Like the dream, Mike had spent time away from the TV and radio. Seemed like in the silence he could be closer to
Betsy. And, like the dream, he didn't want to have to put up with pundits making comments about her. He didn't
have the strength or the time to issue rebuttals.
Aside from keeping the yard mowed and the house tidy--not that he had that much stuff--his thoughts were constantly
on Betsy, and he tried not to slip into depression at the thoughts of the life together that had been deprived them.
Mike couldn't believe the 1970s were nearly over. What a changed man he was now. Had someone told him he'd
end the decade a step away from widower, he would have laughed them into Mexico. But that little thing named Sabrina
Elizabeth Stanley had entered his life, and he couldn't tell which end was up now.
He was certainly better for it, though. She'd shown him what true love was, despite it being taken from him.
Now that was a ridiculous statement, he chided himself. Love was all around him, he just had to open to receive it.
He'd given plenty, though, to get everyone through the crises which had arisen. Dixie was gone. Ettie was
gone, as well as Betsy. The decade would end a bit lighter than when it started--at least for his circle of friends.
He nearly found himself married to the greatest thing that had ever happened to him. Even from a hospital bed,
he had started building his world around her. He had to rebuild anyway, so it might as well have included her.
Gave him something to live for. She seemed willing to give up her riding to take a more stable job of trainer in order
to support both of them. Gee, what a girl!
Mike found himself standing in the den doorway, looking at the living room arch. He was going to do it--he was
going to build in the alcove. The hall closet would be cleaned up and used for Betsy's shrine. He finally felt
at ease with himself. Perhaps that was what he had needed to do all along.
Long, hard shifts seemed to bring out such ideas. Perhaps, in the back of his mind, he liked the dream's idea of
having the alcove because he was simply too tired to go any further when he got home. Build it in the foyer, so the
"wedding portrait" would be included. For that matter, perhaps he should just pitch a tent in the front yard--or sleep
in the car in the driveway.
Get to bed, Mike.
His brain suddenly switched gears, and he started thinking of how he was going to have to redo the house's electrical
system to accommodate the washer and dryer in the kitchen area. . .
He woke up on the den floor, next to the entertainment center, with Meowzie nosing him. Should he try crawling
to the bed, or just stay there? He rolled over to face the deck windows, and didn't notice that the stereo's radio had
somehow been turned on. The volume was very low. Meowzie curled up next to him. If he slept on his back,
she might crawl up to put her head on his shoulder.
The phone woke him. Marco.
"Christine Coe advises moving slowly with any major changes at the house."
Well, that woke him up. "What. . .how. . ."
"You're contemplating making changes at the house, arent' you?"
"Uh, yeah. But. . ."
"You also told me about the crazy happenings the day Mr. Tanner died, right?"
"I told this to Christine, and she said that before you make any radical changes to your house, be sure to let the ghosts
know about it."
There. . .it was official now. . .his house was haunted. Marco said so.
"How in the world am I supposed to do that?"
"Just talk to them."
Let's check in with the living, first. . .