"Big day Foundry Goodbean!" "I brought some bagels," Oliver said. George rubbed his hands together. "Come see." Near a brick wall, a thirty gallon grease drum stood on a sheet of asbestos-like material. Two copper pipes made a right angle to its base. One came from a propane tank in a corner; one was connected to an air blower driven by an electric motor. "Ta da!"
She was a reassuring presence, even though she was far away. Sunday mornings, when he went out for bagels and a paper, he often wished that he were driving to Crescent Beach to bring her coffee. Instead, he would sit for a minute in his Jeep remembering the calm that they shared. Then he would drive home, play with Emma, and do things around the apartment.
If Francesca came out in the morning, at least she would have a welcome. Maybe he could get there, maybe not. Sunday morning, he went out for bagels and a newspaper. On his way home, at the last moment, he kept going down State Street. He crossed the bridge, drove to Cape Elizabeth, and walked quickly to the beach.
Half an hour later, he brushed himself off, an animal on the earth, needing food and warmth. "Where have you been?" Jennifer asked. "I ran into a friend who's moving," he said. "Sorry to be so long." "Emma's asleep again." "Cold out there. Bagels," Oliver said, raising the bag. "I'm hungry." Emma turned over. Emma crawled. Emma made smiling googling noises when Oliver came home and picked her up.
It occurred to him that Emma would be as large as Maria and Elena in a few years. It didn't seem possible. The following Sunday, he got up early, put on running shoes, and told Jennifer that he would be back with bagels in an hour or so. He bought coffees to go and carried them to the log in a paper bag. The water was cold that early in the season. There was no one on the beach. No note.
As she reached toward him with the change, her arm dipped and her hand rested for a moment on his palm. "Thanks, Willow. Have to run." "Bye." He was out the door and into an old blue pickup before she could think of anything else to say. It wasn't me, she thought. I didn't do that. It was my arm, like a damned dowsing rod. Two guys came in for coffee and bagels.