THE LAUNDROMAT CONT. (part 3)

Gloria and Paul decided to get married right away and John found himself wishing he hadn’t agreed to attend the wedding. He had met Paul and liked him well enough but considered him an interloper. And didn’t think he would be comfortable at the wedding.

John knew it was silly to feel this way but couldn’t seem to help it. He very rarely saw Gloria anymore except occasionally at the Laundromat, and then she usually rushed off after her laundry was done not wanting to go for coffee as they usually did.

So when the wedding day came along, it was with misgivings that John got dressed in his Sunday finest and made his way to the church. After arriving early, he was pacing nervously in the vestibule when a pretty blond woman came up to him and asked if he belonged to the groom or the bride’s party.

He replied that he was Gloria’s friend John. The woman identified herself as Gloria’s mother and he was a little taken aback. The woman was young or so she seemed and very good looking.

“My name is Alice,” she said. John was struck by her resemblance to Gloria.
“John, Gloria has told me so much about you,” she said.
“Really?” He was surprised.
“Yes. She said you have been a good friend and a great handyman,” she bubbled.
“Well it is nice to be appreciated. I was glad to help her out. She is a great girl.”
“Well I hope she will be happy. They haven’t known each other for very long.” She seemed a little concerned.
John found himself trying to comfort her and assure her that knowing each other a long time didn’t mean that it would be a happy marriage.

John found himself wondering where Gloria’s father was, but he was too polite to ask. Gloria never talked about her family. Then as other relatives and friends started arriving, Alice was swept away in a maze of chiffon and chatter.

As the ceremony began, John felt a lump in his throat as he watched Gloria. She was radiant. The lilac lace dress she wore clung tenderly to her slim figure. He noticed tears in Alice’s eyes and could hardly hold them back himself.

The wedding ceremony seemed to move along at a fast pace and John found himself at the reception surrounded by the friends and family of Gloria and Paul.

Alice appeared out of nowhere and handed him a glass of red wine.
“Here,” she said. This will do you good. You look like you lost your best friend.”
“Oh sorry,” he mumbled.
“Oh, don’t be sorry. It happens to the best of us. The unrequited love thing I mean. You wear your heart on your sleeve you know.”
“I am sorry,” John couldn’t seem to get his thoughts in order and was beginning to feel like a fool.

Alice sensing that he was pretty uncomfortable and probably didn’t know anyone at the reception, took him in charge and started to introduce him around and then led him to the food table. After making sure that he eating, drinking, talking to one of her brothers and starting to enjoy himself, Alice mingled with the other guests.

When it came time for Gloria and Paul to leave, Gloria came up to John and gave him a hug and a peck on the cheek.
“Thanks for coming John. Hopefully, we can have you over for dinner after we return from our honeymoon. And maybe also have my Mom over too. You two seemed to hit it off I noticed.

John wondered how Gloria noticed him at all with all the activity swirling around her and Paul. But the more he thought about it the more he liked the idea of going to dinner especially if Alice was going to be there.

So after Gloria and Paul left, he boldly marched over and asked Alice to dance.

(To be continued.) Stay tuned.

For Laundromat Part 1 please check here.

For Laundromat Part 2 please check here.

IF: Pet Peeve

The Illustration Friday theme this week is “Pet Peeve.”

headmodel.jpg

I have taken many art classes over the years and I especially liked the Head Drawing class I was in. The teacher was great and I did learn a lot. Unfortunately, we couldn’t readily get models for the class. So we had to take turns posing as many times as necessary for the other students to draw.

This consisted of sitting in a straight chair, usually not that comfy, with a dazzling spotlight shinning in your face and eyes for approximately 30-45 minutes. At the end of each session, you would be treated to a spectacle of varying degrees of drawings of yourself, which according to the talent or lack thereof of each student, could be somewhat strange and a little disconcerting. Of course after doing it for awhile you got used to seeing yourself through a variety of eyes. Which I guess is not entirely bad.
And if you are like me, sitting before a group of people with a bright lite shining in your eyes for 30+ minutes and being stared at closely is not my idea of a good time,

THE LAUNDROMAT CONT. (part 2)

