Mind the Gapbyhansbwl©
Annie served us dinner, myself and our daughter and son, thirteen and fourteen respectively. It was an ordinary day; all of us shared our great or small happenings from during the day. There was a cozy atmosphere around the table in a well functioning family. I looked at my kids, then at my wife. What a lucky guy I was. We had been married fifteen years; Annie had aged very little and looked like a young lady in her mid twenties, although she would be thirty-five next week. Very few would think Theresa and Thomas were her children; they would believe they were her younger siblings. I, on the other hand, could easily be taken as her father. I had been thirty five when we married. Her mother never did forgive me for marrying her twenty year old daughter. I was too old for her and therefore her mother and I never got to the friendly stage, I am sorry to say.
We cleared the table and made coffee, which Annie and I would enjoy in the living room while the kids went about their homework and other doings they had planned for the evening.
We relaxed in our chairs, sipped our coffee, and had our daily small talk. She is the kind of woman who always made some funny observations during her day. Small incidents like seeing a couple in disagreement, saying stupid things and making up afterwards; or a man running after his hat through water puddles to the great amusement of the bystanders, etc. She described the scenes vividly and made them funny. I loved being married to this woman.
After a while she said, "Ted, I need to visit Mom tonight. I will take the bus and stay over."
"OK," I replied, "but if you take the car you can come back late tonight, so you don't need to stay over."
"No, I'll take the bus," my wife insisted, "I will need some time with her because she has a problem I would like to help her solve. You need the car tomorrow. The kids are old enough to get ready for school without me, you just see to it that they do not sleep in. You can surely manage that," she said with a broad smile, then continued, "I have told my boss I will be in before noon tomorrow so I will have some additional time with Mom."
She kissed me on the cheek and went upstairs to pack her overnight bag.
Just as I hear the shower start, the door bell chimed.
I opened the door and a young man was staying outside. He struck out his hand and said, "I'm Charles Smith, a friend of Annie. I wondered if she is in?"
"Sure," I replied, "She is in the shower preparing to go out."
"You must be Mr. Wilson, I presume. May I come in and wait for her?"
"Of course; how rude of me not inviting you in immediately. Please enter," I said, holding the door open for him.
Once I had Charles seated in the easy chair across from me, went to the kitchen for a cup, and poured him coffee.
"Well Mr. Smith, how do you know Annie?"
"Mr. Wilson, I met your daughter at a party a few months back. We hit it on famously from the start and I made up my mind she was the one. I fell head over heels in love."
I think I was able to suppress the shock I got when he called Annie my daughter. I was able to contain the urge to point out that she was in fact my wife. I needed badly to hear what he could tell about their friendship.
He smiled at me and took a sip of the coffee before continuing.
"As I said, we met at a party. We have gone steady for the last few months. Well, at least in my opinion we are exclusive. There is a bit of a problem though: I am not entirely certain that she is as keen as I am. You see, she will only meet me during lunch hours and Tuesday evenings when we go bowling, and Thursday when we go to see a film or a concert, never during a weekend. That's why I would like to talk to you Sir."
"Go ahead young man; what would you like to talk about?"
"The thing is, Sir, I am keen to take my relationship with Annie a bit further. I find it very hard to understand that a girl in her mid twenties is so conservative. When I am pushing, she says that her father is strict and has very out-of-date values. She therefore refuses to go beyond petting and a bit of fondling. Also I find it difficult to understand that all weekends are for your family exclusively and that she cannot spare one for me once in a while."
"What do you want me to do or say Mr. Smith?"
"Please call me Charles, Sir. When I am asking about you, she always give the impression that she loves you very much and she will not go beyond what you find appropriate; so that's why I spied on her to find out where she lived, so I could approach you to tell you that I am not after a fling, but a long term commitment. I think I will be able to convince her today that a sexual relationship between consenting adults in their twenties are in order. She has accepted my invitation to stay over at my flat tonight. I came to pick her up and ask you to say to her that she does not disappoint you if she chooses to make love to me. Because that's what it is all about: love. I can promise you, Sir, I will take good care of her and love her for the rest of my life, if she accepts me as a husband."
Before I could make up my mind how to respond to this young man's request, Annie opened the door to the living room. The door swings inward so that Charles was hidden from her sight. She came up to me with the overnight bag in her hand, gave me a kiss and said, "See you tomorrow, Darling."
With a forced smile I replied, "I think your bag is too small dear. You need to bring more with you. At least so it will last you a few weeks. I understand you have already marked out your next husband. He is here to pick you up and take you to his flat."
She looked at me with an expression clearly spelling out 'what are you talking about'. Then when she followed my glance towards Charles, her hand flew to her mouth and she screamed "NOOO ---" and fainted.
Charles sat in his chair, white as a ghost. He looked at Annie lying on the floor, then at me and asked, "What's happening here? I don't understand."
"Well, you wanted to marry her, didn't you? However, you may change your mind when you know she is thirty five, my wife, and mother of two teenagers. If you still want her, you have to wait until the divorce is final, you understand."
"I'm so sorry Sir, I didn't know --she really fooled me," he replied. He got up and walked slowly towards the door, turned towards me, and said as his parting words: "I have to follow Dad's advice Sir, to Mind the Gap!"
There was a moment of silence, then the soft 'click' as the front door closed.
I would like to thank my editor 'gwen5465' for her assistance. She does indeed find my grammatical blunders. Thank you.