The next morning, Gerri finds her
brother sitting at the breakfast table in his usual spot at the usual
"What's new?" Frank asks,
spreading a thin layer of butter across his toast, brown and crisp.
The knife makes a satisfactory scratching sound. Frank's dogs gather
at his feet in response, sniffing the air.
"Quit my job." Gerri pulls
out a chair and flops into it, her eyes gleaming.
Frank lifts his eyebrows at this. "I
hope you're joking."
"Nope." She grins and breaks
off a piece from Frank's toast. It makes a loud crunching between her
teeth not unlike the grinding of her teeth when her boss was being
"I always eat two slices of toast
in the morning, Gerri."
She shrugs. "So?"
"So you just took some. Now I
won't get the full two slices."
She makes a face. "So toast some
"No." He sighs and shoves his
plate away. "I'm really surprised at you, Gerri."
"It was a stinking piece of toast,
He glances at the clock hanging over
the kitchen sink. Seven o'four. "Although I shouldn't be: Newly
divorced. Kids out of the nest. You're searching for something."
"Already found it." Gerri
whips a map of the United States from her back pocket and slaps it on
the table. "I'm going for a walk."
"You don't need to quit your job
to take a walk."
"You do if it's a three thousand
"Three thousand miles."
She grins and unfolds the map. Pink
highlighter runs from one coast to the other."Boston to Los
Frank rubs his forehead. This day is
not going according to plan.
"You've got a crumb," Gerri
points. "Just there on your forehead."
"Why are you doing this?"
He studies her for a moment.
"You can't think of a reason."
Her voice is singsong. A daring.
"Your safety," he says. "Your
health. How will you eat? Where will you sleep?"
"I'm selling everything." She
folds the map and stands. "I'll take my time; meet as many
people as I can." She grins, puts out her hand. "Come with
For a moment, he is tempted. "No."
He shakes his head.
"I'll miss my toast. I'll miss my
dogs. Besides..." He meets her eye. "You'll never do it.
It's just not possible."
She sighs. "Thank you Frank. I
needed to hear that."
He nods, the ever-faithful elder
brother. He is glad to see his sister has come to her senses. "You're
Frank accompanies her to the door. "See
you next week, then?"
"Why not?" Frank glances at
her. "Oh, don't be angry, Gerri."
"I'm not angry. I'll be away."
"Where you going?"
"I told you. I'm going walking."
"But I just said...You..."
"Impossible is not a definite,
Frank. It's a dare." She grins. "See you in California? Six
months or so?"
Frank watches his sister skip down the
stairs before returning to the kitchen to put on another slice of
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