44 Cherry Street: Fiction
Mac Buchanan sat in the last pew at Black Mountain Pres looking beatific. He was ostensibly moved by the sermon by the pastor, Mary Katherine Robinson, but he had his mind occupied by other things. Mac had the chiseled features of a Highlander and embraced his Scottish heritage to the max, wearing a clan kilt as often as possible and carrying his credit cards in a clan sporan hung below his waist. He was tall and lean and held his head cocked slightly to the left when he leaned in to listen to the words of a pretty woman. And pretty women were on his mind this Sunday in Black Mountain.
The main thing Mac had going for him was his good looks, and he used these to attract lonely women. His silver hair was always artfully mussed and his perfect chin was covered with a well-tended white beard. He wore clothes in his clan colors, mainly red and yellow, and this particular day he wore a red flannel shirt and had a red bandana poking out of the back pocket of his blue jeans.
He was originally from Birmingham and traced his roots back to a Confederate Major. He liked to brag that he was kicked out of every prep school in the South. He had started and never finished several majors at Auburn and Alabama. He grew up in the Presbyterian church and felt comfortable sitting in one anywhere in the Southeast. It felt like home. It was where he did his fishing. Somehow, whenever he was in need of a comfortable place to live, he could come to a church in whatever town he lived in and often a lonely woman would find him and take him in like a stray kitten.
He had met every one of his previous partners at a Presbyterian Church somewhere in the South. And when that relationship ended, he found a new church and waited for the magic to happen again.
When the sermon ended and parishioners moved towards the lobby for fellowship, Mac greeted a few old friends he knew from other places he had lived. He could feel the eyes of a pretty woman following his progress around the area and he acted as if he hadn’t noticed her, but didn’t try to leave the church until she caught up with him.
Lorraine was a member of St. James Church, but she had decided to attend Black Mountain Pres that day. She was feeling lonely and pitiful ever since Frederick had abandoned her. She knew everyone at St. James and thought that she might meet some new friends at BMP. That morning she had squeezed into a particularly beautiful pale blue Eileen Fisher outfit she had worn to a wedding years befow The beauty of Eileen Fisher clothes was that they were classic and never appeared dated. She applied her make-up with care and allowed her white hair to fall in soft waves against her face.
As she stood up to leave after the service, she felt a strange force tugging at her heart. She felt slightly dizzy as her well-shod feet carried her into the path of a man she did not know.