Whistling by A. M. Linton

Thirty-seven-year-old Thomas was quietly whistling the tune “If you don’t love me then leave me alone, if you don’t love me then leave me alone, if you don’t love me then leave me alone” as he approached his red Toyota car in the apartment complex he lived in with his wife.

Daylight was slowly but steadily chasing the darkness away, and the night’s rain left traces of itself on the newly paved parking lot, the vehicles parked there, and the stale-sweet smell in the air.

“Good morning, Tom,” a voice quietly spoke behind him.

Thomas almost dropped the fob he’d just started the engine with as he spun around to face the speaker.

“Oh, sorry,” Mrs. Pete said, putting her hands to her chest, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

Mrs. Pete was a little taller than the average woman, and for some reason, she leaned forward slightly when she walked. Once, Thomas overheard a seven-year-old child in the complex asking her, “What’s wrong with your back?”  

“My back? There’s nothing wrong with my back,” she replied.

“Then why do you lean like this?” the child asked, demonstrating with his body.

“I do not do that when I walk,” she immediately cried, walking away mumbling.

She wore a white raincoat, and the coat’s matching hat hid most of her long grey and black hair.

“Good morning, Mrs. Pete,” Thomas said, smiling.

“Off to work?” she asked, looking at the bag slung across his body.


“Is the Mrs. with you?” she asked, looking into the car and around the parking lot.

“No, the Mrs. has been working from home since Covid.”

“Ohhh, still nah?”  

“Yes,” he said, “but I really have to leave now so I won’t get caught up in the rush hour traffic.”

He turned away and pulled open the driver’s door.

Mrs. Pete, as fast as the hare in The Turtle and the Hare story, covered the distance between them and rested her hand on the opened door.

“Hmm,” she said, “you know I am a quiet woman, and I keep to myself. I don’t like confrontation, right?”

Thomas studied her light brown face briefly before smiling and asking, “Where is this going?”

“I’m also a family woman, and when I see, how do I put this? Hmm, things that don’t seem right, I have to speak out.”

Thomas folded his arms across his stripped light blue and green sweater.

“Earney and I have been married for thirty-five years,” she said, nodding, “and we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve always been faithful and honest with each other until now.”

Thomas nodded

“This will be hard to hear, but I must tell you.”

“Tell me what?” he asked.

“Your wife and my Earney are having an affair.”

“What?” Thomas asked, splatting the word, and his hands fell to his sides.

“Yes,” she said, nodding, “women find it hard to resist Earney.” 

Thomas shifted his weight onto his left leg.

“What makes you think they are having an affair?” he asked after recovering.

She looked around the parking lot, and two cars slowly drove out, leaving a little smoke behind them. She lowered her voice and whispered, “Last week and Tuesday, when you were at work, I saw him coming out of your apartment, and he never once mentioned being over there!” 

“I see.”

“Also, the last time I saw Earney this happy was when I told him I was…”

“You were what?” Thomas asked, folding his arms across his chest again.

“On, never mind that. I am just saying that he is also happy in a different way.”

Thomas smiled, “I can assure you, Mrs. Pete, my wife is not having an affair with your husband.”

Daylight won, and Pete glanced at his watch.

“I really have to go, Mrs. Pete, but I need you to go home and be direct with your husband about what you see and think.”

“But I’m scared,” she said, grabbing the top of her coat.

“Scared? Why?”

“What if he lies to my face? We’ve always been honest with each other, and I don’t know how to handle it if he lies to me.” 

“But you think he’s having an affair and lying to you right under your nose!” Thomas replied, taking the bag from around his body.

“True. True,” she said after a few seconds of silence.

Thomas sat in the car, and before closing the door, he added, “See you later, Mrs. Pete and go talk with Earney right now.”

She nodded, and he quickly made his way out of the parking lot.

I should have waited until he returned home, Mrs. Pete thought.  Now, he’s going to speed or be late for work because of my foolishness.

She shook her head and, turning, she returned to the green and white building she called her home for the past twenty years.

Earney was still sleeping when she quietly entered the apartment.

About two hours later, they quickly devoured toast, poached eggs, and tea that she’d prepared.

“I am truly a blessed man,” Mr Pete suddenly said, smiling at his wife.  

Earney had a smile that permanently weakened her heart, and watching him with his head of curly black hair and the black and blue sweater she’d bought for him last Christmas, her heart suddenly overflowed with love for him.

“I love you, Earney,” she said, silently pleading with him to reply with the same words.

Earney bent his head, and his smile was gone when he lifted it again.

“Sorry honey,” he said, “I’ve been selfish, and I am sorry, but I’ve found her. I’ve found our baby!”

To be continued.

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