Hi guys, this one's a bit different and a bit late. It's different because it's the first Thanksgiving story I've ever done where turkey survived. It's also shorter and of course because it's late. I didn't actually start this story until Thanksgiving day. Anyway here it is SS06
It was a typical Sunday morning and I was right on schedule. A typical Fall Sunday morning was as close to heaven as I could get. My schedule was pretty much chiseled in stone. I got up and went out for a run to start with.
The runs in the fall are completely different. For one thing the air, though colder, is crisper and fresher. The fall scenery in Michigan is outstanding. All sorts of trees have their leaves spontaneously combust into a plethora of shades and colors that are dizzying in intensity and unrivaled in their beauty.
Tourists come from all over the country to take in the fall colors and see the beauty of those leaves. And I got to ignore it and stomp over all of those leaves for free.
Maybe after seeing it for over fifty years, I had become immune to the beauty of it all. Or maybe I was just a pissed off, lonely old man who was too locked up in himself to enjoy it.
At any rate, the fall runs were a time to think. With no races to train for, I could just run easily and let my mood, my thoughts and the music on my iPod dictate the pace.
After the run, I went home to a hearty breakfast and several chores around the house. Usually those chores included checking on my Mustang that was snugly ensconced in her heated Garage under a car cover. God, I loved that car.
Anyway, following that, I spent the day with football and NASCAR on my 72" flatscreen.
I was done with my shower and my breakfast. I was just settling in for the checking on the car part of the morning when it happened. Someone knocked on my door.
My first thought was to ignore it, hoping they would go away.
But the knocking only increased in intensity. Then it got worse.
"Gary, I know you're in there," she said. Her voice was familiar, but I couldn't put a name with it. She obviously knew me though, since she'd used my name.
I sighed heavily, hoping that I could get rid of her quickly and get back to my relaxing Sunday.
I opened the door to find one of the people in the world that I least expected to see standing on my porch.
"What?" I asked angrily.
"Oh My," she said. "You look far better than I expected. You've toned up. And shorter hair suits you." She walked past me and into my living room without being invited.
As she passed by me, I couldn't help but notice how good she smelled. She walked over to my sofa and took off her coat. She placed it on the sofa next to her. She was a very feminine woman. Some would call her the girly girl type.
Her waves of thick red hair were mixed in with a few waves of gray here and there, that she had decided not to color. The look made me think of fire and ice. Her hair was much like her personality. She'd always been a very fiery and emotional woman. But if you pissed her off or threatened someone she cared about, her warmth disappeared.
The last time I'd seen her, she hadn't even had so much as a smile for me. That was despite the fact that her husband had been my lifetime best friend.
This time she wore a thick woolen sweater over some sort of T-shirt. I was sure that there was an industrial strength bra under there, restraining her large breasts. She wore only yoga pants and tennis shoes on her lower limbs. She looked as if she had just come from some sort of exercise class and had just thrown her warm coat over her workout gear.
The look was very becoming on her. As she stood and looked around my living room, I noticed her body. The short but well formed legs tapered upwards to wide hips and an absolutely incredible ass.
Her tummy was just a bit thick, but for a woman of her age, who'd already borne a child, it was expected. It wasn't like she had rolls of fat or a beer belly. She was just no longer in that fitness model class.
She turned suddenly and caught me staring at her. I truly believe trying to see if I stared at her body was the primary reason for her looking at the pictures scattered around my living room.
"No family pictures?" she threw out.
"No family," I returned angrily. Her face went through a host of emotions as she watched me.
"Gary you have two..." she began.
"No, I don't," I spat. "She got them in the divorce."
"Bullshit!" she said. The profanity seemed strange coming from her beautiful lips. Her slight southern accent lengthened each syllable.
"She cried to them, the same way she cried to me. No one knew there was a problem until afterwards. And by then your kids had no idea how to handle the situation. You had made your position pretty clear from the beginning. They were either on her side or yours. And you refusing to accept phone calls and sending back all of their letters and even Christmas cards, unopened, pretty much made it clear that you weren't going to change your mind," she said. "They miss you a lot."
"They've still got her," I said.
"What do you expect them to do?" she asked. "It's not like they can just throw her out in the cold. And you probably don't know this and probably care even less, that she has a lot of health problems, right now."
"And?" I said, looking straight at her.
"Gary, the two of you were together for more than twenty years," she said. "Is there no hope that you can at least try to be civil to her?"
"None at all," I spat.
"Oh well," she said. "It looks like I'm about to lose a friend."
"You lost me as a friend a long time ago," I said. "When you took her side in our divorce, you gave me your ice queen routine pretty thoroughly. Even after I..."
"Even after you single handedly helped me through John's death," she finished for me. She wiped her eyes. The fact that she could still summon a tear for him six years after his death re-confirmed my attraction to her. It was clear that when she loved someone, she did it with her whole heart. If only I had been blessed to have married someone like her.
"What did you expect?" she asked. "She was my best friend. And Gary, she was in pain. She was so distraught. Anyone who looked at her ... Anyone who heard her wailing like some sort of pitiful tortured beast could have felt her pain. She cried as if her heart had been torn still beating from her chest. All I wanted was to help my best friend through that pain." She looked at me and shook her head.
"And you... " she said. "So strong, even then. You never shed a single God Damned tear. It looked for all the world as if you just didn't care. You weren't the one who seemed to need help. You went on about your business like none of it mattered."
She turned and looked at my face. Her eyes bore into mine as if she was trying to glimpse the soul inside of the body.
"It was just like now," she said. "You sit there like some huge cat. You're weighing all of your options and trying to figure out what the hell I want. And once you've determined my motives you'll shut me down and go about your business as if I had never been here."
"So why not save me the trouble and just get to the point?" I said.
"The point is I want what you've never given anyone," she said. "And then I'll ask for what I came here for." I looked across the room at her.
"What is it that I've never given anyone?" I asked.
"The real reason why you threw Charity away after twenty years of marriage. I want know why you suddenly decided that you no longer loved the mother of your children and preferred to live alone. I have my suspicions, but I need to know your side," she said.
"Why?" I asked. "After all of this time, why does it matter?"
"Because, John loved you, Gary," she said. "And I did too. And what you did just wasn't like you. And for all of this time Charity has allowed everyone to believe that what happened between the two of you wasn't anything she did. But the way she's been acting makes me think that maybe she hasn't told us all the truth."
I laughed and she looked at me across the floor. The expression on her face was unreadable.
"It's been three years," I said. "Why do you suddenly want to hear my side?"
Perhaps my voice gave away some of the anger I felt. Perhaps she was simply more perceptive than I gave her credit for. But the look on her face now told me that she really wanted to know. I think that maybe she was beginning to see the truth.
"She's never given up the hope that the two of you would get back together," she said. "But every time she goes into one of those jaunts of depression that have been plaguing her, she changes the reason why you guys broke up. At first she wanted all of us to believe that you had done something. She always claimed that it was too painful to talk about. Then later she chalked it up as just the two of you growing apart. But whenever she'd talk about you, it was about how much she missed you. Last week I asked her if she wanted to sign up to work Thanksgiving at the homeless shelter. We used to do that all the time. Charity never worked there on the holiday, because she was always busy with you and the kids. But since I'm alone, I was available."
This time her voice broke slightly as she talked about being alone. I knew that the only reason she was alone was that she hadn't decided that she needed anyone in her life more than she needed her memories.
.... There is more of this story ...