Dave sat watching TV and sipping a cold beer. He needed to go to the grocery store but had no urgent need to get going. Sadly, at this point in his life, he had no need to be anywhere or do anything. His wife of forty years had left and divorced him soon after. He had no strong reason to to anything.
Dave wasn’t rich, but he was financially comfortable. His house was free and clear. He had a nice pension coming in as well as Social Security. Apparently that was not enough to keep his wife around.
His wife had been threatening to leave for years. Ever since Dave’s body began to show signs of age, she had practically ignored him. Dave was now sixty-three years old and was feeling his age. He had put on a little extra weight around his waist, his hair was thin and graying, and most importantly, he needed more time and attention from his wife to respond to her needs in their bedroom. He could still get it up, but it took some time, interest, and help from is wife which she had not want to provide. Ever since Dave had begun to grow older, his wife had lost interest in him, especially in their bed.
Sitting alone on his couch, Dave was feeling lonely. He just knew no woman would ever want him again. He could feel himself slipping into the depths of depression. Maybe it wasn’t clinical depression, but he certainly was emotionally depressed.
After finishing his beer, Dave said to himself, “Well hell! Feeling sorry for myself isn’t getting any groceries in the house.” He took a quick shower, dressed, hopped in his crew cab pick-up truck, and drove to the store.
It didn’t take long to get what he needed from the store, and Dave was soon returning to his truck with his purchases. He was still ten to fifteen yards away from his truck when he noticed it. A small beat-up foreign car that looked pretty rough was parked in the space next to the left side of his truck. A young lady was sitting behind the wheel of the car. She looked upset. She was sitting as if hiding her face in her hands and leaning on the steering wheel.
A boy who looked to be about three-years-old was standing in the passenger seat and hanging out the passenger side window of the car. He was apparently watching people as they walked by. The boy was just a few feet from the driver’s side of Dave’s truck.
As Dave loaded his groceries into the rear seat of his pick-up, the boy stuck his head out the passenger window and spoke. “Hi Sir.”
Dave smiled at the boy. “Hi yourself young man. How are you today?”
“I’m fine, but Mommy’s not.”
“Jimmy, be quiet! Don’t bother that man.” The young woman barked at the boy without raising her head.
Dave looked at the woman in the car’s driver’s seat. “What’s wrong with Mommy?” Dave asked.
“Our car broke.” The boy replied.
Smiling down at the boy, Dave asked. “Well, why don’t we see what’s wrong with it?
With a smile, Dave then addressed the driver. “Miss, do you have someone coming to assist you?”
She shook her head and softly said, “No.”
Maybe I can be of some assistance? If you’ll allow me to look, maybe I can get lucky and see what’s wrong with your car.”
She then lifted her head from her hands and looked up. She brushed her light brown hair from her face and wiped the tears from her eyes with a tissue. She weakly tried to muster a smile.
Dave could see she’d been crying and felt sorry for her and the boy. “Well, pop the hood latch and let me take a look. I don’t know much about these computerized cars, but I might get lucky and find your problem.”
“Okay, but I think it’s useless. It’s been on its last legs for some time now. When I pulled in here it back-fired a couple of times then died as I rolled into this spot. Now it won’t even turn over. I think it’s probably finished.” She then reached under the dash and released the hood latch.
Dave was certainly no mechanic when it came to the small, sideways mounted engines in foreign cars, but what he saw didn’t take much of a mechanic. After a few minutes he gave the young lady the bad news. “Miss, I’m afraid you may be right about this car. There’s water in the oil and dripping oil is making a puddle on the ground from under the engine. Try to start it.”
She turned the key and Dave could hear the starter try to engage with a clunk. The engine didn’t even attempt to turn over.
“This car isn’t going anywhere soon. Do you have someone who can come to get you?”
She shook her head no.
“Okay, my name is Dave. I assume Jimmy here is your son.”
“Hello. I’m Heather, and Jimmy is my son. Before you ask, his father Ed disappeared before his was born. All he left us was this piece of shit car.”
