The Cantor Dimension

Free The Cantor Dimension by Sharon Delarose

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Authors: Sharon Delarose
close enough, she clutched his arm and pulled him inside. An incoherent jumble of words fumbled their way through her tears.
    "What's wrong? What's the matter? Ellen, calm down!"
    "It's Pat! She never came! Michael Potter... wrong number... her father... never heard of her... Jeanne!" Ellen was beside herself and Jimmy could only catch a few words in between her sobs.
    "Ellen, baby, come on. Let's sit down." He walked her to the sofa and sat her down. Taking hold of her hand he said, "Calm down. Speak slowly. Start at the beginning. First of all, who are these people? This Jeanne you mentioned?"
    "Jeanne is Fred's wife only she isn't his wife, Norma's his wife! I ate dinner there two weeks ago."
    "Okay. Who's Fred?"
    "You know Fred, he's Pat's father. He really is! His parents met in Kent County, England and he broke his knee and he said they never had kids! I'm going the way of Martha, aren't I? Tell me I'm not! Tell me please !" Ellen had pulled her hand out from Jimmy's and was clutching at his coat. He hadn't had a chance to take it off.
    Jimmy had no idea what she was talking about but he wanted to humor her. He'd never seen her so upset. "No, you're not going the way of Martha. Don't worry, baby, I'm here. It's going to be okay." He reached out and stroked Ellen's hair, studying her panic-stricken face. "I still don't understand what you're trying to tell me. Start at the beginning and tell me slowly. I can't help you if I don't understand. Okay?"
    "Okay," she sniffed, calmer. "It's Pat. She never showed up last night. I called her house and some guy, Michael Potter, answered. Said he'd never heard of her! The police never heard of her either and they think I'm making everything up!"
    "The police? The police were here? My God, Ellen, what happened?" Jimmy asked with a twinge of panic. Ellen's composure crumbled again. In spite of her tears Ellen appeared to be okay physically so Jimmy pulled her close to him and decided to let her cry it out and then she could explain. He'd never heard of this Pat either and assumed it must be some new friend of hers. Ellen was always picking up stray people with problems. It was as if they knew she was simpatico and they tended to gravitate toward her. She was Rochester's very own Dear Abby . This Pat must really be a doozy to give Ellen a phony phone number.
    Jimmy held Ellen as she sobbed, her face buried in his shoulder, her body shaking violently in spite of his firm grip. After a few minutes when Jimmy sensed her agitation subsiding, he pulled away from her. Ellen's shoulder length hair hung in wet tangles in front of her face. Her almond-shaped green eyes glittered with tears as she searched Jimmy's face for answers. Her mouth was stretched in a hideous grimace and snot dribbled from her nose.
    "Ellen, baby, come on, let me go get you some tissues or something. Your face is all wet. I'll make you some coffee, too. Okay?"
    Ellen nodded, hiccuping through her tears. Jimmy urgently wished he had a handkerchief like his father always carried but these days nobody carried handkerchiefs except old men and dweebs and Jimmy was neither. All the while he was comforting Ellen he was thinking about her nose running all over his black leather jacket. Shirts were okay, they could be washed, but this jacket... it was his favorite and he was picky about it. It was the perfect foil for his wavy black hair. He dabbed at the wet spot with some tissues.
    Eventually Jimmy was able to piece together the whole story. None of it made any sense to him, especially the part about their wedding reception plans the night before. They hadn't had any plans as far as he knew but he didn't dare admit this to Ellen and set her off again. He sure wasn't going to tell her that he'd never heard of this Pat person. People denying Pat's existence seemed to have been what started Ellen's hysteria. No, he thought, better to keep quiet for now. God, maybe she was going the way of Martha! He was tempted to ask who Martha

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