The Contract Ch. 06bycurious2c©
I was in the garage, packing up some of the things that had gone by the wayside in all the rush of my big move. There, in the middle of the day, in the middle of my garage, with the door wide open...I found a box of Becky's things. All from the time after Samantha had joined us. All mementos of happier and yet sadder times.
Standing there I froze...unable to do anything with that box. I thought I had gotten rid of all that type of stuff. Now, looking through it all, my pains were brought back to life and stabbing me in the face.
Finally I moved...setting the box back down on some other boxes stacked everywhere. Sitting down on one, I began to purposely go through that box...digging into my recent past. A small book of pictures fell out to one side, and I picked it up. There we were...at the beach...in the park...in the back yard having a barbecue with the kids. Memories cascading past me, not letting me loose. I soon found myself crying.
I cried for what I had lost in Becky's passing. I cried for losing Samantha, and I cried for losing my kids respect. I think I was crying for not only my loss, but what I had so stupidly shoved away too. I couldn't see any way back to those happier days...and now...seeing those days in front of me just was too much to handle.
I didn't hear them come up from behind me. I felt like a foolish man sitting there in tears...caught being sentimental like that.
"So...moving somewhere are you?"
I knew the voice...it was my daughter.
"Hi. Yeah...I'm moving. I left a message on your answering machine...not sure if you got it or not."
I kept my back to them.
"You packed rather quickly Dad."
I hadn't turned around yet...trying to get my eyes dry and myself more composed before I did so.
Looking at the picture of Samantha and I and Becky in our backyard I realized that not only was I a miserable man, I had made my family miserable too.
Turning I found all my kids standing there, with their spouses. Not only them, but Susan and Samantha as well.
It was all I could think of to say.
"Where you moving to dad?"
My oldest son...always the pragmatic one, accepting a fact and then moving from that.
"Got a place all lined up. Smaller...less for me to take care of."
"Got room for two in that place?"
Samantha had spoken softly, yet her voice seemed to cut right through to the core of my being.
"Not sure anybody would want to live there with me."
"You never know about that."
My daughter spoke into the void that statement from Samantha left.
"You kind of dropped out of sight dad."
"I dropped from sight? You guys dropped out of sight."
"Well, you were being kind of an ass dad. What did you expect?"
"I thought that you would at least come over and still talk to me. Instead, you...my family...push me aside. At least, that's how it felt to me."
"So...where's this new place at dad?"
Again, my oldest son. There was something up here that I didn't know if I wanted to see. I was tired and just wanting this moving crap done with. I had packed all of it myself. Every little item. Some boxes were marked for giving to thrift stores; some marked for a garage sale...should I ever get around to having one. A very precious few were marked for keeping.
Susan stood back a ways, then suddenly bulled ahead of everyone. She looked angry...pissed off angry. Real pissed off angry.
"What the hell? Cutting and running huh? Figured you'd try something like that. I've been keeping an eye on you...when I saw you packing stuff out here I got in touch with everyone. You have some explaining to do buster."
"Nothing to explain. I left a message about what I was up to with my kids...no secrets...just moving."
"That's it huh? Moving away. Running from your troubles."
"Well...lets recap a bit shall we?"
I was getting mad.
"My kids pushed me away when I pushed Samantha away. Then, you came over and talked me into trying to fix things between us...so I did. I gave it everything I had...and Samantha shoved me out then. That left me...as I count it anyway...me myself and I against the world."
"Dad...we didn't push you away. We were mad at you for kicking Samantha out of your life...but we weren't pushing you away."
"Not how I saw it. Not how I see it now either."
"Can you leave us for a bit you guys. I think John and I need to clear the air a bit before this erupts into something that can't be fixed."
Samantha was looking quite a bit better now...like she had been eating and sleeping better. I only wish I could have said the same. The looks on the faces of my kids...well I couldn't fathom what they were thinking of me. Susan looked mad still, and Samantha just looked...well...sad.
After the others had walked into the house, leaving us alone, Samantha came to sit beside me. Glancing down she saw the pictures I had been looking at. Taking it from my hands she started to flip through them.
"You didn't toss this out?"
"There were some pictures of Becky...and you. The only ones I had now. Wanted some kind of memory...you know...remembering the happy times."
"We did look happy didn't we?"
"Yeah. So...what is it you all wanted anyway?"
"Why didn't you call me?"
"You pretty much told me that you wanted me gone. What was I supposed to do then? Stalk you?"
"I never said that John. I just asked you what if I didn't want you in my life any more. That was all. It was more of a rhetorical question."
