C10 CHAPTER TEN
Zoe Turner brought out the groceries that she had bought from the supermarket, banged the boot of her car shut, and almost caught her hand in it in the process of doing that. She swore loudly and reached into her handbag, which was casually slung over her shoulder for her key. However, the key wasn't there.
"No, no, no. this can't be happening. Not when I'm so tired that I can go straight to sleep right here on the sidewalk." Zoe thought to herself, closed her eyes, and counted from one to twenty in a bid to calm herself down. She stopped counting at nine as it was not working at all. Instead, she was becoming more agitated. This was all her fault, she reasoned. She had always planned to buy a key ring so that she could have all her keys in a bunch. Had she done that, it would be easier to find her lone apartment key, or at least, she would have better chances of noticing if it fell off. But no, she always left such things for the last minute or until her negligence caused her a problem, like now.
Deciding that berating herself wasn't going to help her plight at this minute, Zoe set down the grocery bag that was in her arms and proceeded to remove everything in her handbag one after the other. She inspected them all carefully before turning the empty bag upside down and shaking it, and then turning it inside out, but she still couldn't find the key. With great irritation and anger, she sat down on her veranda and considered her options, of which there weren't many. For one thing, it was already seven in the evening and she was not sure if any locksmith would be willing to come over to break her lock that late at night. It wasn't even as though she knew any locksmith, or even where to get one for that matter. She could go back to the office, she supposed, and check there for the key. Maybe when she was leaving, she had mistakenly dropped it on her desk or something. She could also go over to her sister's to get her spare key, but she wasn't in the least bit ready to do that, at least not until she was a hundred percent sure that she had indeed lost her keys. There was the lecture that she would get, but most importantly, there was also her sister's behavior. She didn't know why, but each time it was close to Zoe's birthday, Evelyn always became very melancholic. As she pondered on this, Zoe remembered that she had collected the spare key from her sister's place the last time that she lost her key. As this thought came to her mind, she ran her hand over her short, black hair and sighed in frustration.
"Great! Now even that option is gone." She thought wearily.
She decided that she would go back to the office and check before she made up her mind on what to do. As she opened her car, however, she saw the streetlight glint on something on the driver seat's floor. It was the key! She must have dropped it when she searched for cash to pay the guy at the drive-in. Her joy was so great that her mood improved immediately and she promised herself that this time around, she would get a key holder and put all her keys in it. But if she was being truthful to herself, she knew that it was her own carelessness that caused her to keep misplacing her keys. She gathered up her supplies, entered the house, and was about to put the groceries away when her phone rang. It was her sister. She sighed softly before answering it and took a big bite of her burger. The last thing she needed was Evelyn's melancholy.
"Hey, big sis," Zoe said around a mouthful of burger.
"My baby. How are you today?"
"I'm fine, and you?"
"I'm okay. I'm just so preoccupied with your birthday preparations." Evelyn said, and Zoe sighed again.
"Big sis, you know that you don't have to do this. I really do not understand why you insist on celebrating my birthday every year, even when I'm now an adult."
"Zoe!" Her sister exclaimed, sounding hurt. Zoe rolled her eyes and gave up. She knew this drill like the back of her palm. Evelyn would act the martyr if she showed any unwillingness to celebrate her birthday and Zoe would give in at the end. They had been doing this ever since Zoe grew old enough not to want her birthday celebrated, at least, not every year. For some reason, that day meant a lot to her sister and even though Evelyn was a little bit extra, Zoe loved her very much and would do anything for her. After all, this woman had sacrificed a lot to give her the best that she could afford. Zoe truly appreciated her sister's efforts. Ever since she was born, Evelyn had taken on the role of big sister, acting almost as though she were Zoe's mother, even though she was just fifteen years older than Zoe. Their parents had been very cold and somewhat abusive people who had had no time for their children. They had seemed to loathe the mere existence of both girls, but Evelyn had shielded her little sister from their harsh and unloving natures.
"Alright, big sis. That's very thoughtful of you. How are we celebrating it this time around?"
"That's more like it. You will come over to the house like you always do and we will have dinner together. Nothing fancy, since I know you wouldn't like that. You can invite Justin and April if you want." Evelyn said, referring to Zoe's boyfriend and her best friend.
"Nah. I do not want to stress you. I will be there on Saturday evening. All right, I got to go now, big sis. Give my love to Chuck, Natalie, and James." Zoe said. Chuck and Natalie were her nephew and niece and James was her sister's husband.
She got off the phone and finally took off her clothes. As far as Zoe was concerned, there was nothing more rewarding than coming home after a long day and taking off your clothes, and entering into a hot bath. So she ran a hot bath and soaked for more than thirty minutes before she went to sleep.