I'm pretty satisfied with my life and how I live. 35 years old, divorced, comfortably off and with no real responsibilities or worries and a job that I enjoy and get a sense of accomplishment from. Some years ago I went into partnership with a couple of friends and we operated a small but highly technical 'Machine Tools and Precise Fittings' workshop employing a small but highly qualified staff who are paid them well and rewarded for extra productivity and loyalty. I no longer work directly at the 'factory' as two of the original three of us now travel and sell our products leaving the general running of our plant to the third member.
My route takes me in a large loop to the south visiting a large number of clients and keeping them up-to-date with our products and taking orders from them. We specialise in precision manufacturing to our clients needs and I needed to be able to talk technically with them requiring me to keep up with current trends. My 'loop' takes me away from home base for approximately six weeks per trip and it is a good thing that I am no longer married as these long breaks would put considerable strain on any relationship. The two week break (less a couple of days in the office) that I take when I get back each time gives me a lot of time to work on the small country cottage that I am renovating and I seem to have a relatively stress free life-style.
Reasonably good looking, a good build, easy to get on with and good company is how everyone describes me and wonders at my continued single status. My 18 month spell of 'Wedded-Bliss' was more than enough to convince me that bachelorhood was for me and as I have no trouble connecting with women when I need to I have never really felt any inclination to change my way of life.
I have just returned from my latest trip and have just finished cleaning out my vehicle and tomorrow will go to the office and catch up on all the latest. After a number of years we have finally hit on what we think are the perfect vehicles for us and we each have a large automatic van with plenty of room for our personal gear and the samples and products of our firm. In the rear of the van down one side is a small comfortable cot that can be used as a seat or a small bed and opposite is a chest of drawers and a small wardrobe above them. We found that it was almost impossible to live out of suitcases for such a long period and it is far better to keep all our clothes in the vehicle and just take what is necessary into motels.
There is also a small fridge and cooker for coffee and snacks and a table/desk beside the drawers and the rest of the van is taken up with racks for products. Good air-conditioning and a top quality stereo system make for a very practical and comfortable work vehicle. Since I spend so little time not in my work van and it is available all the time I have not bothered to purchase a private car but own a large motorcycle instead.
The day after tomorrow I am going to ride it over to see my mother who lives about 120 miles away. Dad and her had both worked extremely hard all their lives and we had not really got 'close' and I think the same applied to my sister who migrated overseas some years ago. Dad and Mom had started a small nursery early in the married life and they both worked extremely hard in the first few years to make it successful. Sis and I spent most of our childhood at the nursery 'keeping out of mischief and out of the way" and all too soon we were grown and drifting apart. My parents eventually finished up with two nurseries and about a year and a half ago they sold out and shifted towns to a 'Retirement Cottage' with the idea of taking up golf and holidaying extensively. Dad lasted just over a year before his health failed and he passed away about 4 months ago, leaving Mom on her own in a town where she knew virtually no one.
I had kept in touch with here by phoning regularly and I had noticed that she was sounding more and more depressed as time passed, it seemed as if loneliness was getting her down and as she had spent almost all her life with Dad, not bothering to make outside friends I figured that she didn't know how these days.
When I walked in to her small home Mom looked absolutely enraptured to see me and, she rushed over, wrapped her arms round me and hugged me long and tightly.
"I'm ever so pleased to see you. I've really missed you and it's so good to have you here." She pulled back a bit and looked up at me. "How long can you stay?"
I had really intended returning home that evening but in view of her obvious pleasure to have my company I quickly revised my plans.
"I can stay a couple of nights. Do you think you can stand my company for that long?"
"I'd love you to stay for as long as possible but I suppose that a couple of days is better than nothing. You're a grown man with your own life to lead. Bring your things into your bedroom and then we can settle down and have a long chat."
After settling down with coffee Mom eventually revealed to me how unhappy she had become in her new life without Dad. I found it difficult to understand her problem, as she was still a very personable woman. At 54 years old she still had a good figure, she was quite attractive and her hair was still the colour it had been when she was a lot younger, grey tinges not making any appearance at all. Unfortunately the loneliness stress that she was feeling was making her a bit haggard looking and she was in danger of quickly losing he sex appeal. Mom married when she was young and she was 7 years younger than her husband - I don't think that she had ever had a serious relationship other than with Dad and this insular existence was not helping her now.
We enjoyed each others company for the rest of the day and after a fine meal which Mom took great pleasure in cooking me I retired for an early night. Next day after breakfast I convinced Mom to put on jeans and a jacket and to come for a trip on my bike. Initially she was quite frightened but she soon relaxed and, cuddling into my back, she began to just "Go with it". We stopped for lunch at a country bar/diner and Mom looked a different woman already, the wind had brought colour and life back to her face and she was relaxed and obviously loving every moment of this new experience.
That night we elected to just have some light snacks with a bottle of wine in front of the fire and we again chatted easily and were very comfortable in each others company. After some thought I finally made up my mind and asked her,
"Why don't you close up here and come and stay with me for a while. You could come on my next trip with me and it shouldn't cost a lot. The only problem would be that we would sometimes have to share a motel room. I can cover an extra person but not a separate unit when I have to stay in small single bedroom units."
Mom sat in silence for a while and seemed to think deeply before she replied,
"It's lovely of you to ask but I couldn't do that to you. There's no way that you could seriously want to drag your aged Mother with you and I would only cramp your style with your friends. I really do appreciate your asking though and I know what it must have cost you to invite me."
"No, Mom. I thought very seriously before I asked you. I can see advantages for both of us - I get a bit lonely when I'm away for so long and moving round all the time has not helped me to make friends. I think we could be good company for each other. I wish you'd give it a try - neither of us has anything to lose." I looked deep into Mm's eyes as I said this trying to convince her of my sincerity. "Why don't you think about it overnight and let me know in the morning what you decide.'
Next morning after breakfast Mom sat with me at the table and we discussed the ramifications of her coming with me. She pointed out that it would be a major change in my lifestyle and that it would be necessary for each of us to consider the other needs and viewpoint which would be not too difficult for her as she had been with Dad for so many years but might prove very hard and frustrating for me, a bachelor of long standing.
"I really think it would be good for me, Mom. I know I've become very selfish, having never really ever considered any-one else's side of things before." I was actually quite earnest about this, as I knew I really was a self-centred prick. "I really wish that you would decide to come with me. It would be beneficial to both of us."
I think Mom could see that I was genuine in my invitation and she eventually agreed,
"OK. I am not sure it is the right thing, but I guess we'll never know unless we try. One thing, I am not going to be a complete load to you and while I'm quite happy to let your company pay for my share of the accommodation I insist that we take turns in paying for our food and drinks. Thank you very much and I'm starting to look forward to our trip. It will be like an adventure to me. Dad and I really didn't get about much." Mom leant over and gave me a quick peck on the lips and then we talked about arrangements.
It was decided that I should return home and Mom would follow in her car in a couple or three days after having closed down her home and packed sufficient clothes for an extended stay.
.... There is more of this story ...