Winter Daphne— Pandora Andre-Beatty
“Based on anecdotal evidence, the townhomes began manifesting water intrusion and consequential damages in March of 2003.” D. Bellflower home inspection specialist
The damp cool Northwest air greeted Marjorie as she opened her door, instantly turning her recently flat-ironed hair frizzy. It had been raining, drizzling, dripping, misting and there were even some spring showers, for weeks.
“God dammit,” Marjorie thought as she tried to slam the door. Even the door wouldn’t properly close.
She’d bought the townhome after her divorce in 2000. Despite her father’s dire warnings against any construction newer than the Korean War, she’d gone ahead and bought a brand new place of her own, at what she now realized, was the top of the real estate market. And it was a lemon. She kicked herself for not moving to California when she had the chance.
“Hey Marjorie!” her neighbor Frank called out from his identical front steps. “Didja get the notice about our suit against the roofers? Just need you to sign on to get the case going.”
Still struggling to get her front door closed and locked, while balancing the file of papers with a cup of coffee on it, Marjorie did not immediately respond to Frank. She was done with lawyers and lawsuits and any litigation.
“You need some help over there?” he asked as he approached from his side of the lawn.
“No, no. I’ve got it.” The last thing she wanted was for her overly helpful neighbor coming over and nosing around her business. Frank had moved in before she and took a proprietary view of their shared real estate. And maybe even a proprietary view of her as a single female.
Marjorie finally set her wobbly pile of papers and coffee mug on the porch rail so she could use both hands to grab the doorknob and wrench the warped door firmly closed. As she leaned back giving a final pull on the handle, her hip hit the precariously balanced papers and coffee cup, sending them over the railing and into the Winter Daphne below the porch.
Peering over the side of the rail into the mess of scattered papers splattered with coffee, Marjorie inhaled the Daphne’s sweet perfume. It was the only good thing about the place. Frank watched from his porch as she took out her keys, locked the stubborn door, and walked down the steps to her car. She could probably make it to Northern California by nightfall if the traffic wasn’t bad on I-5.