Two weeks later, Kate received an email from John: Arrived safely. Sand still stinks. Later, John.
Kate took a deep breath. But the cloud over her didn’t disappear. She drove to the park near the apartment complex where she lived to eat lunch alone. She sat in the car, with all the windows down, nibbling on her sandwich while staring at walkers and joggers going around the track and children playing on the jungle gym. Oh, to be young again with no worries about your coworkers or best friends being in harm’s way 24/7.
The day was mild for an Illinois spring. Cardinals and robins flitted nearby, the robins looking for worms in the fresh cut grass. At least she wasn’t hot, sometimes spring was more like summer and it could change from winter to summer in a day.
That afternoon, Ruth struck again, with her snide comments. “You think you’re so smart, Langston. I bet you cheated. Somehow, I bet you did.” Kate ignored her sneering lie and focused on her reports. She opened the one she’d started before lunch so she could finish it– if her nemesis would leave her alone. She continued with her report of a drug incident in base housing last night.
Somebody else heard Ruth and hollered, “Hey, Langston, you gonna help me study for my test next month? I could use your brains.”