She opened the front door expecting to see a familiar face. It was a small town and anyone arriving at that time of night would have to be a neighbor or a friend from Wickford. Maybe it was someone from the neighboring town of Yarmouth. She was surprised, then, when she slid back the bolt and pulled the door open, to see a man standing there she didn’t recognize, a short but stocky man with several day’s growth of graying stubble on his cheeks, his hands clenched in his pockets, shoulders hunched from the cold, looking up at her, saying nothing. Deanna could see that it was snowing. Tiny flakes landing on the man’s face and eyelids made him blink and knit his brow. If she’d had to guess, Deanna would have said the man was sixty years old. She looked and saw no car in the driveway. He’d be tired and worn out from the walk most likely. On his face Deanna saw a look that could only be described as a distant but palpable sadness. He seemed to be peering out at her from somewhere deep inside himself, a hidden, lost individual, she’d tell her mother, Susan, later that same night, when she’d had time to think about what it was that struck her as so odd about the man. The stranger wore a wool Navy watch cap and a tattered green parka. In his hand was a gray canvas duffel bag like a sailor might carry. Snow falling around him glistened in the lamplight sending its sparkle downward. The man stood quietly, squinting into the snowflakes. The yellow light from inside illuminated his face. He tried to smile, but seemed incapable of it, as though it had been such a long time since he had last smiled, he didn’t remember how. Perhaps it was the cold, she thought; maybe it was something else.
She asked him what he wanted, thinking his car might have broken down, that he needed help. Maybe he was lost and wanted directions or would ask to use the phone.
“Martin Wilson live here?” the man said, finally.
“Yes,” Martin said, coming up behind his daughter, surprised. “Yes?” That he knew her father’s name was puzzling, at first, but then reassuring.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“I’m Glenn,” he said and waited. “Glenn Difeo?” He paused and waited and then said, “You don’t remember me, I guess.”