DW is 55 Plus & married for 30 years. He once nearly lost his wife in a horseback riding accident. He wondered if he could start over if...
A Few Things for the Home Office
Lunch at Giorgio's
Finding a better bed had been easy. Picking out a dinette set took a little longer. Jack had also picked out a computer desk, a regular desk, an office chair, and a filing cabinet before he finished. The store associate who helped him pick out all the items promised Jack they would be delivered to the house between five and seven that evening. Jack called his mother and told her he’d have to postpone their dinner plans due to the delivery time.
“Then promise you’ll come for Sunday dinner,” Mary had insisted. “You can come over after Mass. You are coming to Mass, aren’t you?”
Jack hadn’t been to Mass since Cheryl’s funeral mass. He hadn’t wanted to sit in the pew without her. But Saint Mary's was a hundred miles away. His folks attended Saint Mark's on Eastwood Road.
If I’m going start going to Mass again, I might as well start tomorrow. Jack told his mother that he’d meet them at the church and then go by the house for dinner. That seemed to get him off the hook for canceling on her for supper.
Lunchtime had come and gone, but Jack was hungry and decided to find someplace to grab a bite. He spotted Giorgio’s Italian Restaurant in the plaza between Ashley Furniture and Walmart and felt a sudden craving for some tortellini. Jack hadn’t eaten at Giorgio’s before, but it was right on his way, and his stomach was growling.
Sundries and Groceries
Jack had never enjoyed shopping at Walmart. Stops there had been more out of necessity. He figured it was necessary to stop there after his lunch at Giorgio’s as there were next-to-no housekeeping supplies in his Aunt Caroline's house.
I suppose I should be glad mom and dad left toilet paper in the master bathroom, he thought as he walked up and down the aisles of the Super Center.
Jack loaded up his cart with paper towels, a broom and dustpan, a couple of plastic trash cans, a box of trash bags, and other such sundries as he’d need around the house. He had quite a large order when he reached the checkout line. When Jack got to his Mustang, he stood looking at the trunk. “I’ll never get all this stuff in there,” he said to the car.
With a resigned sigh, Jack fit what he could into the trunk and loaded the rest into the back seat. He sat in the driver’s seat and complained to the steering wheel, “A carload of stuff and I didn’t even buy any groceries.”
Jack unloaded the supplies he’d picked up at Walmart and left them in a pile on the kitchen floor. I’ll decide where to put them later.
He checked the time on his cell phone and decided he probably had enough time to walk the two blocks up the island to the Island Food Mart to pick up some groceries. The delivery truck from the furniture store pulled up in front of his house just as he got back.
The guys from the furniture store made short work of setting up Jack’s new stuff. Jack didn’t have an envelope to hide the gratuity in so discreetly he tucked a folded twenty into the older man’s hand when he thanked them. After they left, Jack walked through the house to get a feel for how the new furnishings were going to fit in.
In the master bedroom, which had seemed so empty with just the queen-sized bed in it no longer did. The new queen-sized Serta Pillowtop set, complete with light oak bookcase headboard and matching chest of drawers filled the room nicely. Looking at the bare mattress, Jack realized he was going to have to do some more shopping.
The delivery guys had moved the old bed into the larger of the two other bedrooms. The smaller one was where Jack had them set up the computer table and desk. He’d done his best to match the light oak motif he’d chosen for the bedroom.
Jack went into the smallest bedroom and retrieved the bed linen and his pillow. He took the linen and pillowcase out to the laundry room and started a wash with the detergent he bought at Walmart.
Leaving the laundry to run, Jack returned to the living room, picked up his laptop case, slung it over his shoulder, and grabbed the box holding his printer and twenty-one-inch screen. The flat screen was actually from Branden’s old gaming computer, the one that crashed beyond all hope of repair in late spring of his senior year of high school. Since Branden couldn’t take it with him to VMI, he decided not to replace it and gave the screen to Jack to use at home with Jack’s laptop.
Setting up the laptop and other equipment didn’t take long. It wasn’t until Jack went to go online that he realized he had a problem. The house had no phone or cable, so other than the HotSpot on his phone, no WiFi.
