On his front porch, Martin reached to open the front door of his house but stopped. Instead of turning the doorknob, Martin knocked.
The porch light flashed on. The door opened only an inch or two. Susan stood hidden behind the door but leaned around to look out through the narrow crack.
“You’ve come back,” Susan said.
“Yes,” Martin said.
Susan looked down. “I don’t see your sweater in your hands.”
“No,” Martin said. “But I know where it is. I expect to have my hands on it any moment now.”
“Really?” Susan asked. “Where do you think it is?”
Martin raised an index finger as if to point, then touched his finger against the door. He gently pushed open the door.
Susan took a step back and let the door swing open. She stood in front of Martin wearing his sweater and nothing else. In the porch light, the sweater was bright green. The little rocket ship was bright red over her left breast.
“I knew you would figure it out,” Susan said.
“If you knew I would figure it out,” Martin said, “why did you do it?”
“Well, it’s one thing to know something,” Susan said. “But nothing compares to actually getting your hands dirty finding out. Sometimes you just never now about things.”
“Yes, I’ve heard that,” Martin said. “Of course, I think you’re just a trouble maker.”
Susan shrugged. “Hey, I’m not the kind of girl to sit around knitting a sweater while her man stumbles home from Troy. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to have my sweater fun.”
“Girls just want to have fun,” Martin said.
“How did you figure it out?” Susan asked.
“I should have known from the beginning,” Martin said. “You throwing the sweater just at the moment I turned on the light. You holding the sweater just so, so that I could see the sweater and the little insignia clearly.”
Susan giggled. “I actually posed there for a moment, waiting for you to come out and look.”
“It was the raccoons that tipped me off,” Martin said.
“The raccoons squealed?” Susan asked.
“Oh, no,” Martin said. “I didn’t talk to them. But when I learned they hadn’t run away from the house but had run back toward the house I wondered why they’d risked me seeing them. But they knew you’d be keeping me busy on the porch, right?”
Susan grinned, said nothing.
“And when I learned the cover was off one of our trash cans, I wondered if it was just coincidence. Or something else. What, did you do a deal with the raccoons, they hand off the sweater to you and you let them at the garbage?”
“Quid pro quo,” Susan said.
“Quid pro quo, indeed,” Martin said. “Sailor’s home from the sea.”
Susan held out her arms. “Welcome home.”
Martin embraced her. He felt her body warm under the thin fabric of his sweater.