Harold looked up and saw the high wisps of clouds that had caught his grandson's attention. “They're called 'horsetails',” he replied.
“What do they mean, Grandpa?” the child asked.
“You said that clouds tell you things.”
Harold chuckled and tousled the boy's hair. “You're right,” he assured the boy. “Those clouds tell me that there's going to be a change.”
The woman stormed into the house ignoring the greetings and smiles from Harold and the children. Harold looked after her until he felt his grandson's hand on his arm. “Grandpa?”
Harold looked down at the boy and smiled. “Yes?”
“The clouds, Grandpa. What are they telling you.”
Harold glanced back up at the telltale signs in the sky, all arranged in parallel brush strokes that bent at a ninety degree angle. “There's a change coming,” he said, his mind lost in another concern.
The old man graced his grandson with another smile, a wistful one this time. “A change in the weather,” he added.
“It's gonna rain?”
Once again, Harold looked to the door where his daughter-in-law disappeared and said, “Some kind of storm.”
The Monopoly set was gathered and the children were watching television when their father arrived home from work. “Where's Linda?” he asked when he reached the porch where he found his father reading the evening paper.
The door opened and Linda appeared with a suitcase in hand before Harold could answer.
“Where are you going?” her husband asked.
Linda pushed past him. She didn't even look at him until she reached the third step where she stopped and looked back. “I'm taking the BMW,” she said.
“None of your damn business,” she snapped and descended the remainder of the steps.
Harold buried his nose in the paper as the scene played out, but kept his eyes over the top.
“When will you be back?” his son asked his wife.
Linda stopped. Her chin sank to her chest and her shoulders slumped as though the question bore weight. Pausing just long enough to inhale a deep breath, she snapped back, “Never.”
The woman walked to the trunk of the sports sedan and deposited her suitcase inside. She didn't look back at her bewildered husband until the lid was slammed shut. A twisted smile marred her otherwise good features. “You'll figure it out.”
“You'll figure it out,” she repeated in a louder voice.
A moment later, Linda and the BMW had disappeared down the block and across the intersection without pausing at the stop sign. Her husband remained rooted to the top step of the porch, his mouth sagging open. “What was that all about?” he asked no one in particular.
“She's left you,” Harold answered.
“Don't ask me. Why did she leave you twice before you got married?”
Harold's son turned to look at him, bewildered.
Harold chuffed and shook his head slowly. “What else did you expect?”
The younger man shrugged his shoulders.
Shaking his head slowly, Harold continued to watch his son who had turned to look in the direction the car had disappeared as though it might magically return. Harold chuffed and folded his newspaper. Standing, he walked to his son's side and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“I can stay a couple of extra weeks,” he said, “until you make arrangements for someone to help you with the kids.”
“Because...” Harold began to answer and realized that his son wasn't focused on the children. Not yet. He was still wondering about his wife.
Harold turned and headed for the door. “I'll get dinner started,” he said before disappearing inside. “The kids will be hungry.”
The older man swallowed hard to keep from responding.
Harold and the children were finishing dinner when the policeman arrived at the front door. “You're Wade Kingsly?” he asked when Harold's son opened it.
“Your wife is Linda Kingsly.”
“Yes, what's happened?”
“There's been an accident.”
“Linda?” the younger man stammered.
“The BMW?” Harold blurted before he could bite back the words.
“I'm sorry, sir...” the officer began.
“Dad. Grandpa, what's happening?” one of the grandchildren asked, while the others stood behind waiting.
Harold pulled them together in a group hug. “There's been a change,” he said and ushered them back to the dining table. Behind him he could hear his son asking.