holding hands at arm’s length

“Be careful with that, it looks heavy,” Barbara told the two men unloading the Lomaxes’ new dishwater, her tone leaving uncertain whether she had meant it out of concern for the delivery men’s safety or the dishwasher’s. Clouds covered the sky, fall leaves covered everything else. 
A Buick, just arrived from the hairdresser, issued two stacatto beeps at the unfamiliar truck blocking her driveway before Barbara trotted over to explain.
“Oh Gladys, I’m so sorry. This just seemed like the safest path to our front door, so they don’t have to go around the hedges on our side. I knocked to ask permission, but now I see you weren’t home.” The delivery men looked relieved to have Barbara’s attention drawn elsewhere.
“Did Herb not answer the door?” Gladys asked.”That’s odd.”
“I thought he must have been playing golf this morning. I rang the doorbell. Twice, just to make sure.”
Barbara recognized the look that passed across Gladys’ face and suddenly felt very aware of the truck.
“Just pull in behind them,” she said, gesturing with her hand. “They won’t be out until they’ve finished loading the old one on.” She tried to say it calmly. Maybe he was in the bathroom. He wouldn’t have gone out back into his woodshop without anyone else home.

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January 2014
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