THEY TALKED FOR A LONG TIME. JOHN ABOUT HIS WIFE AND THEIR HOPES AND DREAMS. GLORIA LISTENED ATTENTIVELY AND SYMPATHETICALLY. WHEN HE WAS LEAVING GLORIA GAVE HIM A PECK ON THE CHEEK. JOHN REACHED HOME FEELING VERY GOOD INDEED. MEETING GLORIA HAD BRIGHTENED HIS LIFE AND HE HOPED THEY WOULD BE FRIENDS. OR MORE. SHE WAS YOUNG, IN HER MID THIRTIES HE GUESSED BUT HEY, WHO SAID AN OLDER MAN AND A YOUNG WOMAN COULDN’T BE FRIENDS OR EVEN LOVERS?

JOHN WAS AN EARLY RISER AND USUALLY WALKED TWO MILES FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, THEN BRAKFASTED AT MARTHA’S BREAKFAST HOUSE.

UPON ARRIVING THERE THIS MORNING HE WAS SURPRISED TO SEE GLORIA IN A BOOTH AND WAVED. SHE CALLED HIM OVER AND ASKED HIM TO JOIN HER.

“WHAT LOOKS GOOD?” HE ASKED. JOHN WAS RAVENOUS AFTER HIS WALK.
“WELL, I’M HAVING HOT CAKES.” GLORIA SAID.

THE WAITRESS POURED COFFEE FOR THEM AND ASKED IF JOHN WAS READY TO ORDER.
“I’LL HAVE HAM AND EGGS, SCRAMBLED WITH HASH BROWNED POTATOES AND TOAST WHITE.” JOHN BOOMED.
“YOU SHOULD HAVE MORE THAN HOT CAKES GLORIA, YOUR STILL A GROWING GIRL.”
GLORIA GIGGLED LIKE A YOUNG GIRL AND SAID, “I’M REALLY NOT THAT HUNGRY BUT I NOTICE YOU HAVE A HEARTY APPETITE.”

HE LIKED HER LAUGH. IT MADE HIM FEEL WARM AND COZY. HE WAS ENJOYING HAVING SOMEONE TO EAT BREAKFAST WITH AFTER MONTHS OF BEING ALONE.

AS THE WEEKS WENT BY JOHN HELPED GLORIA FIX LEAKY FAUCETS, SQUEAKY DOORS AND OTHER ODDS AND ENDS. THEY MET FOR BREAKFAST FREQUENTLY. HE LOOKED FORWARD TO THEIR TIMES TOGETHER.

ON ONE OF THEIR BREAKFAST MEETINGS GLORIA SEEMED MORE ANIMATED THAN USUAL. SHE SAID “JOHN I HAVE THE BEST NEWS, WAIT TILL YOU HEAR.”
“OUT WITH IT WOMAN, YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE GOING TO BURST IF YOU DON’T TELL ME SOON.”
“WELL, I DIDN’T TELL YOU BUT I MET SOMEONE A FEW MONTHS AGO, HIS NAME IS PAUL. WE’VE BEEN DATING PRETTY REGULARLY AND HE ASKED ME TO MARRY HIM LAST NIGHT.”

JOHN PUT HIS COFFEE DOWN SLOWLY.
“WHY THAT’S WONDERFUL GLORIA. FROM THE LOOK ON YOUR FACE, I’D SAY THAT YOU SAID YES.”
“I CERTAINLY DID. HE IS A WONDERFUL GUY JOHN. I AM SURE YOU WILL LIKE HIM. I WANT YOU TWO TO MEET.”
I’D LIKE THAT TOO.” JOHN TRIED TO SOUND ENTHUSIASTIC.

JOHN’S APPETITE HAD STRANGELY DIMINISHED AND AFTER GLORIA LEFT, HE SAT THERE SIPPING HIS COFFEE GAZING INTO SPACE FOR QUITE A WHILE.

(To be continued.)

For Laundromat Part 1 please check here.

The Laundromat

The dryers were humming busily when John walked into the laundromat. It was easy to see that he wasn’t accustomed to using a laundromat. He would come in, load the clothes, then look around as if in doing so something would be made clear to him. Most of the people there could care less whether he knew how to operate the machines, but after a few trips he became proficient in the operation and considered himself a regular.

