Don’t Move the Furniture
Chapter 4 While she is gone
I know the adage ‘while the cat’s away the mice will play’. In this case, I plan on being an absolute gentleman. I do not want to ruin things between Elizabeth and I. Since we have been seeing each other I have not kept up with what is going on with Paula. Nor Mel for that matter I wonder if Martha and Mel have been up to more antics?
I did not see Elizabeth off the next morning her niece was picking her up. She said she would use the three days to slowly let the family know about our relationship. Elizabeth then planned on having the immediate family over for a meal and introductions.
I decided first to call Rick and get an update on him and Paula I waited till what I thought was a respectable time to call 8 am. The phone rang a woman’s voice answered I asked for Rick. Rick came to the phone “Yah what can I do for you?”
I said, “Hey Rick I guess I am calling at a bad time?”
Rick said, “Hold on.”
In a few moments, he came back on the line and said “That was Paula who answered I needed to say goodbye to her. She is late for work.”
Smiling to myself I said, “I did not recognize her voice hope she didn’t recognize mine as well?”
Rick laughed and said: “She thought it was someone from my work.”
I said “Good. So I am assuming things are going well between the two of you?”
Rick said “I do not kiss and tell but I will say this I owe you a thank you. Paula is intelligent and interesting. Nothing like many of the bubble heads around here. She is a bit headstrong but that is no problem.”
I told Rick I was glad to hear it. After our conversation, I had coffee and some breakfast. While I was cleaning up after breakfast my phone rang it was Elizabeth she was crying “I told my niece Sybil that I was seeing someone and she had the audacity to say to me ‘Oh Aunt Liz your too old for that sort of thing.’ I let her have it with both barrels and told her in no uncertain terms to ‘Buck up buttercup’ the rest of the ride was done in silence. I am only calling you because I needed to vent before I go downstairs and listen to the rest of the choir.”
I cannot believe I said, “I love you Elizabeth and if you want me to come there to be your back up you know I will at a moment’s notice.”
My heart hammered in my head hoping she wasn’t going to pull away. I was pleasantly gifted with “I love you too Morty how silly of us not coming right out and saying it yesterday. It is so immature of us isn’t it?”
I laughed and said we need some of the immaturity to have fun so let’s not grow up too soon. I heard someone calling her name. Elizabeth hung up I grabbed another coffee and headed out to the activities building hoping there was something going on that would keep me out of trouble.
As I walked through the door I could hear banter over a card game going on. Pinochle between the girls and the guys. I decided to sit off to the side hoping to glean some juicy gossip about Mel and Martha. It did not take long when John spoke up “Hey Morty did you hear that Mel and Martha went on a cruise? They got in some kind of trouble and they were told at the second port they needed to find another way home or stay in their cabin the rest of the way.”
I smiled and said “Really? What were those to love birds up too?”
John said “They were trying to get other couples to wife swap, even the young couples. I guess the young couples were the ones that made the fuss. The way I heard it some of the older couples were game for the game.”
Lily was shaking her head “In this day and age the diseases you can pick up with that sort of behavior.”
John laughed and said “Mel can barely pick up what he needs for the game how in the world would he pick up a disease? Plus with all the Ben Gay and lubricant I do not think much could get passed the rest of the wrinkles.”
We all started to laugh I looked over to the observation window and noticed Paula standing there giving me the signal she wanted to talk to me.
I walked out hearing Lily tell John to behave himself and not be crude.
‘Hey, Paula how have you been?” I said
‘Actually pretty good can you keep something to yourself?’
‘Sure what’s up?’
‘I want to thank you for introducing me to your friend Rick. I also want to know what you know about him.’
I told her all the gory details of the three people in my life which passed within days of each other and what a vital role Rick had played in the events and subsequent days following, Rick became a very close friend of the family.
Paula seemed to like what she heard. She then asked a question I was not sure I should be honest when I answer. “Did you bring Rick here for me to meet?”
I took a moment to ponder how I would go about telling her. I did not want it to sound like what it was, a set up by both me and Rick.
‘I had feelings for you that I knew you would not reciprocate and being the controlling old fart I am I figured I would see to it you met men I would approve of.’
I started to sweat hoping she would take it in the manner I meant it.
She looked at me ‘Morty if you were 10 years younger there would be no holding me back. Your grand gesture is a bit chauvinist. But knowing who you are the gesture does not offend me. All I ask is that you no longer meddle in my personal life.’
I told her I would not as long as she sticks with Rick. Beyond that, I make no promises. She laughed asked about Elizabeth and I. I gave her the short version not embellishing on our embellishments if you know what I mean?
It was my turn to ask a question “What is going on with Mel and Martha? I hear they were about to be kicked off a cruise liner for indecent proposals?’
Paula rolled her eyes and said ‘Because of privacy issues all I can say is their vacation was cut short. They are flying back”
I nodded and wondered if they would also be restrained on the plane for trying out the mile high club.
