Emma came in the unlocked front door to find Jenny sitting cross legged on the floor, staring at the pillow in her hands.
“What’s the matter? Did Jim call? Are you all right?” She dropped her bag on the floor and ran to Jenny, who looked up in surprise.
“No, Mother, no word yet. Trish went to the hospital. Maybe he will want her there.”
“Oh I see.”
“Do you, Mother?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Emma was defensive again. It happened every time Jenny tried to get some gut reaction from her. She had never liked to probe into the depth of her emotions. Life was simpler not to examine the details.
“I just meant that you don’t know any more than I do. He could be dead for all we know.”
“Well, is he?”
“Then I do see, and you do11n’t.”
Jenny changed the subject. Her mind had always felt clouded when she visited her mother. She felt herself become distant again. At first she thought it was the apartment but then she began to realize it was simply her state of mind when she entered it, “What are you going to do about the clock?”
“If and when it ever gets here I’m going to sell it to Pete Robinson. He made me an offer right after that program was on. Funny, I never heard a single word from Ted. You would think he could call and tell me about it himself. You talked to him since?”
“Only about the taxes. What did Pete offer you?”
“Three hundred dollars.” Emma’s nervous hands settled into her lap and she relaxed,
Jenny laughed, “Just like Pete to make a good deal. Mother, you should have twice that much.”
Emma looked hurt,” Considering I can’t eat a clock, and I don’t have to advertise it, or have it hauled, or worry about it in any way, I think I made a pretty fair deal.” There was a softness to her skin and an attractiveness that hinted at beauty in her younger days.
Jenny reached over and squeezed her hand, “I guess you’re right, Mother. It’s just that I would have liked to see you profit more from it. Besides, Pete has a way of cashing in on everything that has happened to anyone I know. He’s kind of like a silent tiger, waiting to spring on his next prey.” She became pensive, “I wish I knew what to do about the coat. Maybe this job will help.” She was lost in her thoughts again. Her face showed age beyond her years and, though, there was no grey hair on her head, the expression on her face was similar to her mother’s. Then she looked up and smiled and the years fell away, leaving only a glimpse of the years to come.
Emma leaned forward, “Sell it, give it away, return it to Ted, but whatever you do, don’t let it come between you and Jim. It’s a lonely, lonely life without a man. There’s nothing in my life that I wouldn’t give to have your father back. ”She paused in thought and a look of helpless resignation took over her face.
The phone rang and for a moment they both stared at it.
“Well, answer it, damn it.” Emma commanded. “We’ve got to know.”
“He’s going to make it.” Jenny held the receiver as though it was glass. Jim is sending Trish home in a taxi so he can take care of a few things at the foundry. Mike’s going to be all right, Mother,” They both had tears in their eyes as they hugged.