“Living with Noah was going very well. We each contributed to the housework, paid half the bills and enjoyed spending our free time together. Noah did a good job of keeping the apartment clean as far as a lack of dirt, but he often left things cluttered and disorganized. There were stacks of paper scribbled with notes and scores from various games strewn all across the house. They landed and remained wherever he sat them down. It was difficult to decipher his handwriting, and most of the notes were written in shorthand. I generally ignored them until one afternoon. He was out somewhere, and I had just returned to the apartment after work. My phone rang, and I answered.
“Are you at home?” he asked before I could mutter a hello.
“Yeah, I just got here. What’s up?”
“I need you to do me a favor. Can you find a note for me?” he asked, rather hushed, as if he were trying to prevent someone else from listening in on his conversation.
“I can try, but there are a lot of notes scattered around here.”
“I know. It’s kind of a mess. This one should be underneath the CD rack in the living room. By the window.”
I searched for several moments, not immediately locating any notes on or around his CD collection. He suggested that I look inside a specific disk case and, much to my surprise, as I opened the case, a small square piece of paper fell to the ground. It seemed to be a list of completely random monetary figures followed by a jumble of letters. I rattled off the list of figures and paused at the end, trying to figure out what in the world those last few letters could be.
“Okay, so $125, $234, $75 and… is that all?” he asked, sounding very distracted.
“Yeah, and there’s one other thing, but I can’t figure out what it is. Oy Barbecue?” I said, turning the note back and forth in my hand.
“Do what, now?” he asked, just as confused by my statement as I was by the cryptic letters.
“I really don’t know. It’s just a bunch of letters. O-Y-B-B-Q. What the hell does that mean?” I asked, trying to make a word out of the nonsense.
“Wait, what did you call it?” he laughed at my attempted fictional word.
“Well, I mean, I think it’s oy barbecue. It’s definitely something… unless that’s a g? I can’t read your writing!” I said. I was getting more flustered the more I tried to decipher the note.
“No, it’s a q. That’s all that’s written down? Nothing else?” he asked, avoiding my question about the meaning behind the random letters.
“No, that’s it. What’s does that last thing mean?”
“It’s nothing. Just something I scribbled down to see if my pen was working. That’s all that’s written on there? Those three amounts?” he asked again, answering my question and avoiding it at the same time.
“Yep. That’s it,” I answered. “When are you coming home?”
“Thanks, uh…. I’m not sure. Don’t wait up for me. I’ll be there when I get there. I gotta go. I’ll call you when I’m on my way home. Bye,” he said as he hung up the phone sounding flustered.
I returned the note to where I’d found it, carefully hidden underneath the CD rack, and went on about my business, not really paying attention to anything the note said aside from the random letters. For some reason the letters stuck with me.”
To read more about Rebecca and Noah’s relationship you can purchase Candy Apple Butterscotch: A Memoir on Amazon. Kindle and Paperback editions available now. Audiobook coming soon!
Copyright R. MacCeile 2018