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STRANGER IN OUR LIVES

“I’ll see you at 7:00...bye,” Mom chimed into the telephone.
“We’re going to have company,” Mom told Bronco and me after she hung up the phone.  There was an excitement in her voice that caused me to take notice.
“Do you remember me telling you about Deryl Gaines?”
“Well...sort of,” I replied as I searched my memory.
“I dated him when you were little, before I married Slim,” Mom continued, “He’s coming over here tonight!” (She made this announcement as if the President was coming.)
Bronco and I sat in front of the television set.  Bronco was watching the screen, but I was watching Mom!
A flurry of activity surrounded her.   She disappeared into her bedroom and reappeared with curlers in her hair.  She sped about straightening the living room and flew for the kitchen.  I could hear chairs scooting, water running and cupboard doors closing.  She inspected the living room again as she scurried through to her bedroom.
In approximately twenty-five minutes, she made her appearance.  Her hair was fixed; she had on make up, and she was wearing a dress!

          “Wow Mom!” I exclaimed, “Why are you so dressed up?”
“Well...well, I haven’t seen him for a long time, and I want to look nice,” she stammered.
I tried to concentrate on the television, but I was wondering what all the fuss was about.
Mom paced the room and straightened the pillows on the couch for the third time.
Knock Knock
“Someone’s at the back door,” I told my frazzled mother.
She hurried into the kitchen and opened the door.  I could hear her and then a man’s voice.
“Gloria...Bronco,” Mom called sweetly from the kitchen.
Bronco didn’t want to leave his television program.
“Come on,” I persuaded, giving him a nudge.  Reluctantly, he followed.
“Deryl, these are my children, Gloria and Bronco,” Mom said as we entered the kitchen.
The man grinned pleasantly and said, “Hello.”  I could sense that he was nervous.
“Gloria, Deryl knew you when you were only three years old.”
“Hi,” I said giving him the once over.
Deryl Gaines stood five feet, eight inches tall.  He was of medium build and had brown hair and a slightly square jaw.  His dominant feature was his eyes; they were an unusual aqua blue, and they sparkled good-naturedly as he spoke.
“You have really grown up since the last time I saw you Gloria,” he said in my direction.  Looking at my brother he asked, “How old are you Bronco?”
“I’m five,” Bronco answered with a bored sigh and nonchalantly returned to the living room.
“Sit down, Deryl,” Mom said as she motioned to a kitchen chair.
I could never remember Mom appearing the way she did tonight.  Her face was flushed and her eyes were shining.  She looked lovely!
I took my attention off Mom and focused on Deryl.  I observed that he too had made a fuss.  He was cleanly shaven, had a fresh haircut, and he smelled good, a nice spicy scent.  The western shirt he wore had pearl snaps and the blue color accented his eyes.
As they conversed, it was obvious Mom enjoyed his company.  He told a story, and she laughed at his dry sense of humor.  I began to feel uneasy.  There was an indefinable electricity in the air.  A match could have been lit from its spark.  I turned to leave the room.
“Where are you going?” Mom asked absently.
“To watch TV,” I said sullenly with my back towards them.
I could hear the laughter in the kitchen and I didn’t like it!  Our family was just Mom, Bronco and me!  There wasn’t room for anyone else, but I had the feeling I was just whistling Dixie in a Yankee camp.