Four summers ago, an elderly couple moved into our neighborhood in Star. It wasn't long after they closed on their single-story pink and taupe house west of Boise that the incident occurred.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
At 7:00 a.m., it was already a dry 84 degrees and sunny, and our cream-colored sidewalks were beginning to heat up. That meant there wasn’t much time before the concrete would burn our pups’ paws, so I had to move with a purpose.
Locals know the Idaho sun hangs hot in the sky as late as 10:30 p.m. at the height of summer. If dog parents are going to keep the wiggles at bay until sunset, early morning walks are the way to do it.
Leashing up our labs Grooty Bear and Mickey Belle, I set a brisk three-mile goal for us. The first mile was fine. The second mile was fine. The third mile made me all the more aware of my husband’s current deployment overseas.
Turning the corner, I could see the old man standing in the middle of the sidewalk. Norm wasn’t scooping up the morning paper. Norm wasn’t letting a dog out or leaving for work. Just as he had several times before, Norm was waiting for me. I stepped into the street to avoid the white-haired six-foot-tall 250-pound man, but he had other plans.
Norm wanted to talk about Trudy again.
After 50 years of marriage, Trudy had been suffering from a terminal illness for the last three months. As sad as that was, and as bad as this is about to sound, I couldn’t stand to hear Norm say it again. Each time Norm mentioned Trudy, he told me in no uncertain terms that his wife deserved to die for refusing naturopath treatments.
Norm believed if Trudy drank enough liquified silver, she’d be cure of her disease. And unless Trudy drank Norm’s homemade concoction, he repeatedly said that Trudy “deserved” to die.
Two months had passed before I saw Norm again.
I was pulling out of the neighborhood when he flagged me down. Out of genuine concern, I asked him how Trudy had been feeling lately. Expressionless, he let out a devilish chuckle and said,
“Yeah, she died a few weeks ago just like I said she would. Serves her right for not drinking the silver. She deserved it.”
A chill raced down my spine as I recalled the giant glass jar of liquified silver Norm left on my front doorstep around the time Trudy had died. I rolled up the window, pulled away, and never saw him again. The next day a realtor pitched a for-sale sign in his front yard. To this day, I still wonder how Trudy died.