I never knew the real story. I walked in on her in the parlor. It was one of those old homes, where the room could be completely closed off by panel doors. This part of Savannah was full of places like this.
I could tell that she had been crying for some time now. Our eyes locked instantly. I was the first to look away. Her eyes held a hatred that I could not begin to fathom. Her make-up was ruined and streaked all down her face. I had never seen her so flustered. She was always the model of composure. She was proper, almost defiantly so. I never saw her without her pearls on. She said that they were a heirloom, going back generations of buttoned-up ladies. Those weren’t her exact words.
It was a warmer day. I don’t know why she was wearing a coat. I was warm as it was. I loosened my tie. I looked back up at her. I could tell something wasn’t right.
“Are you okay, Charlotte?”
“Why yes, of course they are.” I paused. What was off?
“You don’t look well. Has something happened?”
“Nothing of any consequence. I will be okay.”
That wasn’t what I asked. There was something definitely off. I knew I needed to approach her politely and with caution.
“Hey, do you want to talk?”
“What about?” She had a blank, spaced out look on her face.
“You seem upset.”
“That’s sweet of you.”
I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere with her at this point. I needed to step away and give her time to sort out her feelings.
“You have my number. Please call if you feel like talking.”
“Sure, I’ll do that.”
“Okay, good day, Charlotte.”
“Good bye. Thanks for stopping through.”
She walked me to the door during that final exchange. It wasn’t until I heard the locks behind me that I realized I caught the faint smell of gunpowder.