It should be full-on summer: the transition from June to July, the buildup of warm mornings to hot afternoons, long lingering evenings, the deliciousness of being outside through the dusk, watching the darkening sky for bats to begin their hunts for insects, diving and swooping to catch them by the thousands. An aerial battle in which only one side is visible, so that it appears more like ballet.
It’s still cool, though, and the skies still hold clutches of clouds, swept through the valley on the wind that seems much more like March or April than July.
As Jeeves predicted, Emil has disappeared. Allison is grateful Jeeves shared his story, so she doesn’t have to believe his leaving is about her. She has taken to helping Jeeves in her garden, learning alongside the older woman, and bringing the knowledge and skill to her own patch.
It is possible that Allison anticipates a reunion with Emil each time she walks to Jeeves’s place. It’s possible that she falls asleep at night remembering their time together, the lightning storm, holding Emil’s arm. It’s possible she experiences a warm ache in the region of her solar plexus when she thinks of him.
It’s equally possible that she is somewhat relieved not to be navigating the complexities of a new relationship. Allison has learned so much about living solo, and so much that she adores. Being on her own schedule, fulfilling her own commitments, falling in bed at night with the deep satisfaction of having cared for herself and her home another day.
Hovering in this place between longing and relief, Allison plows her nervous energy into the soil and plants. The cooler temperatures have extended the time for planting; the wind chases her indoors by late afternoon. She uses the hours when it is too nasty to be out in the garden to do research, sketch out plans.
Still, each time she hears footsteps on the porch, or a tap on the door, her heart flutters. It’s never Emil: it’s Leo, saying hello, or Kassandra, or David walking by with little Penny, stopping for a chat.
Until the one day the weather finally behaves as it should, allowing Allison to sit on her porch and watch for bats. It is almost too dark to see when she hears his voice.