They are used to my ways. And so I walked home on this damp gray evening. Wet leaves underfoot and darkness seeping into the sky through the bare branches of the trees. Winter will soon be upon us. My neighbors already at their suppers behind lighted kitchen windows. Felt a little melancholy remembering other Saturday evenings when I would have our supper on the stove, waiting for the sound of Father's car in the driveway, bringing Nora up from the station. Certainly Nora would never have walked. Waiting in the kitchen for her breathless entrance. Another tale of some adventure in acting class or the charms of a new beau. Father already frowning at this commotion as he hung up his coat in the hallway. It's nearly seven months now, and I thought I was getting used to Father being gone, yet tonight as I walked along Church Street, I felt again the terrible finality of his absence.
Then I was very nearly knocked over by Clayton Tunney, who came charging out of the darkness at the corner of Broad Street. It was startling, to say the least, and I was cross with him.
"Clayton," I said. "For goodness' sake, watch where you're going!"
"Sorry, Miss Callan. I was over at the Martins', listening to their radio with Donny, and now I'm late for supper and Ma's going to skin me alive."
And off he went again, that small nervous figure racing along Church Street. Poor Clayton! Always in a hurry and always late. Without fail, the last one into class after recess.
The foregoing is excerpted from Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
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