I busied myself by picking up the house and running a damp rag over every available surface. This type of mindless work helped me to forget about the events of the day and focus on my upcoming evening. I went to the closet and pulled out the candle set I received as a gift last Christmas and placed three of the candles, in varying heights, on a hand turned wooden plate. It looked perfect on top of a stack of books on the coffee table. I put a large candle in the bathroom and scattered the remaining candles throughout my wall of bookshelves. The last step was to locate a lighter and leave it in a handy spot for later.
After I dressed and readied myself for my date, I had a few minutes to relax with a glass of wine. Not wanting to leave the ratties out of my big night, I tied a bandana around the neck of each dog. There, we were all ready. Seconds later I heard a car coming up the gravel driveway. It was Guy. I met him at the door and we were on our way after a quick introduction to the rats.
“Where are we going?” I asked as I buckled my seat belt.
“How does sushi sound?” he replied.
Luckily the Japanese restaurant also served tempura and teriyaki. “I love the food at Konnichiwa” I said with a smile. Because the town of Kodiak was so small, we were at the restaurant, parked, and seated within five minute of leaving my house.
Dinner was going well. Conversation was easy yet stimulating. We were both witty and articulate. It was as if a spell had been cast forbidding either of us from saying the wrong thing.
Two hours had passed before we finished our meal, dessert, and coffee. “That was a great dinner. And I enjoyed your company” I complemented him as we drove from the restaurant parking lot.
“The night is still young and the weather has changed for the better. So, I have something else in mind if you are game” he winked.
“I dunno, what did you have in mind?” I answered.
“Well, we go back to your house first….”
“OK, tell me more”
“Where you change your shoes” he smiled.
“Huh?” I was stunned but relieved it wasn’t more. I wanted to take this relationship slow.
“This is the perfect time for viewing plants and wildflowers. The museum has a new Plant Walk exhibit at Rotary Park on Near Island. There are markers along the path with informational text along a one mile walk”. He explained it all as we drop up the hill to my house.
This sounded perfect to me – more time spent with Guy but in an environment void of sexual expectations. “Sounds interesting. I will run in and change my shoes” I said as I wondered why I had just spent money on new shoes when my date found them inappropriate.
When I returned to his vehicle Guy mentioned that he brought along his Alaska Wildflower Field Guide just in case I was agreeable. This was going to be a first for a first date but I liked it. We were listening to “World Music” on the local NPR station and enjoying the late night sunshine on our drive over the bridge to Near Island when the news came on about the disappearance of Libby.
“Did you know her” he asked.
“Yes. Did you?”
“Sort of. She’s been around a while and seemed like a nice person. I had more dealings with her husband. Not so nice a guy. I wonder where she disappeared to.”
I considered for a moment before I spoke. Should I tell him what I know and how I know it? I decided on another approach and said “I believe her husband may have the answer to that one”.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I was at The Café in Bell’s Flats and heard him making accusatory remarks about his missing wife with no remorse. Either he truly believes she ran away with another man or he is trying to manipulate public opinion with martyrdom”.
“Good observation” he said, “but what do you really think?”
“I believe he knows exactly what happened to his wife and I suspect he was the one responsible for her disappearance. And, it’s not just the typical look at the husband either. I confronted him at the café when he spoke badly about her. Instead of feeling bad or caught he got very angry with me, borderline threatening. His response was way out of line”.
“You did what? You need to be careful confronting John. He’s not a nice guy. I don’t want to say anymore but trust me”. He tone was dead serious. Suddenly, fear crept into my life.