Farewell, Continued

Farewell, Continued (February 2019, Round 3, Day 6)

Her car didn’t fit the neighborhood, but then neither did she. Epiphany surveyed the tidy houses with their tidy yards, the sensible cars in the driveways, and the kids playing in the cul-de-sac at the end of the block. “What sort of Stepford hell have I gotten myself into this time?” she asked herself as she pulled out the card with his address written on the back. “Damn. Right address.” 

Epiphany stuffed the card back in and groped for her lipstick. Using the rear-view mirror, she applied a fresh coat of Ruby Red Riding Hood and checked the rest of her makeup. “Not too shabby, Pif,” she said to her reflection before grabbing her heels from the passenger side and wriggling her feet into them. When she finally emerged from her car she took a moment to smooth out her pencil-skirt before walking up to 25 Kinship Drive. 

She gave the door four raps before turning her back on it. Looking eager wasn’t to her liking.

“Who are you?”

Epiphany turned to find the source of the question and found a little boy standing next to the porch. He had a round head that was almost bald and big brown eyes ringed by lashes she would have killed for. No one had said anything about kids. “Do you live here?”

“Nuh uh. I live there.” The little boy pointed at the house behind him. “Who are you?” 

“My name is Epiphany.”

The door was opened at that moment and the little boy skittered away. 

“You’re on time. That’s good.”

Epiphany hid a sigh. She should have guessed that this neighborhood wouldn’t attract someone with a lot of people skills. The man who greeted her was not what she’d expected – he was taller, thinner, balder, and, on first impression, almost devoid of personality. The little boy had more charm in him than this fellow and she didn’t like kids. All of that was neither here nor there. Epiphany gave the man a warm smile and extended her hand towards him. “Hello, handsome.”


The warmth of the sun woke her up and it took her a moment to orient herself. The first days in a new place were the hardest. She pulled off her eye mask and stared up at the ceiling. The room was silent except for the sound of a clock ticking. Epiphany turned to look at the pillow next to her and smiled. He had been there. Only three days in – not a bad start.

The noisy clock told her it was just after nine am so she got out of bed and pulled on the robe he’d left out for her. It was smooth and warm and beautiful. She paused in front of the closet mirror to admire it and herself before heading downstairs to see what awaited her. 

He was in the kitchen, humming and cooking eggs. When he heard her come in he looked at her over his shoulder and asked, “hungry?”

Epiphany went to him and gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek. “If you’re cooking, Handsome, I’m eating.” She made note of the flush of his cheek. “Why don’t I go grab the paper for you?” 

He was, she’d already learned, a man of routines. Meals at the same time each day, breakfast with the paper at 9:30 am, and dinner with the six o’clock news. Fitting into routines and making them better was part of what made her so successful. 

As she went to scoop the paper up from the porch she saw the neighborhood kids standing in a clump on the corner. Each kid had a backpack on and several were holding lunch boxes. She spotted the little boy from the other day standing a bit off to the side of the others. His backpack was bigger than him and his head was down. “Chin up, little buddy,” Epiphany said under her breath as she headed back inside with the paper.


She had the days to herself since he didn’t get back from work until 5:30 pm. The weather here was nicer than her last spot and she’d made her own routine of spending the afternoon on the porch curled up with a book.

She was in the middle of a chapter when the school bus disgorged the neighborhood children onto the corner. She looked up and watched them scramble to their various doors, some being greeted by mothers and nannys. Epiphany was about to start reading again when she heard the little boy call her by name.

“Hi Epiphany.”

“Hi little buddy.”

The little boy climbed up the steps and stood a few feet away from her. “What are you reading?”

“Nothing special.”

“Can I sit and read with you?”

Epiphany held her place in her book with a finger and leaned forward. “Why would you want to do that, little buddy? Shouldn’t you get home?”

He looked at his house and frowned. “I don’t need to. Not yet, anyway.”

“Well, it’s a free country. If you want to read on this porch instead of your own I won’t stop you.”

He sat down, pulled a book out of his backpack, and started reading.

“Don’t bug me though, ok? I want to read my book.”

“Your nothing special book?”

Epiphany let out a laugh. “Touche, little buddy. Yes – my nothing special book.”


“Ok, Handsome – which one do you like more?”

Epiphany stood in the bedroom holding two dresses out for him to choose from and wearing nothing but a matching bra and panties. The sweat on his brow was cute – she’d been there a week and it was time to nudge him into action.


She slowly turned around and hung the red dress up in the closet, giving him time to absorb the view. “Help me get into it?”

He was all thumbs and sweat and she could see that his body was ready for more despite his hesitation. Epiphany took a deep breath as she took over getting into the dress. 


Epiphany stuffed the last of her belongings into the backpack and looked around the room, scanning for anything she might have missed. Three suitcases and a backpack was all it took to erase herself from the apartment – she was getting better at this.

She loaded the car in two trips and went back to close and lock the door. As she stood on the porch applying a fresh coat of lipstick, the littlest neighbor boy poked his head through the slats of the railing that enclosed the porch. Epiphany smiled under the bright red tube.

“Farewell, little buddy.”


“Yup. That’s fancy for ‘goodbye’ – you don’t know ‘farewell’?”

“I know what it means. I didn’t know you were leaving.”

Epiphany crouched down, angling her knees to the side so she didn’t have to worry about flashing the little boy. “I gotta go.”

“I thought you were my friend.” 

She hadn’t planned on a tearful goodbye with anyone, and kids were far from her specialty. “I was. I was a short-time friend.”

“A short-time friend?”

“Are you asking what that means or telling me you didn’t know that’s what I was?” When the little boy furrowed his eyebrows and stuck his bottom lip out further than ever she held up her hand and said, “hey, hey- I didn’t want to get it wrong, ok?”

“What is a short-time friend?”

Epiphany checked her watch and looked at her packed car. “Sometimes friends aren’t meant to be forever. They’re supposed to come into your life, do some magic, and then go on their way. Those are short-time friends, like me.”

The little boy pulled his head out from between the slats and came around to sit on the porch steps. Epiphany swore beneath her breath before going to sit next to him.

“I really do need to go, little buddy, and soon.”

The little boy reached over and wrapped his small hand around one of hers. He didn’t look at her or say anything and still Epiphany felt her eyes get watery. The two of them sat there for a time, each thinking their own thoughts, until Epiphany’s watch buzzed.

“You have to go.” He didn’t let go of her hand.

“I really do.”

“And you’re not coming back.”


He turned to her with his eyes wide. “Can short-time friends also be pen-pals?”

Epiphany shook her head as she eased her hand out from his and patted him on the back. “No, it doesn’t work that way. Short-time friends just disappear.”

She stood up and walked back up the stairs to the front door. She gave the silver elephant keychain a hard kiss, leaving a perfect print on it, and dropped it through the mail slot in the door. Hefting her backpack onto her shoulder she walked past the little boy without saying anything. Epiphany knew she had to get moving, knew that her clean exit was minutes away from being thwarted, and still turned around to face the little boy.

“Goodbye, little buddy.”

“Farewell, Epiphany.”

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