Ding Dong! Ding Dong! Ding Dong.
Should I trust this woman? Jimmy thought to himself as he rang the doorbell. He raised his hand to ring the bell again when he heard the lock move. The doorknob twisted like Jimmy’s nerves and slowly the door opened.
It opened wider revealing Navah’s face. She smiled at Jimmy and all of his misgivings and uncertainness fled
Navah: You made it
Jimmy (nervous): I did.
Navah: Good, most people who visit struggle to find this place
Jimmy: I must admit that was me a moment ago but I received a little bit of help.
Navah: I’m glad to hear that.
Jimmy: Thanks for the invite
Navah: You’re welcome and I ah, hope you like BLT sandwiches…with French fries
Grumble! Grumble! Grumble! The sound from his stomach spoke it loud and clear. His days of eating mushrooms and chips from the local bars was beginning to get to him. Anything Navah fed him was surely going to be better than what he was forced to have on a daily basis.
Putting on a cordial face, he smiled.
Jimmy: Anything you prepare I’m sure it will taste good.
Navah: you have a lot of faith in my skills
Jimmy: the fact that you invited me to lunch I would think you would know what you are doing before letting anyone taste your cooking
Navah (laughs): true. But Its only sandwiches
Jimmy: With French Fries
Jimmy and Navah both laughed together.
Navah: I’m such a terrible host, please come on in.
Jimmy followed her inside, and she gave him a brief tour of her decent size living space. She had little to nothing in most of the rooms, save for her easel. He was also surprised to see that there was nothing on the walls to showcase her paintings. Jimmy wanted to ask her about that but decided to let it go.
Navah: So this is my place and it isn’t much but its mine.
Jimmy: How long have you lived here for
Navah gave him a confused look
Jimmy: Is something wrong?
Navah: Not really but I do remember telling you that I lived in Willow Creek for fifteen years
Jimmy: Willow Creek? But this is Oasis
Navah: Of course, you are still new… Willow Creek is the main city but Oasis is like the mini subdivision.
Jimmy nodded his head fully understanding
Jimmy: Okay. So you lived at this same location for fifteen years?
Navah: How about I go and prepare our plates. Anything you want to know about me can be discussed over lunch.
Jimmy (shrugs): Sure.
Navah: Make yourself comfortable
Jimmy walked around and took notice of the bass player letting out a groovy sound. He grinned liking what he was hearing.
A few minutes later, he and Navah were seated at the table enjoying their sandwiches. The taste of fresh bought lettuce combined with juicy tomato and delectable thin sliced beef made Jimmy’s tummy sing. The sandwich was so refreshing.
Jimmy: This is very good.
Jimmy: Are you sure painting isn’t the only thing you can do
Navah: It’s not but it is my passion.
Jimmy: What about cooking. This sandwich has a high quality taste to it.
Navah blushed and giggled. She looked down and took a piece of her sandwich and nibbled on it.
Navah: I’m not that skilled but I do know my way around the spices. I can put something together to save my life.
Jimmy: Where were you the first time I moved here?
Navah (giggles): What?
Jimmy: Seriously, when I had just moved here I met….
Jimmy was going to say the Pancakes but he stopped. He didn’t want to make Navah uncomfortable by mentioning Eliza’s name.
Jimmy: I had some visitors come to my house they were welcoming me to the neighborhood. One of them happened to be a chef. He gave me a fruit cake.
Navah swallowed her food and gazed at Jimmy with a perplexed stare. He smiled feeling odd that she was looking at him like that. He wondered if she knew who he was talking about since Eliza was her friend. Bob was the only chef, Jimmy knew, in his area. And Navah was friends with the Pancakes which meant she would have a good idea of as to whom Jimmy was referring to.
Jimmy: Is everything okay
Navah (blinks): Yes, go on tell me about Bob and the fruit cake
Jimmy didn’t continue right way, he observed Navah, and tried to read her eyes. He felt like he was having déjà vu.
Different times and different women but the same expression. And the one thing that nagged at Jimmy, was the mention of Eliza, seemed to be the cause for Navah and Mara to have the same blank/sad expression. He didn’t bring up her name at that moment but Navah’s face seemed to imply she knew who he was talking about. Not wanting to make a big deal out of it or stir up any trouble he continued on with his story.
Jimmy: Any way, I was given this cake to eat and I being hungry was so grateful for the gift. Famished and with nothing else to eat, I took a big bite. To my horror, the cake tasted horrible!
Navah’s face changed instantly.
Navah: I had the same cake from Bob!
Jimmy couldn’t help it he burst out laughing.
Jimmy: I mean his wife praises his skills but that cake!
Navah: right! The first time I had a bite I was this close to spitting it out. But my friendship with Eliza helped me to compose myself.
Jimmy: I mean I had faith in the guy because his wife sings his praises
Navah: As she should. Bob can cook but I don’t know where he goes to make those cakes
Jimmy: Maybe he is trying something out
Navah: It’s been years since Bob has been attempting to perfect that cake and he still can’t get it right.
Jimmy: That does not make sense to me. Doesn’t he taste his batter before baking it?
Navah: As you are well aware, I am no stranger to the Pancakes. I’ve been to their house and I’ve seen Bob hard at work baking in that kitchen. He’s baked other things before and they turn out beyond good. I don’t understand why this particular cake isn’t good.
Jimmy: But if he is tasting his batter then he would catch it, and like you said he’d been doing this for years
Navah: I know I even asked Eliza about it one time
Jimmy watched as Navah bowed her head and this time he didn’t miss the look of guilt or regret.
Jimmy: Oh man I’m sorry I shouldn’t have brought up that story
Navah shook her head and took a harsh bite out of her sandwich
Navah: Don’t be sorry it’s okay. I’m just feeling bad that Eliza and I are not talking.
Jimmy: do you want to talk about it
Navah: I don’t want to say much on it because she’s not here to defend herself.
Jimmy: that’s understandable
It would be a lie for Jimmy to say he didn’t want Navah to open up, and share why she and Eliza were not talking. He was more than curious as to what caused the two women to be at odds with each other. Navah had mentioned that it was a misunderstanding but Jimmy had this nagging feeling that it was more than that.
Glancing at Navah and seeing how unsettled she was, he questioned to himself if she too could be trusted.
Even though it was months ago, and he did forget about Navah, he did not forget that Eliza had conveyed to Navah that she was on a mission. He really could not assume what that was but the logical side of him, could not let it go.
Eliza: I got to get myself in shape again
Navah: What for?
Eliza: I need to, it’s important. I am on a mission.
…Eliza: it is for a good cause.
Navah: will this ‘cause’ result in you being arrested.
Eliza (chuckles, dryly): That depends on my target
Woman: Is this target a person?
Eliza: Sorry Hun; top secret
…Woman: I get the feeling this mission of yours involves this guy.
Eliza: you can guess all you want about my mission, I won’t tell you.
Taking a bite of his sandwich and tasting how good it was, Jimmy decided to enjoy himself and forget about Eliza and change the subject. He smiled and complimented Navah on the sandwich. He savored every bite while realizing he would soon go back home and live on mushrooms.
When they were done eating, Jimmy helped Navah clear the table. She washed the dishes and Jimmy went to turn on the radio. A popping tune caught his ear and he started to move his body to the rhythm.
Navah came to join him and the two engaged into a dance.
Close enough and gazing into bronze eyes, certain thoughts prevailed in Jimmy’s mind.
Can I trust you?…would you lie to me? why don’t you have paintings on the wall?