Over the years, Ms. Sillow had covertly watched Joshua grow up into the young boy that he was from behind the curtained windows of her cottage. She was watching intently when Mrs. Cople brought her swaddled bundle of joy outside of the house for the very first time. Years later, she watched as little Joshua refused to be carried around in his mother’s arms, since he was able to walk and didn’t want anybody’s assistance getting from point A to point B. She had vivid memories of Joshua occasionally coming over to play with Presley in her front yard. And most recently, she would spot him as he would drop off the items his father had purchased for her at her front door.
Despite never interacting with him, in a weird way, Ms. Sillow felt a strong connection with Joshua. She loved and appreciated him for being a friend to her grandson, and her heart was overwhelmed when she noticed that he had begun placing his own John Hancock at the bottom of the notes that would be slipped beneath her door whenever he would drop off the goods that he and his parents had bought for her. As far as she was concerned, Joshua was the sweetest little boy in all of Yarmouth. And now that she needed him, she was hoping that his father had told him nothing but good things about her; for if she was to succeed at meeting him, she needed for him to be comfortable with the person that she was on the inside - not to judge her based on the way that she looked. Over the course of her career as a forced prostitute, Ms. Sillow had suffered numerous facial injuries, and a number of her teeth had been knocked out of her mouth. She saw the adverse effects her appearance had had on her grandson as well as Mr. Cople. Hell, even she would look at herself in the mirror and break out in tears due to the fact that her appearance was so ghastly. Nevertheless, what had to be done had to be done. Regardless of what Joshua’s first impression of her was going to be, with Presley dead, she had to utilize him. As of late, Ms. Sillow had been thinking a lot about Mr. Cople’s insistence for her to feel free to seek him or his wife out for anything that she needed. Today she was going to take him up on his offer. The day after she had taken Presley’s life, she put on one of her best outfits - an all-black tweed dress complete with a bow sewn at the back that Mr. Cople had purchased for her - and slowly made her way over to the Coples’ residence. But once on her neighbors’ porch, anxiety took her over and she completely froze up. She wanted to carry through with what she had made her way over to the house to do, but her body just wasn’t doing what her mind was instructing it to carry out. However, knowing within her heart that there was no way she would be able to return home without getting what she needed, after a while, Ms. Sillow eventually brought herself to make a few timid taps on the Coples’ front door. When nobody responded to her light knocking, she sheepishly peeped inside the house through a nearby window to see if she would spot anybody inside. Joshua, who had been playing with his toys on the living room floor, spotted her peering inside before she had the chance to spot him. The bloodcurdling scream that he made immediately drew his parents out of their room.
“What’s wrong, Joshua?” his mother frantically asked him as she knelt down and placed her arms around him in an effort to calm him down.
Pointing towards the window, he answered: “There’s a monster out there!”
Troubled by his son’s farfetched response to his mother’s question, Mr. Cople immediately sprinted outside to see what Joshua had actually seen, only to discover poor old Ms. Sillow standing on his front porch a bit shaken up over the matter.
“Mrs. Sillow,” he blurted out with an evident tone of surprise in his voice, “sorry about that.” Mr. Cople had made sure to quickly close the door behind him once he had seen who was on his porch so that his wife wouldn’t hear what was being spoken between the two of them. “My son gets scared pretty easily. Besides, I know you’ve never met him, and he’s never met you; so you should be able to understand why he was a little freaked out. I would have brought him over for you to see him a long time ago, but out of respect for your privacy, I didn’t bother. But anyway, his name is Joshua, and he’s always asking me who lives in your home.
“As a matter of fact, since you’re here, you should come inside and meet both him and my wife.”
Just as Mr. Cople was about to let her inside, Ms. Sillow reached around him and placed her hand over the knob, preventing him from opening up the door. “I’d rather not, Mr. Cople,” she said extremely quietly, as though she didn’t want the two inside of the house to hear her. “I didn’t come over here for a meet and greet.”
“Oh, I see,” her neighbor replied inimically, obviously a bit peeved that she didn’t want to meet his family. “Well, then, what can I do for you?”
“Well, I actually do want to meet your boy - just not your wife. You see, what I am able to achieve physically is extremely limited, and, as I’m sure you remember, my husband isn’t in the best condition physically. Plus, my grandson, the boy that I’m sure you must have seen playing outside in the yard from time to time, has gone back home. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll need to borrow your son on the last day of each month to help me out with certain things that I need done around the house.”
Her request left Mr. Cople stupefied. She had seen how she had almost caused the boy to have a heart attack a few minutes ago, yet she still had the audacity to ask if it would be okay to borrow him at the end of each month. Mr. Cople knew that he had told Ms. Sillow that she could ask him or his wife for anything that she needed, but asking to carry their son over to her place without any of them being present was taking it a bit too far. After the shock of her question had subsided, Mr. Cople replied: “Mrs. Sillow, whatever you need help with, I would gladly come -”
A livid Ms. Sillow raised a finger to his face, cutting him off mid-sentence. “Nonsense,” she said brusquely. “I’ll need the boy.”
“I’m afraid it’s not that simple, Mrs. Sillow. I didn’t make this boy on my own, you know. This is a discussion that I’ll have to take up with his mother to see if she would be okay with this.”
All of a sudden the expression on Ms. Sillow’s face changed. She was the one who was now stupefied. “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but with all the due respect, Mr. Cople, are you a sissy?” she asked brazenly. “Doesn’t a man normally make his own mind up on matters regardless of what a woman thinks? Besides, if I wanted to speak to your wife about this situation, I would have already asked you to give me the opportunity to speak with her. Without this boy’s help, Mr. Cople, I don’t know how I’ll make it. From the very first day that you and I met, you told me that I could come to you and ask you for anything. The boy, I need him. ”
Mr. Cople felt an unbearable amount of guilt overtake him. In hindsight, he never should have been so overly courteous to Ms. Sillow. Now, here he was in what had to be the most uncomfortable predicament of his life. He had basically stuck his own foot in his mouth, and there was no way that he was going to be able to get it out of it, no matter how long he stood on his front porch trying to think of a way he could tell Ms. Sillow no. “Alright, you can have the boy,” Mr. Cople finally conceded after he was unable to come up with an excuse to give to her. “So I guess I’ll just bring him over to your place in the morning time in a few days?”
“No, there’s no need for you to come over to my place anymore. When the last day of the month arrives, just have the boy walk over to my cottage by himself at 5 p.m., and instruct him to make several loud knocks on the door. He should be back home to you and your wife before it gets too late. I truly appreciate your act of kindness towards me, Mr. Cople. Just don’t let me down.”
Mr. Cople was now left with the challenge of breaking the news to his wife. He was just hoping that she would take it well.