“Well, I am not about to leave you two stranded in this parking lot. I have plenty of time on my hands. So Heather, can I give you guys a lift home, or anywhere else in town?”
“Thank you, Dave. We would appreciate a ride home. Would you mind waiting just a few minutes while I pick up some milk and bread?”
“I didn’t get anything cold so, of course I can wait. But instead of waiting which has always been boring to me, may I accompany you while you shop. I’m retired and live alone so I’m in no hurry. You can take as long as you need and get whatever you need.”
“That’s very nice of you, Dave. You will be welcome to tag along. I’ll try not to take too long.”
Heather and Jimmy led the way while Dave followed them back into the store. He noticed Heather’s butt right away. It had been a long time since he had been able to watch such a cute girl’s butt sway in her jeans as she walk in front of him. Heather was a slender five foot three or four with long light brown hair that swayed in the breeze as she walked. And she had a round firm looking butt that easily kept his attention.
Of course, it always takes a woman longer to shop than it does a man. Dave noticed that Heather was trying to hurry. In the mean time, Dave and Jimmy were getting to know each other and becoming friends.
Several times Dave added things to Heather’s cart. An extra gallon of milk, another loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, and a box of the cereal Jimmy said he wanted were among the things he added to her cart. Heather objected saying, “Dave, I can’t afford all that extra stuff.”
Dave smiled and told her, “Don’t worry about it. That stuff’s on me.”
In the middle of the dairy section Heather hung her head and tears began trickling down her cheeks. “I don’t have much money. How will I ever be able to repay you?”
Dave worked up his nerve and, in the middle of the dairy isle, took the weeping girl into his arms. Gently hugging her and stroking her hair, he softly said, “Don’t worry about it. I’m not rich, but I’m alone and have more than enough for myself. It would really make me happy if you would allow me to help you and Jimmy a little.”
Heather continued to protest. “But I can’t repay you.”
“You don’t have to insulting. I don’t want you to repay me.”
Heather started to protest, but Dave stopped her.
“I’ll tell you what. Can you cook?” He asked.
She nodded and replied. “Yes, I’m a decent cook.”
“Okay then, if you think you have to repay me, how does this sound? I’m tired to cooking just for myself. So, I’ll buy the groceries and you make me a home cooked meal sometime? Does that sound fair to you?” He asked.
Heather smiled and replied, “Okay! I’ll be happy to cook a meal for you, Dave. As a matter of fact, I don’t have anything going on tonight. Would you like to have dinner with Jimmy and me?”
“Dinner with a delightful young man and his beautiful mother. That sounds delightful. Now, what do we need to pick up for dinner? Never mind. Do you like steak?”
Heather silently nodded.
“How about you, Jimmy? What would you like to eat tonight?”
“HOT DOGS!” The boy shouted gleefully.
“What do you say, Jimmy? What’s the magic word?” Heather corrected her son.
“Hot dogs, please.” Jimmy restated.
After seeing Heather silently nod her consent, Dave told the boy, “Then hot dogs it is for you, Jimmy.”
A short time later, Dave and Heather were loading numerous bags of groceries into his pickup. She then took Jimmy’s booster seat out of her car and strapped it into the rear seat of Dave’s truck.
“Is there anything else you need from your car before we go?” Dave asked.
“Not a thing. That thing is still in the assholes name. I’m just going to leave it here and let the store have it towed. Wait ‘til he gets the bill for that.” The thought of her ex-boyfriend getting a towing bill seemed to cheer her a bit.
A short time later, they were pulling into an apartment complex. Dave knew the apartments were subsidized by the state to help those in need. The exterior of the buildings needed painting and the grass needed cutting. However, the inside of Heather’s unit was neat as a pin. It was clean and orderly.
After helping Heather put her groceries away, Dave left the steaks and hot dogs out to be cooked. Heather then shooed him and Jimmy out of her kitchen so she could fix dinner.
Dave and Jimmy played with the boy’s small cars on the living room floor until Heather called them for dinner. As Heather helped her son wash up for dinner, Dave stole out to his truck and brought in a bottle of inexpensive red wine that he had bought for himself.
.... There is more of this story ...