Bartholomew entered the coffee shop worried and confused. Xavier was out to hurt him, maybe even kill him, and he didn’t understand why. Surely, The Nanny would have some idea how to handle this. She had raised Xavier for many years. It was only a week ago that Claire advised Bartholomew to stop dating The Nanny, but now she was the only friend he had.
The Nanny waved at Bartholomew from a table near the back of the shop. Normally, The Nanny’s smile and beauty put Bartholomew in a good mood, but today she didn’t smile but had an earnest expression. This made Bartholomew even more worried and confused.
“Hi,” said The Nanny.
“Hi,” replied Bartholomew.
“It’s nice to see you,” said The Nanny.
“It’s nice to see you, too,” replied Bartholomew.
“Would you like something to eat?” asked The Nanny.
“Xavier’s trying to kill me,” replied Bartholomew.
“Why don’t you go get a muffin, and when you come back we can talk about it,” suggested The Nanny.
Bartholomew got up from his chair and went to the counter. The barista offered several options of muffins. They all looked tasty to Bartholomew, and being a little confused, he bought five muffins. Bartholomew had a habit, after his parents died, of buying more things than he needed. That’s why he has twelve phones, eight toasters and three televisions. As he walked back to the table with five muffins, four of which he knew he wouldn’t eat, he realized that when he’s confused he has a hard time making decisions. He was so confused and in a daze after his parents died that he couldn’t decide what to buy when offered several options. Thus, he ended up with twelve phones, eight toasters and three televisions. Bartholomew also realized that he hadn’t had this problem since Charlotte and Topping’s New Years Eve party where he made several friends and decided to start a garden.
“By golly,” he thought as he placed the muffins on the table where The Nanny was waiting, what he wanted had come true: he wanted friends who could help him make better decisions. He figured this would happen by discussing decisions with his friends but, in fact, they seldom talked about making decisions. His friends helped him make better decisions simply because he knew they were there. They were an anchor, and their support made him more confident and more able in his own life. And now they were all scattered and mad at each other – all except this beautiful woman sitting across the table from him.
“Bartholomew, I have to leave you,” blurted out The Nanny as soon as he sat down. “I have to leave you, but someone else is coming who will make you happy, even happier than you are now.”
It wouldn’t be hard to make Bartholomew happier than he was at that moment.
“Why?” he asked like a lump.
“Situations are almost where they need to be. You are going to have to make it the rest of the way on your own. I’ve done all I can to prepare you.”
“Prepare me for what?”
“Do you know about Xavier wanting to kill me?” asked Bartholomew.
“Yes, but he won’t. But he will destroy something you love and he will hurt the ones you love the most.”
“How can you possibly know this?” Bartholomew asked raising his voice. “How can you possible expect me to sit here and listen to this when someone wants to kill me? I come to you with my concerns and you pretend you can see into the future, like you’re some seer or something. What I need is for you to help me!”
Without saying a word, The Nanny stood up and walked behind Bartholomew. She wrapped her arms around him and placed her chin on his shoulder. Bartholomew instantly felt a warmth and peace move through his body.
“Bartholomew,” The Nanny said crying, “I love you. Do not falter. Your friends will return, and your true love will return. And… some day, I will return. I am so sorry.” The Nanny squeezed him tight and sobbed into his neck.
“What are you sorry about?”
The Nanny struggled for her voice amidst her sobs, “The next time you see me I will not have a message of hope and love for you. I will be a messenger of death.” The Nanny squeezed Bartholomew even harder, kissed him on the neck and she was gone. Bartholomew looked behind him; The Nanny was nowhere to be seen.
Bartholomew stared at the muffins in front of him. “What the hell is going on?” he muttered. When he left the shop he wandered for hours retracing in his mind the strange events that had brought him to this point in time. The more he walked, the more his stomach began to bother him. He wasn't sure if this was because of the stress he was feeling or if it was from having eaten all five muffins._______________________________________
Written by Mark Granlund
Illustrated by Liz Carlson