After they had finished their laundry and since Gloria had no car, John drove her to Marino’s Market. He then drove her home and insisted on helping carry in the bags of groceries.
“Come in John and have a drink. It’s the least I can do after all you have done for me today. Unless of course your wife is waiting dinner for you at home?”
“No, I am a widower Gloria. My wife passed away. I usually cook my own dinner now” he said.
“Oh, I am sorry John, I didn’t know, please excuse me.”
“No way you could have known now is there?”
“I guess not, I just feel embarrassed, shooting my mouth off like that.”
“Let’s just start out all over again and yes I would like that drink. I am a bit thirsty.”
“Okay, would you like a beer or some coffee?”
A beer sounds fine right about now. That grocery shopping is thirsty work, don’t you agree?”
Gloria opened two beers and after putting her groceries away, they settled down on the couch to drink their beers. By the time they had finished two glasses each, dusk had settled in. John was feeling warm and mellow. He hadn’t felt this good in a long time.
They talked for a long time. John about his wife and their hopes and dreams, now cut short. Gloria listened sympathetically.
When he was leaving, Gloria gave him a peck on the cheek. He didn’t even remember driving home, he was in a rosy glow from being with a pretty woman and sharing intimate things. And then, the kiss or peck, was enough to put him in this rosy glow. Meeting Gloria had brightened his life and he hoped they would be friends. She was young, in her mid thirties, he guessed, but who says an older man and a young woman can’t be friends?
The next morning John rose at his usual 5 a.m. and walked two miles, then breakfasted at Martha’s Breakfast House, as usual. Upon arriving there this morning, who was sitting in his usual booth but Gloria! She called him over and asked him to join her for breakfast.
“This is a surprise,” he said.
“I just started coming here since I get up early and do a run and go out looking for work.”
“Well, my lucky day,” he was beaming. “What looks good?”
“”Well I’m having hotcakes. What do you like?”
The waitress moved in and filled their coffee cups and took John’s order of two eggs, over easy with the works. He had a big appetite after walking for two miles.
“You have a very hearty appetite John,” Gloria said.
‘Yes and I better cut it down as I am gaining a few pounds here and there.”
“Oh you have nothing to worry about, you still have your boyish figure, were you an athlete?” Gloria sounded interested.
“Well I did play a little baseball in high school and then again in college, so I manage to stay in shape, even if I only walk now.”
They ate their breakfast and chatted away and time was passing. Gloria jumped up and said that she had to get home and get dressed to go on her job hunt.
“Anything I can help you with Gloria?”
“Oh no thanks John, but it was nice having breakfast here with you. We will have to do it again sometime.”
“I would love that,” he said.
John continued his walk home in a very good mood indeed. He really liked Gloria and he hoped more than ever that they could continue to see each other. He would enjoy having someone to eat breakfast with, even if only at a diner, and maybe go other places with. One never knew. He wasn’t all that old.