The instant Tracy lay eyes on the suitcase, she was completely taken with it. How weird! A suitcase sitting right by the door. Judging by the dent it made in her shin it must be full. Was someone leaving?
“Whose suitcase is this, Mrs. H. ?”
“Ah. That.” Mrs. H. finished closing the door behind Tracy, and looked at the suitcase like it might bite her. “That belongs to a former tenant.”
“Oh? Is he moving back in?” Tracy grabbed the suitcase by the handle and tipped it so she could check out all the stickers on it.
The thing had been around. There were airline tags and postage stickers and even a couple of stickers in Spanish. She assumed the dents hadn’t been made by her shin. What had made them? It all seemed real exotic and mysterious.
“I’m not sure where Gene and Ben are,” Mrs. H. said. She reached down and took the suitcase, but she looked like she really didn’t want to. “Try the den.”
Tracy could hear Gene and Ben talking. They were definitely in the den because she could hear them, but only like murmurs. But Mrs. H. was carrying the suitcase upstairs. The thing was, Tracy could hang out with Gene any old time. She did it a lot. But a suitcase like this didn’t come along every day.
“I think they’re upstairs.” Tracy sprinted up the stairs.
“Oh. Well, check for yourself.” Mrs. H. stood at the top of the stairs with that suitcase hanging from her fingers and looked around like she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.
That kind of made sense. After all, the first doorway went to Gene’s room. Then came the bathroom, then Marvin’s room. The next door went to Miranda’s room, then Ben’s room. That only left Mrs. H’s and then they were back to the stairs. There wasn’t anywhere else up there. So of course Mrs. H. carried the suitcase to her room. Was that where the old border would be staying?
“So when is this guy coming?” Tracy pretended to look in Gene’s room, then quick caught up with Mrs. H.
“No one knows.” She stepped into her room and would have closed the door on Tracy, but Tracy was too quick.
“So maybe we should check inside for clues?”
“Of course not. It’s private property. Have you checked Ben’s room?”
“I’ll check in a minute.” Tracy was itching to attack the zipper on the suitcase. She’d noticed earlier there was no lock. She’d have it open already, but Mr. H. kept clinging to it.
“So is this the Drew guy that everyone keeps talking about?” Tracy moved to the side, looking for an opening.
“Everyone? Talking? What are people saying?” Mrs. H’s eyes went all wide. She dropped the suitcase at the foot of her bed.
“Just that he’s a good guy. And that you miss him.” Tracy made herself at home on Mrs. H’s bed. It got her that much closer to her goal.
“Well, I guess that’s true enough. Are you sure that’s all?” Mrs. H. crossed her arms, and went over to a chair by the wall.
Was it too soon to pounce? Probably.
“Well, and it kind of sounds like there’s something wrong with him. Like he went crazy or something.”
“Huh.” Mrs. H. bit her lip and looked out the window.
That was probably as good a chance as Tracy was going to get. She dropped off the bed real cautious-like. Luckily Mrs. H. got busy looking out the window and biting her lip, so she didn’t notice at first. Tracy even got the flap flipped back before Mrs. H. started sputtering.
Stiff white shirts, heavy gray pants, black socks all balled up, a jacket, ties… Ties! What kind of guy was this? There was nothing good in there except a piece of paper folded up like a letter that said, “Suzie” on the top.
Mrs. H. snatched the letter out of Tracy’s hand before she could open it.
“What do you think you’re doing?! Didn’t I just say this was private property?”
Tracy waited for the nasty stuff to come, the comments about what a bad seed she was, about how rude, what gall, all that stuff that grown ups always said. Instead, Mrs. H. gave her this long, hard look, like she didn’t like what she saw but wasn’t about to lower herself to name calling, and that was a lot worse. Even before Mrs. H. said, “Get out,” Tracy was on her way out the door.
For the first time in a long, long time Tracy thought maybe she had made a really bad mistake.
If you enjoy Suzie’s House and would like to see more, please leave a comment. Suzie’s House is powered by its readers.