The young man smiled. “It happens. Don’t worry. Unless you know my dad?”
“Who is your dad?” she asked.
“Joe—Yazzie Sr. I’m Joe Jr. Do you know him?”
Evelyn’s heart skipped a beat as she saw it now. Saw the younger version of her uncle in this young man. Obviously Uncle Yazzie’s son had been born after she’d left. For a moment she had a pang of homesickness. She’d missed Joe Jr.’s birth. Her cousin’s birth.
Evelyn’s heart stopped its racing and she took his hand. “The name sounds familiar…”
She wasn’t lying—she just wasn’t telling him the whole story. There would be time for that later…that was if his father was interested in seeing her again.
“Not surprising. He doesn’t leave Wolf’s Harbor.”
“Well, I’m Dr. Evelyn Saunders. I’m looking for a ride to the medical clinic.”
“Of course—you’re the new OB/GYN in town for the next three months, yeah?” He picked up her suitcase.
“I am,” Evelyn answered.
“My wife…” He pointed over his shoulder at the young woman behind the counter. “Jennifer—she’s due in a month.”
Jennifer beamed and nodded. “I have an appointment with you tomorrow afternoon, Dr. Saunders.”
“Well, I look forward to seeing you then.”
Evelyn quickly reassessed the small bump under her hoodie and some red flags went up. It could be nothing. Some woman were known to carry very small until right near the end. But Evelyn would be sure to check out Jennifer Yazzie’s file as soon as she got access to the patient records.
She followed Joe Jr. out of the terminal and to a blue and orange cab that was painted exactly the same as the old cab she remembered, but a new model of the vehicle.
She slipped into the passenger seat in the front and after Joe had got her luggage in the back he took the driver’s seat and started the cab.
“Is this your first time in Wolf’s Harbor, Dr. Saunders?”
“No.” She wanted to say yes—to serve her three-month rotation and maybe go unnoticed, so she could leave the painful memories of her past behind her—but she couldn’t lie.
She’d lost a piece of herself when she’d been taken away from Wolf’s Harbor, and even though she was only going to be here for a short time perhaps she could lay to rest some of the ghosts that continued to haunt her. Stop the restless feeling she often got. The night terrors which sometimes still plagued her.
“Really?” Joe asked. “I don’t remember seeing your face before.”
“How old are you, Joe?” she asked.
“Twenty—which I know is young to be a father…”
“I wasn’t going to judge you for your age, or tell you that you’re too young to be a father—it’s just that the last time I was in Wolf’s Harbor I was ten, which was twenty years ago.”
Joe beamed. “No kidding? Well, welcome home.”
He didn’t pry further, for which she was glad, but she was sure that he’d soon be getting the word out that she was back.
It would be better this way. To let everyone know that she had come back instead of facing a constant stream of questioning shock. She just hoped they wouldn’t all give her the cold shoulder as they had done for the past twenty years.
Twenty years with no word from her family up here.
Twenty years of silence.
Joe pulled up in front of the clinic and she paid the fare, insisting that he keep the change. The clinic was a new building with red siding. It reminded her of a barn, but it was very clean, with the sign freshly painted. It sat on the main road downtown, and through the gaps in the buildings across from her she could see the tall masts and onboard hoists of the fishing boats in the harbor. Her father had practiced medicine out of a small storefront. This looked so much better than that cramped old space.
Joe set her luggage down beside her.
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow, Dr. Saunders.”
Evelyn grinned. “See you tomorrow, Joe.”
She picked up her luggage as Joe drove away. The clinic sign said “Closed” and there was no sign of Dr. Pearson anywhere. It began to drizzle and Evelyn tried the handle. The door was unlocked and she stepped inside.
There was no nurse behind the reception desk. It was quiet. Deserted.
She wandered past the reception desk, looking for someone. Anyone.
“Dr. Pearson?” she called out. She was met with only silence.
She peeked into an exam room and flicked on the light. It was modern and well stocked, which surprised her for such a small community. She wandered through the room, taking it all in. She couldn’t believe that she was back here. Back in Wolf’s Harbor.