Throughout that summer, neither Helen nor Kathleen could ascertain what had seized Alyssa so tightly in its grip. Whatever it was, she was lost to them by early June and she was sorely missed. One morning after she had bathed Craig, Kathleen was walking along Spadina Crescent when Helen called to her.
“Well, hello two of my favourite neighbours. Your timing is perfect. I‘ve been gardening since Alyssa left to tutor her students, and I’m thirsting for a cup of tea. Won’t you join me?”
“It’ll be my pleasure. I was hoping you were available because I would like to pick your brain about what’s happening with Alyssa. She hasn’t stopped in after her tutorials for over two weeks. I’m beginning to think that I’ve done something to tick her off.”
“At least, I can put your mind at ease about anything you might have done, or I’m also guilty of the same offence. I’ve started preparing a full breakfast because she never has time for a bite to eat before she gets ready for her evening shift. She flies in the door at the last minute, has a quick shower, changes into her uniform, and is gone. We only see each other if I wait up for her to return, and at that hour our conversations are less than illuminating. So, I can honestly say that I don’t have the slightest notion about what is occurring with her. Though I’m becoming concerned, Alyssa doesn’t appear to share my disquietude. She has an aura of satisfaction that I’ve never before attributed to her.”
“Do you suppose that Alyssa is getting it on with a man?”
Laughing, Helen replied, “I love your directness, Kathleen. I’ll admit that it has crossed my mind several times, but why hasn’t she told us? As her confidantes, we surely would be the first to know.”
“Maybe, Alyssa’s so smitten that she’s decided not to communicate with us, should our paths ever cross again. Good for her. I‘ve often wished she would meet a fellow and go out on dates.”
“One of my qualms is that she might not come to Banff with me at the beginning of July. I don’t feel confident about driving all that way alone, and this summer Mariah and Steven are coming to visit Marjorie and me shortly after Alyssa leaves for Jasper. I could take the bus, but I’m hoping Alyssa might divulge her news while we’re together on the road.”