Byron Forbes October 10th update: One careless comment can break the heart.

Byron was awaiting Madison’s reply. He assumed she would have some witty remark or smooth defensive retort at hand. Something to deflect Byron’s biting comments. Madison was always quite skilled at steering a discussion in her favor. Even Byron, the wily master wordsmith himself had to be at his best to stand with her when she slid into full banter mode.

They had had numerous minor disagreements in the past on a vast array of issues. Every subject from tattoos to smoking. The logical basis for wearing colognes and perfumes. Why physical beauty was so exalted in society while intelligence and personality were secondary by comparison. Tea versus coffee. Madison offered up compelling arguements to support her opinions no matter the issue. Byron could not help but be impressed.

He felt his comments on horror films would spark a lively debate. He enjoyed crossing verbal swords with her. It made for rare and often exciting sport. But surprisingly, Madison did not persist. Instead she made a hasty retreat and after a few equally hasty words, she hung up on him. His jaw dropped as he replaced the receiver on the hook. He never expected that. Granted, his manner of expression had been described by some as abrasive, grating, insufferable, even overbearing, but Madison knew how he was and should accept it. Or should she? If he was intolerant of others why should others be tolerant of he? Touche’.

There was nothing he could do now. He would call and apologize later. In the morning, perhaps. She would be more receptive come the dawn. Right now it was time to change and settle in for the evening. The news was about to start and shortly after those delightful movies. Byron actually took a few steps toward his bedroom, before coming to a stop.  No, that would never do. Madison had obviously been offended. Normally, he did not care if he, as his late lamented father would have so crassly put it, “pissed someone off”. Based on the reactions of some of his harsher critics that is what he did best. But with the exception of his cherished housekeeper, Melissa, Madison was the only person on the planet Byron knew personally that he liked. And in Madison’s case, ‘like’ might not be strong enough word. There was a history between them. A rich, valued history he could not allow to whither like a winter vine because of a glib remark.

Guilt pushed Byron like a gentle unseen wind causing him to gravitate back to the phone. He picked up the receiver even as he turned the sound down on the television just as the news started. He hated missing his favorite show, but setting things right with Madison was far more important. He wanted to give this conversation his undivided attention.

As he dialed her number on his relic of a phone, he turned his back on the television, never noticing one of the lead stories concerned a murder in gated community in Minnesota.


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