Broken Windows

Mave Madison was sitting in her living room on a cold winter's evening relaxing while reading the latest book by JD Fly. It was getting late and Mave was debating whether or not she should turn in for the night or start another chapter.

The weather forecast called for heavy winds but Mave didn't think much about the conditions until she heard a large cracking sound outside the house followed by a huge crash and a deafening smash that shook the house and scared the hell out it's occupant so much that she screamed out loud and fell out of her chair.

When she was able to gather herself and pick herself up off the floor, Mave realized that she was feeling a cold draft coming from elsewhere in the house. She stepped down the hall to the master bedroom where she felt the gale force wind blowing through the bedroom door. She turned on the light switch on the wall and she saw that a huge tree limb had crashed through the two windows overlooking the front yard.

"This is not good," Mave said aloud, aghast to see the damage done by Mother Nature.

She stared at the mass of branches sticking through the hole in the wall (the windows were completely knocked out) and she saw the shattered glass spread across the floor.

"Great," Mave muttered to herself, turning down the room thermostat, clicking off the light and closing the door hoping that out of sight would mean out of mind.

She got some towels from the linen closet and stuffed them under the door to block the cold air and then she went into her office to dig out her home insurance policy to call Mahoney, Williams and Clark in the morning.

Mave was already in her pajamas and robe so she turned off the rest of the lights in the house and she went to bed in the guest room hoping she would fall asleep quickly so she wouldn't have to think about the tree sticking out of the front of her house.

Mave slept fairly well all things considered and in the morning she took a deep breath as she opened the door to the master bedroom in the light of day to see how bad the damage looked – leaves and other debris had scattered about the room during the night.

Mave sighed and then she carefully retrieved some clothes from her dresser and she dressed in the guest room before calling Mahoney, Williams and Clark on her cell. The adjuster they'd get an appraiser out in the next half hour to take pictures but that her policy covered a tree through the window.

Sitting at the kitchen table drinking her morning coffee, Mave figured she should call Boone the Builder to make repairs but she knew they were expensive and she wasn't sure if this job was big enough for the major renovations and construction projects that company usually contracted.

Then she remembered seeing an advertisement on the placemats at Johnny C's Diner - JT Mallory Carpentry and Home Repair. The only reason she remembered seeing the ad was because she had grown up with JT, although she had only seen him once in the last ten years.

Mave was home for Christmas about four years earlier and she saw JT standing in line for a movie at the Greenville Cinema all lovey-dovey with Cathy Irving who Mave remembered from Church – but JT hadn't seen her.

Mave often thought about JT although she wasn't sure why she still missed him after all this time.

Mave called her boss and let her know she was going to be late for work. Her job as Activities Director at the Blue County Care Center in Riverside was flexible so it was no big deal – her staff would cover.

Janet from the insurance office stopped by a while later with her camera to take photos and inspect the damage.

"I suppose it could have been worse," Mave observed as she and Janet stood on the front lawn looking at the huge limb sticking through the bedroom window.

After Janet left, Mave drove to Johnny C's Diner and jotted down JT Mallory's phone number from the place mat. Back in her car, Mave sat in the driver's seat with her cell in her hand debating whether she could cold-call her old friend out of the blue after all this time.

Mave wouldn't mind giving JT a job to help him out but she felt awkward calling considering how their friendship faded into nothingness by the time high school ended. Still, she couldn't leave a huge tree branch hanging out of her bedroom window forever so she punched in the phone number and put the cell to her ear.

"Hello?" A voice answered after the third ring.

"Is this JT Mallory?" Mave asked with hesitation to make sure she wasn't talking to a co-worker or even had gotten a wrong number.

There was a pause on the other end for a moment. "Is this Mave Madison?"

Mave was stunned that JT recognized her name after all this time. "Hi, JT," she smiled into the phone.

JT hesitated for a moment, unsure of why she was calling.

"So guess what happened last night?" Mave asked lightly in order to mask the mutual awkwardness.

JT didn't know how to answer such a wide open question.

"A tree fell through my window!" Mave laughed into the phone.

"Oh," JT said, now realizing why she was calling. "Much damage?"

"Well the windows are destroyed," Mave said. "Looks like some cosmetic damage to the outside of the house. Maybe a chip to the edge of the roof."

"That's too bad."

"Is this something you can help me with?" Mave asked hopefully.

"Of course," JT answered. "I'd be more than happy to."

"How busy are you?" Mave asked.

"I could come take a look right now if you want," JT answered.

"I wouldn't want to inconvenience you," Mave worried.

"How long do you want a tree sticking through your window in the middle of winter?" JT replied.

"I'd really appreciate it, JT," Mave said with relief.

"Sure," JT replied.

"I'm living in my Great Aunt Mary's house," she revealed. "Do you remember where that is?"

"Of course," JT replied. "I'll see you in a few minutes."

"Okay," Mave agreed. "Thanks."

The call ended and Mave let out a huge sigh of relief. That didn't go so bad and it didn't feel all that weird after all. In fact, it was great to hear his voice again and Mave smiled at the thought of actually seeing JT again after all this time.

She quickly drove home having no idea where JT took the call and how long it might take him to arrive at the house. He grew up in the old neighborhood which was about four blocks from Mave's current house but she wasn't sure where he was living now.

Mave's parents sold the homestead of her youth a few years earlier and they now lived in a condo in Greenville so Mave had no reason to drive through the old neighborhood in her new life.

She pulled her car into the driveway in front of the single car garage and she shook her head at the sight of the broken tree branch sticking through the front of the house. She bet the neighbor's loved that scene. A few dog walkers had already gawked at the image as they passed.

Mave had just stepped onto her screened in patio when she saw a yellow pickup truck pull to the curb in front of the house. A man with long hair and a bushy beard stepped out of the cab and even though 'JT Mallory Carpentry and Home Repair' was etched in red ink on the side of the passenger door, it still took Mave a moment to realize that it was JT, perhaps twenty-pounds heavier than when she last saw him (maybe ten years ago).

And yet her heart still fluttered at the sight of her long lost friend and Mave knew that flutter must have meant something different than seeing an old pal again.