A Chapter by C. William

Next time you stop in for a burger, you can stare straight ahead, keep to yourself, just you and your fries, or you can strike up a conversation with the table next to you. They might ignore you, they might give you one word answers, or you could get the life lessons of…


Everyone knew a kid like Jerry, and everyone had one in their class. In fact, you might have even been the “Jerry”. You know the one, the kid that daydreams all day, or doodles in the margins of their notebooks, not paying a bit of attention to what is going on in class. Yet, when the teacher passes back the tests, there is always a bright red “A” at the top.
Things just seemed to be natural for Jerry. He never had to really study, seeming to absorb information, retaining just enough to do well on his tests. In middle school, Jerry his his growth spurt early, so again, he just slid into the role of quarterback for his Junior High football team, being one of the three captains, by high school.
It wasn’t that anyone really resented Jerry, that was also part of his charm…he was naturally charming. Jerry got along with everyone. He was smart enough to be able to hold conversations with the scholarly students, athletic enough to get along with the sport kids, and common enough to rub elbows with the rest. Jerry was never alone, anywhere he went, and anytime he needed a date for a school function or dance, there was always a willing companion.
When Jerry graduated high school, sixth in his class, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone, that he had his choice of colleges to attend. The only difference Jerry saw, between coasting through college, like he did high school, was that the tests handed back to him, had a big red “B” at the top of the paper, instead of the old “A”. It didn’t take him much thought, to figure that he would get along just as fine with that “B”.
It was at a frat party, his Junior year, that Jerry met Sandy. There was something about Sandy, that immediately had him hooked. It could have been her shimmering blond hair and piercing blue eyes. It could have been her lithe body, that she had developed over the many years through dance practice and recitals. More than likely, it was the fact that she all but ignored him, during that first encounter. Here was something that Jerry wasn’t going to be able to get by coasting along. He was finally going to have to work for it.
Luckily, Jerry was able to discover this mysterious angel’s information, through a mutual friend, and after many phone calls, a couple flower deliveries, and even a little begging, was able to coax Sandy into giving him the chance of a first date. Sandy was most assuredly, the best thing to happen to Jerry in a long time. She never let him coast by, on their relationship. She made him take her places, even if it was free locations, like the library or museums, rent movies and pop popcorn, in the dorm kitchen, for date nights, or just take walks through the tree lined paths, of campus. It was no big surprise, that by the time their It was no big surprise, that by the time their senior commencement came about, Sandy was wearing a small, yet sparkling, engagement ring.
Shortly after graduating, Jerry landed an entry-level position, at the large accounting firm, in town. This position didn’t pay a lot, but it allowed Jerry to carry his new bride across the threshold of their first apartment together.
Life continued to prove easy, for Jerry, using his natural charisma, to gain notice, and slowly move up through the ranks. With each promotion, came an improvement in the life that he was able to provide for Sandy. After a couple years, and several bumps in pay, Jerry was able to move her out of their apartment, and into a small house, that they could call their own.
With each move, Jerry embraced his new role, and made sure that his life matched the part. When he took over, as head of his department, he took up golf, to spend the mornings out with the executives, and he picked up matching Cadillac’s for Sandy and himself, so he could arrive in style. When he relocated to the corner office, on the top floor of the building, his family relocated as well. This time, to a much larger house, sitting right next to the golf course. Meanwhile, Sandy has traded in her ballet slippers, for diapers and midnight feedings. The only regret she experienced, was that neither of them had the time to make Jerry work for the relationship, the way he used to. Sandy missed the time, that she used to spend with her husband. He was always too busy now, between the time he spent on the golf course, the office, or his business trips, that his new position demanded, traveling with his entourage from the office.
It was following one of these ill-fated trips, that everything was about to come crumbling down. Sandy sat there, staring at Jerry, with those piercing blue eyes, as he tried to explain to her what had happened. How great the trip had started. How they had signed a great deal with a new client. How the team had gone out to dinner, to celebrate, and drinks afterwards. How he had woken up the next morning, next to his secretary, instantly remembering, and regretting, how the evening had ended. Sandy watched Jerry, with those same blue eyes, now clouded with tears, as he packed his things, after asking him to leave.
When he picks up his kids for the weekend, you can see the small spots of rust on the back of his Cadillac. When he takes them back to his place, his son and daughter love to sleep in the bunk beds, in the room they share, at his apartment. His kids love the Sunday afternoon trips to the library, or the history museum, before going out for burgers and shakes.
Jerry has a new mission in his life, to make sure that every day, he puts in as much effort as possible, to improve his life, and the life of his family, in some way.

© 2020 C. William

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Added on August 23, 2020
Last Updated on August 23, 2020
Tags: Fiction, people watching, short story


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