“Honey, come quick! It’s almost time!” Alison shouts from the living room.
“I’ll be there in a second,” her husband, Brian responds from the kitchen. “Make sure the lights are off. I don’t want her to catch us spying on her.”
Every night at 7:15, the same woman stops in front of the Warton’s house, leans over their white picket fence, and then takes a good long sniff of their pink roses. She’s been doing this like clockwork for two years now, and the Warton’s always look forward to seeing her. They have no idea who this woman is, but they’ve imagined all sorts of scenarios over the past twenty-four months.
“She brings her dog with her on her walks so she must be an animal lover,” Alison mused when they first took notice of her.
“She’s overweight, though, so they must not walk very far,” Brian countered.
Alison thought that was a cruel thing for her husband of forty-five years to say and she quickly jumped to the defense of the mystery woman.
“She looks middle-age to me and we both know how hard it is to keep the weight off once you reach a certain age. Do you think she overeats to fill a hole somewhere in her life?”
“Huh? Where did that come from?” Brian asked.
“I don’t know. It’s rather strange how she’s free every night to walk the dog. Maybe her kids have all the left the house and this gives her something to do. Oh no, maybe she never had any children. You never see her with a man either. The dog could be a substitute for a real family.”
Every night from then on, Alison and Brian took turns guessing at who the mystery woman might really be. One night she was a world class neurologist who needed the nightly walks to keep her own head clear. The next she was married to a brute and she used the dog as an excuse to get out of the house. Both agreed that it was nice she always took the time to stop and smell the roses.
Tonight, however, it occurs to the both of them that one day she will likely stop coming around.
“It will be because she has found true love and moved away to the Caribbean,” Alison likes to believe.
“Or the dog will die and she’ll have no reason to go for walks,” Brian guesses in return.
“You’re terrible,” Alison scolds. “Always believe in love, my dear. Always believe in love.”
“Of course I believe in love,” Brian tells her. “Why do you think I planted all of those rose bushes for you?”
Alison smiles at the man she loves and wishes the same lifetime of love for their nightly visitor.