A Chapter by C. William

It had been one of those Mondays, hit the snooze too many times, before finally getting up, long day at work, covering for people that didn’t make it in, after the long weekend. One of those Monday’s, where the last thing you wanted to do, was come home and cook, let alone decide what to cook, then stop at the store to buy ingredients. So, we crawled into the car, headed off to a restaurant, and crawled into a nice quiet booth. That is when we noticed the person sitting across from us, silently contemplating the emptiness around her, awaiting the arrival of her party. This is how we met…


“Hi Daddy!” Betty loved visiting her father at work, although, you wouldn’t expect to see a teenage girl wandering the aisles of the hardware store. She would linger in the aisles of the greenhouse, taking in the myriad of smells that hovered in the air. “Back again Sweetheart?” Ted was sure that the increase, in the frequency of Betty’s visits, had nothing to do with Billy, the new part time worker, that he had hired last month.
Inevitably, Ted would end up finding Betty, thumbing through the paint swatch cards. Billy would be carrying on a full conversation with her, while she pretended to barely pay him any attention. Occasionally she would answer his questions after a long pause, seeming to finally realize that he had asked it of her, when in reality, it gave her a chance to look up, and connect with those emerald eyes. Ted didn’t mind the flirting, except when he had to remind Billy that there were actually paying customers, that he needed to attend to. In fact, Ted admitted to himself, that Betty could do a lot worse, as he watched the slim boy pound a lid back onto a freshly tinted can of paint.
Again, Ted admitted, that Betty certainly could have done worse, as he stared, down the aisle, at a slightly older version of that same slim boy. Betty whispered, “It’s time Daddy.” He looked down, into her pale blue eyes, and gave a small smile. With that, he stepped off, arm in arm, with the radiant bride, before passing her off to this boy, that would forevermore be in charge of caring for his little girl.
Betty gazed, through the back window, of their shiny new candy apple red Oldsmobile, as they sped away from the little church, tin cans clanking as they went. She could still see her father waving, as he slowly shrank and finally faded from view. She finally turned, clasping onto the arm of her now husband. The same arm, that just years earlier, pounded at paint can lids, while she pretended to not be interested. The following days, were some of the best of her life, as she walked hand in hand. Strolling down the lakeside paths, overcome with the love that she had for this man, before returning to the bed and breakfast, where they would spend their evenings and nights.
Returning home, Billy didn’t even hesitate before sweeping his bride into his arms, lightly kicking open the door, and striding over the threshold, beginning their new life together. Looking to connect with other couples, in their new town, Betty surprised Billy, by signing them up for a casual bowling league. In a small town, this was a great way to get to know a lot of people. Whether they were there for bowling, the bar in the side room, or grabbing a pizza to go, everyone seemed to pass through the building, at one time or another.
Betty found herself, sitting in the stands, cheering for the home run of a kid, whose parents she used to cheer for, when they picked up the ten pin, for a spare. In a small town like this, everyone knows everyone, and their kids grow up even closer. It was no surprise, when Betty found herself, slowly moving across the floor, during the mother-son dance, looking up into the shining emerald, that her son inherited from her husband. Her son lightly kissed her cheek, before heading back to his new wife, at the head table. Betty smiled, in her direction, seeing the cute brunette in the white lacy gown, but also, still seeing the little girl, with the double braids and baseball cap, throwing fast balls across home plate, so many summers ago.
Betty’s eyes grew misty, as she watched her husband hesitate before escorting their little girl, beaming at the friends and family filling the pews, gliding down the aisle, followed by the soft swishing sound of her train. Betty’s eyes overflowed with tears, as she watched her son, son-in-law, and friends, carrying her husband from the church, down that same aisle that had brought so much joy, just a few short years before.
Betty thought she had felt joy in her life, but there was little to compare, with the weight of her new granddaughter settling in her arms. The sound of giggling, and the patter of little feet, once again filled her home, as she happily watched over her beautiful grandchildren, while their parents went off to work. Once again, she had something to fill her mornings, that had just felt to empty. Of course, her children had checked on her often, since Billy’s passing, and they still kept their regular family dinner, after all of these years.
At the age of sixty five, Betty had lived a wonderfully full life, raising her children and assisting with their children. She had seen, and done, everything that she had expected from her life. There was only one of life’s difficult questions, she needed to find the answer to. After meeting with her doctor, that morning, do you get it over with during the appetizer, or wait until dessert, to tell your family, that you are dying.

© 2020 C. William

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Added on August 30, 2020
Last Updated on August 30, 2020
Tags: people watching, Fiction


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