After walking over to the window in her brother’s empty apartment, Lindy Kyle paused and let her tired gaze rest on the view of downtown Seattle. Dusk was settling over the steel jungle, and giant shadows from the skyscrapers fell into the maze of concrete across the picturesque waterfront. In another mood Lindy would have been struck by the intricate beauty of what lay before her, but not now.
Seattle, as Steve had claimed, really was a lovely city. When she’d arrived, she’d been so preoccupied with trying to find the address of the apartment and the appropriate parking space for her Volkswagen Rabbit in the lot behind the building that she hadn’t taken the time to notice anything around her.
Now she sighed at the panorama that lay before her. "I’m actually here," she said, mainly to hear herself speak. She’d come to expect a lot from one western city. She felt as an immigrant might have years ago, sailing into New York Harbor, seeking a new way of life and freedom from the shackles of the past. Lindy had been bound, too, in the chains of grief and un-happiness.
Dramatically she posed, pretending to be the Statue of Liberty, her right hand held high as if gripping a lighted torch, her left firmly clasping imaginary stone tablets. "Okay, Seattle, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Lindy sucked in a shaky breath and battled back tears. "Seattle, calm my fears. Clear my head." She dropped her arms and swallowed at the growing knot in her throat. "Heal my heart," she added in a broken whisper. "Please, heal my heart---"
Exhaling raggedly, she dropped her arm and admitted it was too much to expect – even from a place that had once been honored as the most livable city in the United States. Far too much to ask.
Suddenly exhausted, Lindy picked up her suitcase and headed down the narrow hallway toward the two bedrooms. She opened the first door and stood in the doorway examining the room. The closet, which was partly open, displayed an organized row of civilian clothes hanging inside, crisp and neat. A framed picture or two rested on the dresser, but Lindy didn’t pay attention to those. This had to be the bedroom of Rush Callaghan, her brother’s roommate. Currently both men were at sea serving six-month tours of duty. Steve was an officer aboard the submarine Atlantis, somewhere in the Pacific upholding God, country and the American flag. Lindy had no idea where Rush was and didn’t particularly care. Men weren’t exactly her favorite subject at the moment.
She closed the bedroom door and moved on to the next room. A dresser drawer hung open, mismatched socks draped over its edge. Bulky-knit sweaters were carelessly tossed on the ledge above the closet and shoes were heaped in a pile on the floor.
"Home, sweet home," Lindy said with a soft smile. She really was fond of her brother, and although he was nearly ten years older, her childhood had been marked with memories of his wit and warmth. She laid her suitcase across the unmade bed, opened it and reached for Steve’s letter. "Come to Seattle," he’d written in his lazy, uneven scrawl. "Forget the past and make a new life for yourself." Steve had had firsthand experience with pain, Lindy knew, and she respected his judgment. He’d survived the emotional trauma of divorce and seemed to have come out of it with a new maturity.
"You’ll know which bedroom is mine," Steve’s letter continued. "I can’t remember the last time I changed the sheets so you might want to do that before you crash."
Crashing certainly sounded inviting, Lindy mused, sinking with a sigh onto the edge of the unmade bed.
Although she’d nearly memorized Steve’s words, Lindy read completely through the letter once more. Clean sheets were in the hall closet, he explained, and she decided to tackle making the bed as soon as she’d unpacked her things. The washer and dryer were in a small laundry room off the kitchen, the letter went on to say.
When she finished reading, Lindy placed Steve’s instructions on top of the dresser. She stripped off the sheets, carried the bedding into the laundry room and started the washing machine.
When the phone rang it caught her off guard, and she widened her eyes and placed her hand over her heart as shock waves washed over her.
It rang one more time before she decided to answer it.
"Lindy, it’s your mother."
"Oh, hi, Mom." Lindy smiled at her parents’ habit of identifying themselves. She’d been able to recognize her own family’s voices since she was a child.
"I take it you’ve arrived safely. Honey, you should have phoned – your father and I’ve been worried."
Lindy sighed. "Mom, I just walked in the door not more than ten minutes ago. I was planning to phone after I fixed myself something to eat."
"Did your car give you any problems?"
"Good." Her mother sounded relieved.
"Everything’s fine – just the way I said it would be," Lindy added.
"What about money?"
"Mom, I’m doing great." A slight exaggeration, but Lindy wasn’t desperate – at least she wouldn’t be if she found a job reasonably soon. The unemployment problem was one she hoped to correct first thing in the morning.
"I talked to your Uncle Henry in Kansas City and he said you should think about applying at Boeing…that airplane company. He claims they’re always looking for someone with a degree in computer science."
"I’ll do that right away," Lindy answered in an effort to appease her mother.