After talking to Paula I wandered around lost for what to do with myself. I felt this way when my wife passed. I told myself I would never feel this way again. Yet alas here I am befuddled by this thing called love. Hoping she will find an excuse to come home early.
I am considering calling her to give her pointers as to how to start a fight leaving them believing they did something wrong and giving her a reason to call me for a ride home.
Yet I know she loves those kids even when they are being donkeys.
As I was walking back to my place the thought occurred to me. I need to rent an old video and invite people in for some nostalgia. I could order some pizza, chicken wings. Have a beer, wine, and mixed drinks. If I get stinking drunk I will sleep for a couple of
days by then Elizabeth will be home. I stopped by the fountain halfway between my place and the activities building. There are benches there to sit and enjoy the roses I guess. I sat down made a few calls. Some of those I invited are from the facility others from my old neighborhood. All in all 8 people said yes. Now onto the video store for Casablanca. Everyone voted for that movie.
Everyone was to arrive at 6 pm we would eat, drink, and mingle then at 8 pm the movie starts. Some brought lawn chairs other large pillows for the floor. We had a lot of laughs as we joked about old times. My new friends talking to my old friends hoping to find out things they could use against me. What they found out was that I was respectable and boring when I was married. I did not turn the corner until I was left to my own devices.
As it turned out we not only had the items delivered from the pizzeria, there was a smorgasbord of potluck items. I lost track of who all showed up. This is very reminiscent of what happened to me in high school, a simple invite to a few close friends brought out the entire school. No matter I am having fun drinking beer and eating myself silly. Still wishing Elizabeth was here she would have had fun as well.
I looked at the clock it is now midnight. I am feeling light headed and need to take a walk to clear my head. Being that all my company is adults I can leave them alone for a
moment, I hope. The thought of Karma did occur to me. Had it not been for Elizabeth coming into my life, I would have come up with some shenanigans.
My intent was to sit by the fountain. I stood looking at the fountain and without hesitation, I decided to disrobe to my skivvies and sit in the fountain hoping to clear my head. Not sure how long I sat there with my eyes closed when I heard a familiar voice say “Can I join you?” Opening my eyes I thought it was an apparition. Elizabeth was standing with a grin on her face eating a brownie. She at least kept her clothes on. I tapped the water as if it were the sofa. Elizabeth stepped in as she shoved half the brownie in her mouth. I asked where she got the brownies she told me “at your party one of the residents brought two batches to share. I must say they are pleasant”
I laughed out loud and said “That is Lucy’s specialty. I wondered why my head felt fuzzy.”
Elizabeth leaned on me. We were enjoying the coolness of the water spraying over us when a flashlight was stuck in our faces. A man in uniform said “Okay kids the party is
over. Get out of the fountain. If you are the guy who is having the party I want to advise
you to tell your guests to go home. No one should drive, calling a cab would be the best bet.”
I laughed again looked over at Elizabeth she was giving him the finger. I said, “Excuse her rudeness officer she has never eaten a brownie before.”
He said “This one time I will let it go as long as you take my advice. By the way don’t you think you are too old for this sort of behavior?”
I said “Obviously not and son I hope in your golden years you will not be either. Also, hope that if you are caught not acting your age a kind fellow will give you good advice.”
To his credit, he laughed.
I got out helping Elizabeth step out of the fountain. I put my long sleeve shirt around her and did not bother putting my dry clothes on. We walked back to my place hand in hand. By the time we arrived the party was already dispersing. There were three cabs out front with gray-haired Q-tips climbing in the back seat.
I was pleasantly surprised my place wasn’t trashed. Much of it was cleaned up. There were dishes in the sink and no one was sleeping in Papa bears bed.
I dried off. Gave Elizabeth one of my shirts we climbed into bed. I decided to wait till morning to ask her why she was home so early.
I was the first one up bright and early, 9 am. I was feeling foggy but no hangover which I actually deserve a hangover. It must have been the cold water from the fountain.
Smiling to myself I started the coffee. The thought did occur to me that it may be too soon to ask Elizabeth to marry me. Seeing her climbing into the fountain to be with me just caused my sentimentality to surge. What did I do to deserve another special woman in my life? I really thought I lost all hope of being in love again. This time around the love is different. Elizabeth is fun, Marie was warm and maternal. Marie was a great housekeeper, mom, and wife. I am not even sure how to explain the difference to myself.
I heard Elizabeth start the shower, I pulled her clothes out of the drier brought them into the bedroom, made the bed, laid her clothes out. I went back to the kitchen to fetch us both a cup of coffee. By the time I returned to the bedroom Elizabeth was pulling her top
I was smiling ear to ear as I handed her a cup of coffee I said “Good morning beautiful. You do not know how pleased I was to see you were home.” Then I blurted it out “Elizabeth will you marry me?”
My heart started to pound in my chest. Damn what did I say, why didn’t I wait?
She took the coffee step towards me, kissed me and said “Not yet big boy.”
She added, “You have to meet the family first, not that they would be invited.”
I smiled and realized the answer was actually yes.