David came to the door. Pat looked out and saw a large, blurry male form standing there. He had something white in his hand. "Hello," she said. "Do I know you?" She peered and peered. He looked familiar. He sounded familiar. "I don’t think I know you, though?"
"I’m David, Ray’s brother."
She opened her flimsy door, fumbling with the round glass knob, and stepped out onto her lanai, with its stunning view over the water, little sailboats under the puffy clouds, all wasted on her.
"This damn door," she complained. "I keep asking Ray to fix it… This house is such a problem. I’m not putting another penny into it! Every time I come out the door the damn mosquitoes bite me. Look, I have this horrible bite here and here and well and Ray sprayed but they come around anyway."
David held up the flowers. They were white gardenias in a plastic bag, covered with little black flies. A grasshopper was struggling to escape through a hole in the bottom.
"Guess what?" said David.
"I would invite you in, but what’s her name the girl hasn’t been around to clean up, yet. It’s a terrible mess. Terrible."
David, persisting, pulled out his wallet and showed her his driver’s license, "Do you notice something? " Pat took the license and examined it carefully, bringing it right up to her eyes. "Well, no."
"Look again," David said. "Look at the birthday. June 11."
"The same as mine! I’ll be 91 on Sunday. How did you know? My friend is taking me out for lunch. And I’ve gotten such nice cards from Nancy and Bill. "
"Yes, isn’t that a coincidence? That we have the same birthday? That’s why I knew you’d like the flowers. Ray says what a nice woman you are, such a good heart. He told me your neighbors had planned a little celebration for you."
In spite of her literal and figurative inability to see much beyond her nose, Pat was getting that feeling. She felt dizzy. "I have this damn heart thing. I have to go in and sit down."
"Would it be OK if I just dropped a few things off here? I have some vitamins that need to be refrigerated, and I have some work to do before I get home."
Puzzled, Pat let him in her house. He was standing too close to her, fixing her with a hawklike predatory stare. She knew she was too old to deal with the situation. Since Andy died she had had no protection, really. But David seemed polite and since he was Ray’s brother, maybe she could trust him. Old people shouldn’t be so suspicious of everyone, her daughter had said that once. But she certainly did not trust her daughter. She just wanted to get her house away from her and put her in a home.
David went into her kitchen, put the vitamins in her fridge, and he also dropped some big old heavy thing on the kitchen floor. She wondered why he didn’t take it when he came later for the vitamins. She kept tripping over it, lying there. Maybe she should have her eyes looked at. Well, men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses, that was what her mother always said. Bifocals were so aging, too. Her big blue eyes had always been her best feature.