Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ladies Man--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Saturday, January 5

     I went to a friend’s funeral. Sam was a former World War II Royal Air Force fighter pilot, a randy old man with a sparkly soul whom I met in recovery. He wore a permanent smile. He cast wisdom about like Tootsie Rolls. He kissed me every time he saw me and when he wasn’t looking, I wiped his wet kisses off. He was an old ladies man who died at eighty-nine. On my way home, I called Mary Kate.
     “Sean spent the night on the couch,” she said. “He’s being cold and distant and won’t talk to me. He said he can’t talk to me without our couples therapist and our appointment isn’t until the middle of the week. He left to go see his therapist this morning and said he was going to help that friend again. Brenda, I don’t know what to do. I love him and he won’t talk to me. I saw him through drug addiction. I’ve been there every time he cried. He used to tell me everything. Now I don’t know what to do. He’s shutting me out.”
     “However this goes, you’ll be okay Mary Kate. Okay?”
     I drove down my street and saw JB cramming garbage bags into his trunk. He turned, saw me, quivered, looked down at the ground, and slumped into the enclosed front porch to retrieve more bags. I turned down the alley and parked alongside the house. I walked around to the front. The boys were helping JB.
     “Hey,” JB called out trying to be cheery.
     I ignored him. “Hey Buddy,” I called out to Tom and hugged him and kissed the top of his head. “Are you ready to help Dad unload his things?”
     “Yeah,” Tom said and nodded. JB stood behind Tom. Tom shifted nervously. He glanced back at his father then at me. I hugged Tom again.
     “How was the funeral?” Blake asked, stuffing a bag into JB’s car.
     “Pretty emotional. A nice tribute.”
     “Who died?” JB asked.
     “No one you know,” I answered. I turned and went into the house.
     “Someone from meetings mom goes to,” I heard Blake say.
     JB and Tom drove away and Blake entered the house.
     “Well, that was awkward,” Blake said.
     I shrugged. “Let’s take down the Christmas tree.”
     “I have to shower for work. I’ll help you when I’m done.”
     “Want to go out for lunch, sushi?”
     “Sounds good,” he said.
     I stripped the Christmas tree of ornaments and lights. Blake threw it on the curb for garbage collection. I got back from having lunch and began sweeping up pine needles. Tom walked in.
     “Did you help Dad move his stuff into Uncle Troy’s’?”
     “Then what?”
     “We went to Ikea to look for furniture. Dad’s going to rent a two-bedroom house. He said he’ll get Blake and me bunk beds.”
     I started laughing. “Blake will love that. Did you have lunch at Ikea?”
     Tom nodded.
     “Swedish meatballs?”
     “Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes. And I had frozen yogurt for dessert but it tasted like vanilla ice cream.”
     “Mikey and his parents are coming to get you in a couple of hours for his birthday party. They’re taking you to the Japanese steak house you like. Lets get your sleeping bag and your bag packed.”
     I ate dinner after Tom left and called Patty. She’d just come home from what she said was a “horrible Christmas” with her mom and sister.
     “The universe is conspiring against me,” Patty groaned. “I just got home from that awful trip, put my sweats on, got ready to relax and watch a movie, then my power went out. I got really upset. I called Kirsten and she said, ‘You’re getting in your car and we’re going to see a movie.’ I’m driving to Northbrook Court right now. We’re going to see ‘Promised Land.’ Want to come?”
     “I’ll see you there.”


  1. I think it's crazy how life kind of works out. One moment you're going through a really poignant moment remembering that ladies man (because we all know some old ladies man with a cheeky smile and plenty of wisdom), and the next you're having to deal with the everyday family stuff because as always life has to go on.

    Dennis Barton @ Chand's Disposal

    1. Yeah, life is crazy. It's an interesting ride for sure. Some moments more interesting than others. Haha.