and stumbled out of the pool house slowly. Before lunch, the place had cleared out. Portia had drunk two cups of coffee and watched the exodus from the living room with a frown.

She ate a bowl of fruit, then finally gave me the go ahead to leave. I had three hours to see Heidi.

She didn’t want to explain to Jasper where I had gone if he came inside asking for food, or washed clothing or decided on having another party. My mother’s 1998 Honda Civic still ran with almost two hundred thousand miles on it. I kept it parked in the spot that Ms. Charlotte had kept her car. If I hadn’t needed the little bit of gas I had left to see Heidi today I would have offered to give Shay a ride. But my fuel was precious. I was given just enough a month in gas money from Portia to drive back and forth once a week to Among the Spanish Moss, the special needs home where Heidi lived now.

My time to see her was limited today, so I didn’t make my stops to say hello to the other residents I’d come to know. I did stop by the nurse’s desk to drop cupcakes off for all of them. I had made them before Jasper had gotten home and had stashed them away. I normally made cookies every week and brought them. It wasn’t much but I wanted to bring them something as a thank you for being so good to Heidi. They seemed to love their jobs and were good with the residents.

“Beulah, I’m so happy to see you. There is a girl that woke up extra early and has been making her rounds telling everyone you were coming today. She’s excited.”

Heidi was a socializer. She liked to visit all her friends and talk to the nurses. Staying in her room or the activity room wasn’t enough for her. She didn’t sit and watch television much. Although she did enjoy the craft sessions they set up for them every day. She liked anything involving glitter. The shinier she could make something the better. It couldn’t sparkle enough for her.

“Where is she now?” I asked, anxious to see her.

“Oh, she’s in her room. Wearing her purple dress with the glitter flowers on it that she loves so much. She wouldn’t wear it yesterday because she said you weren’t coming so she was too sad to wear it. But don’t worry. She ended up going outside and playing after her sulk was over.”

I’d make up for that the best I could. I had three cupcakes left for Heidi, May, and me. We would walk out to the lawn and watch the ducks at the pond while we ate our cupcakes and they told me all about their week.