Mrs. LaBarren was discussing her last marriage with Fish while he was stuffing homemade chocolate cake in his mouth. He'd just finished off the last of the chicken and rice casserole.
She was 83 and her late husband was 81.
"It lasted all of six months." She nodded.
"What did you two do?" Fish wondered as he drank at the rich hot coffee.
"We stayed in bed." Her head could have just wobbled then as he looked at her old face, but he could still see the youth in her very blue eyes.
Fish just smiled with a slight laugh.
"That sounds like a real good deal to me." He went back to eat more of the slice of cake then.
"It was." She finally took a sip of her coffee.
He hadn't meant to stay so long. He was just going to change out the light bulb out back, but then there was one in the hall way that needed to be taken care of, and before he knew it, he was tuning the piano and then she decided to see if he really did know how to play heart and soul. And he did. After a few more Broadway tunes, she thought they needed some cake. Coffee too.
And he'd told her about a baby he didn't have. He'd cried. Hadn't meant to.
"I just keep thinking I'll forget, but I don't." His throat was raw, thinking back. He'd been somewhere in the middle of college. An exam the next day. He'd gone to the abortion clinic to wait. Just in case. "Really, she said she didn't need me, anyway." He told Mrs. LaBarren. "Maybe Beth is a lot like Bella. Maybe not." He sniffed.
It was relief now to get that off his chest. He guessed he could go back to the house now.