"Sounded rather straightforward to me."
"I thought that was what you figured. When you didn't call back or come around I knew that I should have said something else...before you walked away. I was just..."
"What was there to say Samantha? You made it clear that I had shoved you out of my life and evidently there was no way back to you. All I know is I finally got a plan and began to make my moves then."
"You packed all this stuff in two days?"
"Five actually. I had already been packing up...Becky's things...just got going and didn't stop."
"Had you decided to move away before you came to see me then?"
"No. Afterwards. I realized...finally...that I was alone now. I needed a fresh start somewhere where the memories wouldn't be quite so...painful."
"So...you gave up on us just like that then?"
I was getting confused and a bit mad again. I couldn't understand this woman at all anymore. She had walked out of my life...then I had gone to try to get her back and she had refused me...or so I thought...and now she was here trying to...what...what was she trying to do?"
"I didn't give up...exactly. I just...got...tired...all of the sudden. Too tired."
"I'm sorry John."
"Nothing to be sorry about Sam."
"That's the first time you've called me that."
"Sam? I guess it is."
"We've both been fools John, and I mean both of us. I should have never let you walk away the other day. I should have caught you and tried to explain how I was feeling. Instead I let you walk. Huge mistake on my part. I should have told you how I loved you so much, and that the thought that you may be playing some kind of cruel game scared me too much to want to let you know how I felt."
"I wasn't playing a game. I was being..."
"Honest...I know that now. When you left me I was scared, mad, and then I suddenly realized...alone. So very alone. You see, without you I'm half a woman, just as you're half a man without me. Do you think we could...I don't know...do you think we could...get back together and see...what happens?"
"I want to Sam. I really do. I want nothing more than to be with you...happy. I just don't know if we could be happy though. Look at us...we've both been acting like fools...although I think I have the major amount of fool going on..."
"John...I love you. I want to be with you. I always have. Look...I forgive you. I...Forgive...YOU. Okay? I love you and I forgive you."
"You can say that after the way I treated you?"
"I love you John."
I took her in my arms and hugged her tight. Holding her close I could feel my heart opening back up again. It almost took my breath away. I was choked up...barely able to speak.
"I...I...love you too Samantha...I always have."
We hugged...then kissed. We were like that when the kids and Susan showed back up suddenly.
"Hey you two...don't get too involved there."
"Dad...damn. Remember...your kids are standing right here...geez."
My daughter...of course...being my daughter.
"Whoo hooo...way to go old man..."
My youngest son...always with the smart-assed comments.
I pulled away from Samantha. Looking into her eyes...I saw love, and meaning.
"So...feel like moving somewhere with me?"
"Where are we moving to?"
"Anywhere away from these..."
I laughed through my tears. I got them at the very last.
The move went quicker than it had been going. Once we got to our new place, Samantha went inside with my kids, looking it all over. Susan came up to me.
"So...you gonna get it all straight this time then John?"
"I hope so."
"Nice place. Never figured you for a beach bum though."
"Somebody told me that you can't swim."
She laughed at my look as she walked away.
"Wait...who told you I can't swim? Susan? Come back here..."
"I told her dad. We met...and were talking. About you. I told her how you couldn't swim. How you always hated the beach because of that."
"I never hated the beach. I just felt more comfortable in other places. I couldn't go out and have fun like you kids were. You and your mom."
"The beach dad?"
"Well...I like the sound of the ocean as the waves break on the shore. It's calming to me."
Later, after the kids had left and Samantha and I were all alone, she kept exclaiming on how great a choice I had made. She really liked the house and the beachfront property that came with it. We had our own little private part of our world here. Totally ours.
This all took place several years ago. If you're ever in the neighborhood, stop by, I'll throw some coffee on and we can sit on the back deck, watch the waves, and just...well...bullshit the day away. Samantha and I were married a year after we moved in together...and we have been very happy. We both miss Becky time to time...and when we get that way we will sit down and go through several of the photo albums we kept.
It has been a full and rich life for me. I know that not every man could think of having a serious relationship with a former escort girl, but I have...and I have found out that it is no different than what Becky and I had together...well...for the most part.
We are still in love, and still share all things together. It hasn't been easy because at times we do have some differences, just as all married people will. For the most part I'm glad that we got over our 'bumps' and moved on together.
We are also the proud grandparents of four little ones now with each of my boys and their wives having one baby, my daughter had twins. Sam and I spend lots of time spoiling them rotten. All in all, while I do miss Becky...and I will always love her...I have to admit she knew what was best for me in the end. Even when I couldn't see it she knew what would be best in the long run.