Too Quiet in Brooklyn
the small printer underneath the desk, and made a copy. “These are names and addresses of members, their calendar and agenda for the year. It may give you something to go on. And while I’m on the subject, the senior minister and her friends should be notified, once I … identify the body, so I’ve made a copy for myself.” She shivered.
    Where was Barbara’s uncertainty, her overwhelming sorrow? Again I marveled at her ability to cope. If I’d lost my son and my mother on the same day, I’d be churning in grief, either numb or screaming my bloody head off about now, useless, and into my third or fourth hissy fit, wondering what the police were doing about my child and why they hadn’t found him yet. At least that’s what I liked to think I’d be like. And as I recalled, after my mother’s death, I was angry one minute, numb the next, and wondering if the police had suspects, overwhelmed for months when their conclusion was a possible suicide. But I knew I wasn’t seeing the normal Barbara; I was seeing a Barbara battered by sudden loss. Still, a petty thought crept around my brain. I had to remember that from what I could see, Barbara Simon stood to inherit a lot.
    I stuffed everything into my bag, struggled to sling it over my shoulder. “I’ll have lots of questions. Mind if I call you when I do?”
    “Anytime. I won’t be getting much sleep. You have my cell and I’ll text you my home phone number. I hope you’re familiar with the Macintosh?”
    “My drug of choice.” I patted the bag. “But I do windows, too.”
    I reminded her that we hadn’t found her mother’s purse yet. “Is there a place in the house where she keeps it, like by the side of her bed or on a certain chair in the dining room or in the kitchen?”
    She thought a minute and told me she’d often seen it behind the overstuffed chair in the living room or near her desk, depending on where she was at the time. If it were in one of those places, we’d have seen it. A sign was flashing inside my head, “Find purse, find purse.”
    Walking to the far wall, she said, “There’s a roof garden you ought to see. My mother spent lots of time there on nice days. Out this door.” Barbara opened it and flipped the switch, illuminating a string of small Christmas lights surrounding the garden. It looked like the set of an Italian wedding. While I walked around, she made that call to her friend. Her face took on a glow.
    In one corner was a gas grill and in the middle were lawn tables and chairs, deep and comfortable looking. I could have stayed out there all evening. Adjacent to the chair next to me was a plate with crumbs and a few pieces of Oreos and a half a glass of milk.
    Pocketing her phone, she said, “It’s not like my mother to leave Charlie’s snack lying about.” She worried her lips and stomped her foot, folding her arms. “Oh, God, I can’t stand it!” She slumped into the nearest chair.
    A sudden shift. Was it acting? Probably not, but whatever it was, I let her have her moment.
    In a while I said softly, “C’mon Barbara, we’ve got a job to do. Let’s finish it.” The sky was a rich indigo by now. I looked up and searched for stars. Too early, but I saw a newborn, twinkling down at us.
    Barbara nodded slowly and rose. I followed her down the stairs and detoured back into the living room, peeping behind the overstuffed chair and shaking my head before following her to another door off the mudroom.
    As we entered the garage, I found the switch and flipped it on. From what I could see, it was like the rest of the house, neat as a pin, the cement floor painted a shiny gray, the walls and cabinets white. Somebody who knows her whites like my gran would be able to tell you if it was Antique White or Linen White. Not me.
    Nothing seemed amiss. Well, almost nothing. I opened the cabinet doors. Empty and spotless. Odd, I thought. She must need lubricating oil for the garage door at least. And the house had

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