On the way to water aerobics, Vondell and I pass a white house with a Utah Highway Patrol car on the curb. Sometimes he's there, suggesting that he works nights, and sometimes he's not, suggesting shift changes. It interests me, because my son is in law enforcement and happens to be pulling a month of night duty right now. I am also in the habit of "creating" people's lives. It's the curse or blessing of the novelist.
Vondell and I have created our own fiction about the highway patrolman. A few weeks ago, when the black pickup was gone, and the cop car was in the driveway, we decided that maybe she had left in a huff and taken the kids with her. There was his lonely car, parked where the pickup usually was. Maybe he was inside on the telephone, pleading with her to come home. A week later, when we saw the pickup back, and the patrol car, too, we figured they had made up. It's hard to be a law enforcement wife; maybe she needed a break.
Usually, the pattern seems to be that we'll see his patrol car on the curb and the black pickup in the driveway when we head to water aerobics. When we drive by an hour later, the patrol car is usually still there, and the pickup is gone, suggesting to our nosey minds that she is at work somewhere, and he gets to sleep in peace and quiet, after a night spent keeping Highway 6 relatively crime-free.
But today is Valentine's Day. We noticed on our return drive-by that his patrol care was still there, and so was the black pickup, suggesting, well, you know what it was suggesting. We both laughed and hoped the lovebirds had a good Valentine's Day. Even cops need love.
Vondell and I think we should find some subterfuge to knock on the door and see who actually lives there. We're too old to be selling Girl Scout cookies, so that won't work, and neither of us looks much like a meter reader. Maybe we need to rein in our imaginations. I just hope that we don't drive by some morning and see the patrol car gone and another car there, along with the black pickup. I'd hate to have to bang on the door and stage an intervention...
Or maybe we should drive down a different street and leave the poor cop alone.