The group returned to the Carroll farm. Mary thought that Edwin seemed apprehensive; that he was hiding his feelings behind a forced smile. She was surprised, however, at Tina’s cheerful disposition. After they were all in the house, Mary excused herself to change clothes and Tina went into the kitchen to make some coffee.
“Tina said that you spent a lot of time with my grand-uncle Henry,” said Sean, “Let’s go out to his workshop, you could tell me about working with him when you were young.”
Edwin brightened at the suggestion of leaving the house. “Ya, that's a good idea.”
“We'll be out in the workshop!” Sean yelled to Tina.
Henry’s workshop was an addition, just a shed that had been tacked onto the far end of the barn. Everything was covered in dust—even some of Henry’s old work clothes were still hanging on the wall.
“It’s just junk now… ” said Edwin, as he looked around the room, “… nobody wants rusty old tools. Decorators used to buy this kind of stuff—in the seventies and eighties. I sold a lot of it to people from Chicago, but not so much anymore. Young people don’t want to look at old things.” He picked up a large clamp with wooden jaws. The worm gear was a mass of rust and the wood had turned gray and split. “If this was in decent shape it might fetch forty dollars, or it might not. I’ve had a couple of nice ones in my store for years: no takers.”
“Henry was Emily’s brother. Did they get along?” said Sean.
“Oh, Henry would get mad at her sometimes, mad at the way Emily would come home and then leave again. But he didn’t stay mad. He could never understand what Emily was going through but he did say that she got her wildness from their mother. Her mother was from gypsy stock, from what I've heard. His father had met her in New York, in the eighteen-nineties. Brought her, and her mother, Emily’s grandmother, out here, out to Iowa. Henry told me that he took after his father while Emily was a lot like her mother.”
“What do you think happened to Emily?”
“I… ” Edwin stopped talking and shook his head.
“There you two are,” said Mary, who had just walked into the barn, “I hope I’m not interrupting.”
“We were talking about Emily,” said Sean, as he put his hand into his pocket and slipped the wedding ring on his finger, “I asked him what had happened to Emily but he doesn’t want to talk about it,” thought Sean.
“Let me talk to him, alone,” thought Mary, “and let me have your ring,” she thought, taking it from his finger.
“I’ll see how Tina's doing with the coffee,” Sean said, and turned to go.
Mary could see that Edwin was agitated: “I’m sorry, it was my idea to ask you about Emily. Sean didn’t mean to upset you.”
“No, it’s OK, I’m alright,” said Edwin, “I will tell you what I saw, what I saw through Emily's foresight.”
“With the rings?” asked Mary, “You used the rings with Emily?”
“Yes. We used them. She wanted to let me know what she could see—so that her secrets wouldn’t be lost. That’s why, when you came into the shop for the first time, I gave you the book. I had seen you before, you see, in Emily's visions. She gave me the rings and the book because she already knew that she might not come back. She had seen her own future.”
“Edwin, would you put this ring on?” said Mary, handing him Sean’s band. “I want to know everything, I think it might be easier this way.”
“No. I’m too old. It takes a lot out of a person, it could kill me. I won’t do it again,” Edwin said, “It’s yours to use with Sean. It’s good, now that you’re married. It will bind you together, but be careful i the ways you use them.”
“Did you ever go too far when you used the ring with Emily?”
“Once, when we were making love. That was going too far,” he said, “It spoiled me, it spoiled my relations with women, that is. How could I date the silly girls around here when I had been to paradise?”
Edwin’s candor took Mary by surprise. There was an awkward pause until Mary spoke:
“Thank you for talking about this, Edwin. I appreciate it. I’m just trying to understand. Let’s go inside, the coffee is ready.”
The foursome sat around the kitchen table drinking coffee. Edwin had calmed down and was even exchanging words with Tina, asking her about her moving sale, and how she’d take to living in the assisted living facility.
“I’m sick of living alone,” said Tina, “I could use some assisting.”
“I’ve thought about giving up the shop, too,” said Edwin, “I should sell the building and dump all the junk I’ve collected.”
“I would bet that a dealer would be glad to take your stock,” said Sean, “Your stock is a lot better than the usual stuff you see in antique stores.”
“That may well be,” said Edwin, “I could really use a change in scenery as well.”
“Edwin, you don’t have to be a stranger, you know,” said Tina, “We could get together for coffee, sometimes.”
“Sean, will you come upstairs, I want some help in packing,” said Mary, as she gave him a little kick under the table.
“Tina, Edwin, would you excuse us?” said Sean. “We’ll be back down in a little while and can take you back into town when we leave.”
“Take your time, children,” said Tina, “Take your time.”