August 24
12:15 p.m.

I still can’t believe it. Not Wade.

Wade has left this earth for a better life. We all are devastated. It happened so fast. There was nothing the doctors could do.

Knowing that I’ll never see Wade walk through my office door again makes me want to leave, but Wendy came in this morning and asked to take Wade’s place. I thought it was because she needs us, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that we need each other.

In fact, we all need each other. It’s at times like these you realize how important it is to belong to a family of faith.

Thank God Tav’s back in time to do the funeral service. The church is reeling from the shock of Wade’s death and, not surprisingly, Tav is such a comfort to them.

And to me. Sort of. He has this calmness about him that makes you feel like everything’s going to be fine.

_________

August 26
9:30 a.m.

Haven’t seen much of Tav…at all.

Nothing, in fact.

Not that I’m irritated…but I am. Why did he come back if it was to stay away from the office? Even Brad’s complaining about my being a whine.

Poor Walter. His chocolates didn’t seem to make much of an impact.

“You don’t like them?”

“No, Walt. I really do appreciate your bringing them. They’re some of my favorites.”

“You seem unhappy.”

“It’s all that’s been happening…you know.” Tav showing up like he did. Looking so gorgeous, you know, typical stuff. And then, he disappears. I hate him.

“Natalie, you know you’re very special to me.”

“You’re wonderful, Walt. Thanks so much. Now I must get back to work…even though I’d rather be somewhere else…like Paris.”

“Maybe I can take you there some day.”

“Paris? Thanks Walt! That’s very sweet of you.”

This is very nice of Walter since, as far as I know, he doesn’t have a dime. God forgive me for thinking that way. Why do I have to feel guilty? Because I do when people are being nice…and I don’t want them to be nice…and I’ve turned into a really grumpy cat.

But I don’t want to go to Paris with Walter. What a killer that would be.

__________

August 28
1:45 p.m.

What a month! Although, it feels like we packed three hundred years into those thirty days.

Don and Darlene are finally gone. Hallelujah! I went and bought some Mango Jasmine Passion Flower air freshener to clean up Mark’s office. While there, I figured I might as well spray all the offices and exorcise the whole place.

“Smells like…smells different, something exotic. You have a new perfume.” Tav’s suddenly shown up, there out of the blue, sniffing like a bloodhound on the trail of an escaped prisoner.

“No. It’s just air freshener. You hate it, don’t you?” Why didn’t he tell me he was going to be in? I’m not even sure what I’m wearing. I wasn’t expecting anyone in.

“I like it. It reminds me of…”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing? How can something remind you of nothing?”

I’m thinking it probably reminds him of some exotic woman he was seeing in Europe.

Or is seeing.

He’s smiling at me and I don’t know why.

“You don’t have to know everything.”

“I don’t want to know…you started it.”

“It just reminded me…”

His cell phone rings. I think he looks relieved not to have to answer my question. I don’t know why I’m irritated, but I am.

And he’s gone.

Again.

_______

4:45 p.m.

But Faith is back. Beaming. Glorious. Happy.

“Natalie! Isn’t life grand? What a beautiful, beautiful day! Praise Jesus!”

And Faith has a new perfume that’s not as disgusting as usual…it has a very familiar aroma to it…of mango, jasmine…

Wait. Could it be that was what Tav was remembering when he smelled the air freshner? Faith’s perfume? That’s kind of funny, and not. Mostly not.

“Natalie! Smile! Life is full of God’s wonderful gifts.”

“Faith, so happy you’re happy.”

“Yes, isn’t it great to have Tav-Tav back?”

“Hmmm…uh…yes…got to take this call.”

“First…”

“Natalie?”

“Yes?” I have no idea who this could be.

“Frankie’s Natalie?” Mr. Distraught Voice at the other end. My heart sank. Hope nothing’s wrong with Frankie. I’m blaming myself if anything has happened to him. I’d forgotten to keep in contact, I mean he could have called me too, but I’m usually the one…Lord, please forgive me, if anything…so yeah.

“Frankie is a friend of mine. If we’re talking about the same Frankie…” I’m blanking out on Frankie’s last name.

“Sorry…but Frankie brought you to my celebration party…”

That friend. And I don’t even know what his name is. I’m even surprised he’d remembered me. Talk about a blast from the past. The party that changed my life’s course—this is getting worse.

“Yes. Nice party…” Where I met my one-day bestie.

“Thanks. Uhm…I’m in town for the weekend… Can we meet today or tomorrow?”

“Is Frankie alright?”

“Frankie. Oh yeah, Frankie’s always alright.”

That is true. Now I’m mad at Frankie for not keeping in touch. You know how you get mad at the person who gives you a terrible fright and then absolutely nothing is wrong?

“Oh good. Yes, I’ll be happy to meet you…tomorrow will be great.”

“It’s a date. Thanks Natalie!”

It it not a date. And don’t thank me. Gwen’s going to be ticked off that I agreed to go out with someone I met once and forever after referred to as “Scuzzbag.”