Straight Lines in Life.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Straight Lines in Life.

“James Harrington!’

When he saw Mrs. Nelson waving to him in the train station, he was almost embarrassed it startled him so much. He was in town, ostensibly, for another business trip. James couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen anyone else from Smithfield in the city, let alone his deceased mother-in-law’s best friend.

“How are you and Margaret, James?”

There were so many ways to answer that. As an Accountant Executive, James’ career had never been better. He had so many established clients all over the company’s region, he was now selling projects to new clients based on who he decided he wanted to work with. Most of his peers did not want to deal with the hassle of travelling into the city for proposals to new clients, nor checking on working projects in the field. But James had so much work going in the City, growing with almost every visit, that he was spending a vast amount of his time here.

“We couldn’t be better Mrs. Nelson. Jessica and Sam are good, and the grandkids are doing great in school. Johnny’s signed up again for Little League. Margaret just sold another house, she couldn’t be busier.”

Or, James thought as Jenny walked past right behind him, I could just introduce Mrs. Nelson to Jenny right now.

The hidden truth was that he and Margaret were simply long standing roommates now. They shared a son, daughter-in-law, two grand-children, long-standing friendships, life. James used to wonder if anyone saw past their façade of the happy, healthy, standard middle-aged couple. Or if theirs was the standard. Marge had lost physical interest in him a long, long time ago, followed later by any day to day interest. They’d been sleeping in separate rooms for half a decade now.

James had stopped wondering if it was obvious a long time ago. His life seemed to him like one of the flights while he was young in the Air Force; planned in a straight line but bounced off course by weather.

They had met the year before. James was running in the park after work. Jenny had been out for a walk and a loose dog was giving her a hard time. Afterwards, James surprised himself by asking her if she’d like to get a cup of coffee. The second time they met for a coffee, they talked about everything. Her divorce, starting her life over, his marriage, Life. Their friendship evolved into something much more. Jenny called him Jimmy; he couldn’t remember anyone in his adult life calling him Jimmy.

“Give my best to Margaret, James, and tell her I miss her and Mable dearly.”

James knew Jenny would be waiting across the street in the coffee shop. He knew he should just let go and resume that old straight line. But he couldn’t. He only felt alive when he was with her.

“I will Mrs. Nelson; good to see you again.”

T.L. Hardy

May 8, 2020

 

 

 

 


Submitted: May 08, 2020

© Copyright 2021 T.L.Hardy. All rights reserved.

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