Getting On Line
Jack sat at his new computer desk and turned on his laptop. He logged into Facebook to see who was online and saw a green dot by Meagan's picture.
Hey Baby Girl, Are you there?
Meagan took so long to answer that Jack began to think she didn't get the message. While he was trying to decide whether or not to give up a reply arrived.
Hi Daddy. I take it you have Wi-Fi now.
No, Jack typed back. I'm still using my cell phone as a HotSpot.
You're going to run up your cell phone bill doing that, Meagan responded.
Jack nodded at the screen. I suppose you're right, he typed.
Growing tired of typing in what he wanted to say, Jack picked up his phone and pressed the icon to call Meagan's phone.
“Hi, Daddy,” Meagan answered. “I wondered how long it was going to take you to give up on typing and call.”
“Ha, ha,” Jack said. “I figured I probably ought to go online and check my e-mail and stuff. I probably need to check the bank site and check if there are any bills I need to pay. I’m still trying to figure all that out. Your mother used to take care of the finances."
Meagan heard the pain in his voice when her father mentioned her mother. “I know she did, Dad, but you’re getting the hang of it. You managed to get all the bills paid last month.”
“Only because you walked me through it,” Jack said. “I may need you to do that again this month.”
“Just call me,” Meagan said. “I’ll be glad to help. You know that.”
“I had breakfast with your grandparents today,” Jack told Meagan, abruptly changing the subject. “They said to say hi.”
“How are they doing?” Meagan asked. “I haven’t seen them since…since Mom’s funeral.”
Jack sat back in his new office chair as a wave of sadness washed over him. He knew Meagan was feeling it, too. For a long moment, neither spoke. Finally, Jack cleared his throat, and said, “They’re doing well, I guess. About the same as ever. I’m going to their place for Sunday Dinner after Mass tomorrow.”
“That’ll be nice,” Meagan said. “Tell them hello for me.”
“I will,” Jack promised. “I’d better let you go. I hope I didn’t interrupt anything.”
“You can call anytime, Dad,” Meagan assured him. “You know that.”
“I know,” Jack said. “I love you, Baby Girl.”
“I love you, Daddy,” Meagan said.
After saying goodbye, Jack pressed the icon to end the call. The melancholy feeling persisted, and he decided to wait until later to check his email. Not wanting to sit around the house, even at his lovely new kitchen table, Jack left and headed toward the beach.
It was just over a quarter-mile from Jack’s front door to the high tide mark at the beach. The beach was still pretty crowded as it was an early Saturday evening in late June.
Jack felt conspicuous walking along the strand in his sneakers. He finally gave in and took off the shoes and socks. The sand was warm, but not uncomfortably so.
I need to get myself some sandals, or maybe flip-flops. What was that brand the kids liked - Rainbows? I wonder how much a pair of those would be.
When Jack got close to the Buzby Beach Pier, he started to think it was about time to find someplace to eat supper. He’d passed The Crabby Stack a block back but wasn’t really in the mood for crab. The Trident, a seafood restaurant, was across Ocean Street from the pier. Jack decided to see what their specials were.
Click the link below to continue Jack's story with Part 9.
- Starting Over at 55 Part 9: A Night Alone, Breakfast for One
The second night on the island the loneliness is more poignant as the advantage of fatigue isn't there to help deaden Jack's mind and help him find sleep.
© 2015 DW Davis
Missy Smith from Florida on July 02, 2015:
This was so fun to read. I love details and you made sure details were there. I mean you walked us through your day as if I was right there with you. It was funny, because I could definitely relate to a lot of things. Like, going to Wal-Mart and walking out with no groceries, but still have bags of stuff. Then, leaving them on the floor to deal with later.
The nostalgic parts were nice too. Especially the one were you talk about Branden's old gaming computer that had crashed his senior year. I love to see the interaction with your children. I could feel the bond with Meagan as well.
Very nice! I'll be back!
DW Davis (author) from Eastern NC on June 30, 2015:
End of school year paperwork and then vacation have kept me away. Now it's summer and I should be able to post more often. Thanks for being a loyal reader.
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on June 30, 2015:
Been a long time. Glad to have a new installment.