Thursday, April 12, 2020
There were any number of things about Scout O’Leary that grated on Anna’s nerves. She’d hated her for 28 years now. Sure, there were a couple of years when she’d all but forgotten about her, but Scout kept popping up again and again. Every time Anna saw her she was more successful and, as if this was even possible, prettier. Who gets prettier as they get older? Nobody, that’s who, but somehow Scout kept looking better. It’s not that she looked young or anything, it was more like she was growing into herself more gracefully than she should. It was disgusting. And let’s be honest, Scout wasn’t even a real name. It was something you’d name a dog, not a baby. She was amazed Scout hadn’t changed her name to something normal the minute she’d turned eighteen. But no, she kept it, making herself even more annoying. A beautiful, successful, irritating woman with a dog’s name.
Anna lowered the phone she’d been holding to block her face and peered three driveways ahead of where she was parked. She saw Scout’s mini-me Mack skip to the front door of the brick townhome with a yellow door. Anna knew this was the home of Lori Rashad, part-time piano teacher, part-time elementary music teacher. Scout, who was yapping into her phone, walked to the end of the driveway where she stopped to stretch.
“What a show-off,” Anna hissed. “We get it! You’re in shape!”
Scout looked both ways and Anna quickly brought the phone back in front of her face. Not, as she’d told herself a thousand times, that Scout would ever recognize her now. But still. Scout walked as she continued her conversation on the phone. She stopped, too close to Anna’s Prius for her comfort, and Anna moved her ear closer to her open window.
“…head to your house after Mack’s lesson,” she heard Scout say. “It’s going to be such a fun weekend! I’m so glad we’re bringing the girls.”
Anna was trying to stay still, knowing any sudden movement could attract Scout’s attention, but she wanted to let out a victory yelp. Her carefully thought out plan wouldn’t work if they canceled the trip.
Scout fiddled with her phone, put headphones in her ears, and ran off. She ran so slow, Anna mused, as she watched her get smaller and smaller in her rear-view mirror.
Anna started her car, grinning. She’d gotten what she needed. She thought it was a fine idea for Scout and her dumb friends to head up north in the midst of what they were predicting would be a very big snow storm. It was a great idea. She drove away, making a mental list of the things she had to do before she left town. She laughed out loud, not just a little maniacal, and turned the car towards the closest Home Depot.