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Living Fiction - Chapter 53
Here's where Chapter 52 left you.
Jay looked a little surprised. And a little uncomfortable.
I continued, “When my husband…died…I…”
“Wait, wait a second. Pearl? Your husband is dead? I thought you were divorced. What happened? Don’t tell me he was in the war, too.”
And while you might think I never, actually shut-up, I sat quietly for a few long moments. It’s true. I didn’t even know how I really wanted to answer. It felt odd, talking to another man who was kinda/sorta holding my hand on a park bench about my … ummm… deceased husband.
“You know what, Jay? Let’s talk about him another time, but he wasn’t killed in the war so at least you don’t have to thank me for my sacrifice.”
“Okay, we’ll talk about this next time, then. Pearl. Maybe…gee..well…next time could be dinner? Yeah. Ummm… could I take you to dinner?”
AND NOW, CHAPTER 53 CONTINUES
Dinner? Like a date? Do you think he meant a date? Or just going to dinner?
I thought for a moment and then astounded myself by nodding my acceptance. Jay smiled in return and we settled on a time he would pick me up on Friday night.
Gosh. That felt like a really big deal. Getting picked up at the house on a Friday night, no less. That was probably a date, right? Jay and I sat in quiet contemplation for a few minutes longer and then Princess and Spedgar let us know they were ready to call it a day.
Both exhausted and happy, there was a lot less barking and running on the short journey back home.
Jay and I walked quietly together,side by side, and I was surprised at how comfortable the quiet was. I didn’t feel the need to talk. It felt like we had all the time in the world to finish our conversation of the afternoon. At one point in the walk our hands bumped together and I felt a little jolt…like electricity, but not.
A jolt of awareness perhaps. Or perhaps a jolt of recognition that my life was changing…and I was ready for it to happen.
We dropped off Princess first. Millie’s husband, Myron, answered the door. I raised my eyebrows at Jay and pantomined a sigh of relief. It was an omen. Nothing was going to distract me from concentrating on this feeling of finally being wide awake, although Millie might have stood a good chance.
Spedgar ran all the way across the yard to my house. We laughed and followed and when Jay stopped outside the kitchen door, I thought for a moment he wanted to kiss me. Instead he said, “So…should I take Spedgar with me or just get him Friday night after we ummm…go out to dinner?”
“Which would be easier for you, Jay?”
“Well… if it’s okay with you I’ll leave him here and take him home on Friday. After. After our …ummm…date. Yeah, I came straight to see you…ummm…I mean Spot…Spedgar… from the airport and I don’t have any groceries or dog food in the house.”
“Okay, that’s great then.” The moment stretched out into ackwardness and finally Jay patted Spedgar and headed toward his car. He turned back once and waved. I was a little embarrassed to be caught watching him go, but I waved gaily in return.
Wow, wow, wow.
This whole thing was so weird. I wasn’t really sure what to do with all of my emotions. I kind of felt the need to cry, jump, laugh, clap and cower…all at the same time.
Spedgar, however, was not so confused. He was absolutely, totally and completely certain that he needed fed or he would die of starvation. His jumps and whines proved it. I left my jacket on while I fixed a big bowl of food for him and then I went back outside to sit on the steps.
Darn, darn, darn.
It was a date. Or at least Jay thought it was.
Was this the right thing for me to do?
This would be only the second ‘first date’ of my life. I’d dated my husband since I was a young girl and never gone out with anyone else.
Everything was changing. What in the world was happening?
A date with Jay? Jessie dating Griffin? Going to dinner with a guy who wasn’t my husband?
Did I really want to go on a date? And what would that even mean? I’d seen a lot of the magazines at the checkout counter…did ‘dating’ mean ummm…well… sex? Did people do ‘that’ on the first date? I hope Jay didn’t think I was going to. I wondered if he did. I wondered what I would do if he did. I wondered what I would do when that time eventually came…with or without Jay.
Darn, darn, darn.
This could get complicated.
This could get messy.
When I was married, everything was clear. And for me, the clarity of black and white was so much easier to deal with than the ambiguities of gray that defined my life after my husband had died.
I leaned back a bit and looked up at the star-studded sky. “Give me a sign,” I said to the universe. “Give me a sign that it’s okay for me to move on.”
Sadly no meteorites streaked across the sky. No shooting stars gave me the answer.
But I guess I didn’t really need them to.
I already knew the answer.
All the things I’d been doing and trying to do…blogging, dealing with my son, buying expensive coffee… had been leading up to right now.
Letting go of my grief didn’t mean that I had forgotten my husband.
It didn’t mean I was throwing away my memories.
Letting go of my grief just meant I was ready to start living again.
Today. Right now. In this moment.
“Man the torpedoes, Pearl. Full speed ahead,” I declared into the crisp autumn evening.
That didn’t feel like the right battle cry at all.
I thought for a moment and then stood up. “Darn! Darn, darn, darn! Pearl! No ‘cupcaking’ out girl!”
Yes. That felt better.
I peered across the yard to see Millie’s kitchen lights still on.
I took a deep breath.
If I was going on a date on Friday night I think I needed some wardrobe consultation.
NOT that I was planning to wear anything sparkly, furry, animal printed or neon colored. On second thought, maybe asking Millie for advice wasn’t such a good idea.
I thought again for a moment. “No ‘cupcaking’ out, Pearl. Go knock on that door and ask for help.”
And I did.
(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
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