Friday, November 02, 2007

Chapter Six

Harold knew that it would be impossible for him to sleep so he distracted himself by putting away the groceries and unloading the dishwasher. He realized, not for the first time, that he had no idea where anything belonged. Fanny took care of all that. He depended on her for everything. It had been that way since the beginning.

He remembered the first time they’d met. It had been in an AA meeting almost thirty years earlier. Harold had just relocated to Washington DC to attend law school. He was apprehensive about all the changes that were occurring in his life. New city. New career. Frustrated with a dead end job as a social worker in Newark, Harold had packed everything he owned in his old Datsun and headed for DC. Fanny had told him many times that she knew she was going to marry him the first time she saw him. “I leaned over to the woman next to me and I said see that cute guy with the beard over there by the coffee pot? I’m going to marry him. ” Fanny had always had a way of getting what she wanted.

A couple of weeks later she’d invited him over for dinner. He was a little flummoxed when he arrived at her one-room apartment to find that the only furniture she owned was a four-poster bed. They had sat cross-legged on that bed to eat the casserole she’d made for them.

When she decided the time was right, Fanny had proposed. They were having dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Rosslyn. “Harold” she’d said “don’t you think it’s about time you and I got married?” His response was delayed by a sudden trip to the men’s room where he had an intense gastrointestinal response to her question. He swore later it was the food, not the proposal.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Arlo pushing an empty bowl across the kitchen floor. “Sorry, boy. You must be starving. Three cans for you tonight. Will that make it up to you?”

As he sat at the kitchen counter watching Arlo wolf down three cans of Gourmet Science Diet he was suddenly overcome with fatigue and exhaustion. He turned off the lights and went into the bedroom where he stretched out, still fully dressed, on top of the comforter. He fell asleep immediately.



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