Break A Leg
I know I shouldn't be eavesdropping, but I can't help it. My favorite uncle is asking his wife a question.
I lean onto the wall next to their room and cross my legs against the urge to pee in case I get frightened about meddling in grown-ups' business.
"Where were you last night?"
His voice sounds strained. I smell pipe tobacco and hear his rocking chair keeping time with my heartbeat.
My mother's sister will probably concoct something believable. She is an expert.
He and I wait for her answer.
She clears her throat several times before she speaks.
"I worked overtime last night. Just when I got ready to leave, the attorney upstairs called down to our department about billing matters. I needed the extra money.
The rocker paused between beats then resumed its syncopation.
"Susie, don't lie to me! I saw you last night on the Avenue! And your ass was not alone!"
I wrap my arms around my thumping chest and wonder how I will untangle if one of them moves toward the door.
"There is no way in hell you saw me when I was working downtown last night. Had no damn questions about that dinner I brought in for you!"
Silence in the bedroom until the scrapping sound on the hardwood floor signaled movement. He is getting up; a large man with a disability.
"Don't talk back to me! And don't lie to me. I told you I saw you and if I saw you, I saw you!"
An eerie moment of foreboding. Then laughter.
"You did that well, Sam. Really well."
I hear the smile in his response.
"I'm learning, but you are the pro."
How could I have forgotten that the community theater had contracted them for husband-wife parts in a play?
They were rehearsing. This time.