Libby stepped to the screen door and glanced out. The huge wood deck towered over a bright green backyard. Beyond the yard was a view of the city and beyond the city she could see the ocean.
“It’s a priceless view.” Ann chanted.
“Yes, it is beautiful.” Libby pushed the door and stepped out. When she heard the creaking again she looked to her right to find an old man sitting in a rocking chair staring out at the ocean, the look in his face serene and happy. “Excuse me,” Libby said surprised. “I’m sorry if I bothered you.”
“No matter, ma’am, I’m just taking in the sea air.” He smiled at her and she couldn’t help but return the gesture.
“Are you the home owner?” Libby asked stepping closer.
“I suppose you could say I was the home owner.” He smiled again. “I haven’t a reason to stay now that I’ve out lived my beloved Abigail. I don’t have the heart to remain here now.” His smiled faltered and Libby had to fight the urge to comfort him. He looked small and his age really showed when he lost his smile but his eyes were as bright as the baby in the picture.
She reached out her hand and said, “My name is Libby Hunt.”
They shook hands and Libby could feel his frail fingers under hers and feared hurting him if she squeezed but he gripped her firmly. “It’s my pleasure, Libby, my name is Philip Burnett.”
“You’re Philip!” She gestured toward the house. “I saw the growth chart in the hall closet.”
“Oh my,” Philip’s cheeks brightened. “Yes, my mother did that. I wanted to paint over that years ago but Abigail wouldn’t let me.”
“I’m glad you didn’t.” She hesitated. “May I sit with you for a while.”
“I’d hate to bore you with my old stories.” He said, but waved to the chair across from him anyway.
“My son’s growth chart is in his bedroom closet. It’s similar to mine only he’s a few inches taller than me.”
Libby sat and looked around, “So you’ve lived in this house all your life?”
“Yes…yes, I was born in this house and I’ve only ever lived here.”
“Excuse me, Ms. Hunt, would you like to see the rest of the house?” Ann asked from the other side of the screen door.
“Yes, in just a moment.” Libby said holding up her finger. “Why don’t you get started on the paperwork, I’ll meet you in the office in a few minutes.”
“Oh—okay, great! I’ll get that started right now.”
“Pesky agents,” Philip winked and said, “Are you married, miss?”
“No…” Libby looked away then turned back to him. “I lost my husband five years ago.”
“Oh dear, yes, it’s hard when we lose the ones we love.” He gave her a caring look. “But you’re very young for a widow.”
“My husband was a Marine, he died in Afghanistan.”
“Oh, I see.” His expression grew tense so she she tried to smile again to put him at ease.
“It seems someone your age could meet a nice young man and start over.”
Libby sighed, “I thought so too but so far things haven’t worked out that way.”
“If I were sixty years younger…”
“Yes, if only.”
“You look as if you’ve already experienced a lifetime of hurt for someone so young.”
“I’ll survive I guess.” She tried to shake away the dark thoughts. “I’ll be happier when I settle in a nice happy home.”
© Dayner’s non-blog, 2009