light on the furnace. He got on his knees and removed a metal panel toexamine the nest of wires and levers.
“Ignition seems to be in good shape. It’s been making noises?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t really noticed.”
He gave me a look, like I had tricked him into coming down here.
To do what? I shrugged at him. He rummaged some more, then said, “I
need room to get up.”
I moved too quickly, stepping on his fingers. I apologized after he
stood and dusted off his jeans.
“Forget it. It’s not the worst you’ve done to me.”
“I’m sorry about that, too.”
“Look. This is the filter.” He held up an accordion screen clotted with
dust. “This needs to be changed every three months. I’d say this one’s
been going on two years.”
“Cal used to do that, I guess.”
“I can grab one for you tomorrow. I’ll run it over and get it in.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Relax. It’s an easy fix. And I’m not doing it for you.”
I nodded to show that I understood the gravity of this statement.
“You think you’re the center of everything, don’t you?” He shook his
head. “That’s not what I meant. I don’t mean to be rude. You just bring
it out in me.”
“Excuse me? I’m responsible?”
His lips curled in a pained expression. “Also not what I meant. Rosa-
lind says you pull me back into the past, to the man I once was. But I’m
not that person anymore.”
“She knows our history?”
“I don’t hide things from my wife.”
“Of course. I wasn’t suggesting that you did.”
“I’m different now,” he said. “I’ve changed, you know. I got saved.”
“Rosalind’s a lucky woman.”
“She brings the best out in people. And she wants to be friends with
“Guess I’m lucky, too.”
“Be nice. She deserves your best.”