It was on one of these trips, as he was gaining confidence in himself, that John had a strange thing happen. He always liked children and there were certainly enough of them running around. A little blond girl about three years old came up to him and smiled and started a conversation.

“Hi, I’m Sandy.” she said.
“Hello Sandy, my name is John. What do you do for a living?”
Sandy just giggled and proceeded to tell him her age, her mother’s name and anything else he wanted to know.

John was beginning to enjoy himself when a blond woman rushed up and grabbed Sandy, gave him a dirty look and wisked the child away. Her admonishment to the child could be heard throughout the laundromat: “I told you not to talk to strangers, especially old men.”

John was startled and a little sad. After that he wasn’t as friendly to children, unless of course he knew their parents.

John was a tall man in his early sixties. His hair was mostly gray, but he had a thick and lustrous head of it. He had green eyes that sparkled when he was happy which wasn’t very often now that Janet was gone. He had a slim build, belying his hearty appetite. But that had diminished lately. Since Janet died several months ago he was in a transition period and he never was a very good cook. So mostly he ate TV dinners or an occasional dinner out by himself. But that was no fun.

He and Janet planned to vacation in the mountains this year. Renting a cabin and fishing was his idea of heaven. But Janet’s illness had come on suddenly and her death six months ago was a blow from which he was still trying to recover. Now his life was drastically different.

He sold the house and moved into a small one bedroom apartment with a lot of other old people. Most of them were very nosy and the old ladies were constantly bringing him hot dishes they had prepared. But he was not in a mood to be social so he usually cut short the visits and the women got insulted and now they didn’t bother him.

He thought of himself as a strong man but lately he began to doubt that strength. He had not planned to be alone and it was strange to him. The apartment though small, loomed before him like some unknown expanse. The days seemed endless. And cleaning was a chore.

One day at the laundromat, as he was loading his clothes, a young woman was struggling with a large basket of clothes and as she tried to put it on one of the washers, it fell. The girl looked rather embarrassed as she bent to retrieve the clothes.

John went to her aid and after they were all picked up and deposited in the washer, she sat down with him. He offered her a cigarette and after accepting she thanked him profusely for his help.

“I’m new in the area,” she said.
“Is that so?” John was never much of a conversationalist and couldn’t think of what to say next. She was so young and pretty, he was wondering why she even bothered talking to him.
“Can you tell me which market has the lowest prices? I am new in town and kind of down on my luck right now.”
“Joes Market on Main Street had the best buys in town and good quality. I can show you where it is,” he said.
“Oh thanks, that’s very kind of you, but I wouldn’t want to put you out,” she replied.
“No problem,” he said.
“By the way what is your name? Mine is John.”
“Hi John, I am Gloria, pleased to meet you.”
“Likewise, Gloria is a pretty name. It suits you.”
“Why thanks,” she blushed.
After they finished their laundry and since Gloria had no car, John drove her to Joe’s market. He helped her to her apartment with the groceries.

“Come in and have a drink or a cup of coffee, it is the least I can do to thank you. Unless of course you wife is waiting for you.”
“No, I am a widower and I’d love a drink.”

Putting her groceries away, Gloria opened a bottle of wine and settled down on the couch next to John. By the time they had finished two glasses each, dusk had descended. Gloria didn’t make a move to put any of the lamps on. John was feeling warm and mellow. He hadn’t felt this good in a long time.

A Day In The Life.

She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odor of dusty lace. She was tired.

Few people passed. The man out of the last house passed on his way home; she heard his footsteps clacking along the concrete pavement and afterwards crunching on the cinder path before the new red houses.

Her thoughts went back to happier times. She remembered as a girl, she would help her mother set the table for Sunday breakfast. She could smell the coffee perking on the coal stove, as bacon sizzled in the pan and hot buttered scones were piled high on a plate.

The large family was always famished and noisy as they sat down to eat. There was always laughter and storytelling and then off to Sunday mass.

But that was a long time ago and things had changed; she never saw the family now. Her Sundays were filled with nostaglia. No one came to visit her; they were too busy with their own lives.

As the darkness entered the room, she did not move to turn on the light. It was as if she needed it for comfort.