Holly stifled a yawn before taking an extra large gulp of her coffee.
It was a beautiful Autumn morning in Maine, but maybe a little too early for Holly’s liking. As always, the best friends were seated on their favorite bench that overlooked the river. What was different this time, however, was that Holly appeared ready to curl up on that bench for a nap.
“Why did we have to get up so early for our walk today?” she whimpered from her end of the bench. “Don’t your people consider Sunday to be a day of rest?”
“My people?” Aaron responded with a chuckle. “I believe you’re Catholic, too.”
“Yeah, but I’m more Catholic curious than anything else,” she promptly clarified. “Unlike you, I wasn’t raised to be a full on cult member and saddled with altar boy and little nerd boy who does the readings at Sunday Mass duties to make sure I was fully immersed in the glories of the religion.”
“Lector,” Aaron corrected her. “The person who is specially chosen to do the readings at Sunday Service because of his remarkable voice is called the lector.”
Aaron smiled at her and then took a long sip of his Snapple.
“Why don’t you settle down a little, Clarice, and get back to me when the lambs in your head stop their screaming?” Aaron suggested.
Holly punched him playfully in the arm.
“Really, though,” Holly persisted like a dog after a bone, “Why are we out here so early? All religious jokes aside, you usually like to sleep in on Sunday.
“The contractor arrived at the butt crack of dawn to install my new windows,” he finally revealed like it was some sort of state secret. “I thought I’d get out from underfoot and flee to the quiet and security of the river walk with my best friend.”
Holly flashed a million dollar smile. Even half asleep, she was incredibly beautiful.
“Awww. Now was that decision not to get underfoot yours or the contractor’s?” she asked innocently, but they both knew it was a very pointed question.
Aaron took a sip of Snapple to give him time to ponder his reply.
“I’d say it was 20% my idea and 80% his,” he admitted with a sly smile.
“Well, I know how uncomfortable it makes you to have strangers in your home, or pretty much anywhere in your life for that matter.”
Holly knew him better than anyone, and her assessment of the situation was spot on as usual.
“I carry the burden of the introvert like an albatross around my neck,” he stated.
“Well you’d think that people would want to avoid a guy with a dead bird hanging from his neck,” she quipped.
Aaron chuckled. “I’ve never given the life status of the bird any thought. I guess I’ve always just assumed the albatross was alive…”
“That’s ridiculous,” Holly quickly countered. “How in the world would you get a living bird to allow itself to be draped from your neck all day?”
“It would have to be an extremely lazy albatross,” he guessed.
“Or one that was easily trained or open to suggestion,” she added.
Holly, who had just taken a sip of her coffee, did a spit take. Luckily, it all landed on the grass, rather than on Aaron.
“You say the craziest things,” she told him as she wiped coffee from her chin.
“Now you understand why the contractor strongly suggested that I go for a walk,” he informed her without missing a beat.
“Well, you’re always welcome to share your insane theories with me, Dr Lecter,” she let him know with a soft pat on the leg.
Once the goosebumps that had entirely covered his body from her touch had subsided, he finally replied, “That’s Dr Lector, with an “o” not a cannibalistic “e”.”
She giggled, rolled her eyes, and turned her attention to the river.