Pine Street Episode 144

It’s been a while since we visited Franny. She’s been hidden away, focusing on her writing, taking the occasional walk with Leo and Precious, spending some mornings behind her laptop at the coffee shop, fueled by Americanos and eavesdropping on the conversations around her. She’s teaching, too, even unpublished fiction writers have to make a living. And she gives her students the best she can. It takes most of her energy. So, we have allowed her, mostly, to work in peace.

David’s interruption this late spring afternoon was not entirely welcome. Too polite to tell him to go away, Franny buzzed him in the main door, popped her apartment door ajar, and went to her refrigerator to pull out a couple of seltzer waters. 

She turned back to her living room. David sat there. He’d entered silently, while her back was turned. 

So awkward, she thought. No wonder Kassandra is the only one who can really tolerate him.

“Oh, hello,” Franny said. “I didn’t hear you come in.” She offered a seltzer water. “Thirsty?”

“No, thank you, Franny,” David said. “I can’t stay long.”

She opened her own can, which made the only sound in the room: a spritz of carbonation releasing its pressure. She had an odd flash of imagining the pressure in the room releasing in the same way, with a flood of tiny bubbles floating out into the hallway. 

Franny waited for David to say why he’d stopped by. 

He did not. He sat quietly, gazing at her, with a smile that seemed to indicate a private joke.

“Um, okay,” Franny broke the silence. “What can I do for you, David?”

“Not a thing, Franny. I just wanted to check to see if you are okay.”

“Me? I’m fine. Why?”

“Oh, you know. Word on the street. People are concerned. That’s all.”

Franny frowned. “People? What people? Why are they concerned?”

“I’m sure it’s nothing. As I said. Just people, probably making up stuff when nothing’s really going on.” He rose. “How’s Leo?”

“Fine, I assume. I haven’t seen him in a few days. Why? Did you hear something about him, too?”

“Oh, nothing in particular. You know how it is. Well, thank you for reassuring me. I’ll pass the word along.” David gave a slight bow, and left, that secretive smile still on his face.

Ugh, thought Franny. I’m sure he’s just stirring the pot.

But she found she could not re-settle into her writing, so she grabbed a light jacket and headed out to clear her head with a walk.

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