Staring out of the small dormered window, he could just
see the corner of the street. Leaves on the trees lining the
sidewalk were moving past their prime of orange and red and
turning brown as autumn made its way through Boston. The
ones still clinging to the trees blocked part of his view.
Absentmindedly he pulled his pocket watch out of his pants
and checked the time although he instinctively knew it was still
early. Purposely, he had chosen this spot to watch the street
for a sign. He didn’t want to miss a thing.
Mrs. Casey was nearly three stories below waiting on the
sidewalk next to her white BMW. He gazed down at the
plump woman in her camel jacket and brown plaid scarf. She
had just arrived and was on her mobile phone, trusty bag over
her shoulder. As he watched from above, he wondered if he
might keep her for a while. She had proven to be discreet and
respectful in their dealings thus far –always keeping her eyes
conveniently averted. That was a big plus in his book.
The sky had been bright blue and clear all morning but
now the sunlight dimmed and small gusts of wind kicked up
from time to time, stirring up the brittle leaves, scratching at
the sidewalk and causing drifts against the wrought iron fence.
He would go out and clean up the two small patches of grass
in front of the building later, when it got dark. After all these
years, he was comfortable working outside after nightfall.
A flicker of yellow caught his eye as a taxi turned from
Columbus Avenue onto Dunhill – a small side street in
Boston’s South End, lined with fashionable brownstones. He
straightened his bent frame as best he could and intently
watched the cab's approach, completely absorbed in his
surroundings and on high alert. Below, Mrs. Casey tucked her
phone away and pulled her coat closed. Is it getting colder, he
thought, touching the glass pane in front of him, the chill
spreading through his fingertips.
The yellow checker taxi glided to a stop in front of the
building and a young woman with ash blonde hair stepped out
but held the door and leaned back in. His heart clenched as if
it had been submerged in cold water and he grasped the
windowsill to steady himself. From his vantage point, he could
see the cabbie handing her some bills. She closed the car door
and turned to Mrs. Casey, shaking hands. He wished he could
hear the conversation, but knew that it would be pleasantries
and then the expected basics.
Both women squinted up towards the window and he
faded back as quickly as possible. He was sure he was a
moment too late, but what did it really matter? He snuck
another quick look and relaxed, realizing Mrs. Casey was
pointing out items on the ground level – most likely the
security system, or flower boxes. But as he continued to watch
he finally saw it: the sign he had been waiting for.
Small gusts that had been making the crunchy, dry leaves
rise and dance with their still colorful counterparts whipped up
again a few buildings further along the street and came
towards the women like a mounting wave. The leaves blew up
waist high, swirling and twirling onto themselves until the
force reached the women and spun around them in a leaf
tornado. Mrs. Casey stepped back towards her BMW parked at
the curb to get out of the maelstrom and the leaves continued,
picking up energy and speed; surrounding the flaxen-haired
woman, lifting and tossing her long hair like a Medusa at the
center of the funnel. In reaction to the onslaught, the young
woman covered her head with her arms and ran up the front
walk toward the building to get out of its path. The wind
disappeared and the leaves fell to the ground on the sidewalk
as quickly as it had started. Overhead the sky was once again
She’s here, he thought
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