It’s Five for Friday time and today’s pages are from Do Over!
Faith Wainwright felt her mind wandering as she sat in her childhood home, listening to Mother talk about nothing in particular. Her gaze traveled around the living room of the home she’d grown up in. She hadn’t lived in this house in over twenty-five years and yet, the memories made here were vividly etched in her mind. She smiled when she spotted the tick marks on the doorjamb between the living room and the kitchen. A lifetime of initials and dates marking the growth spurts of her and her two sisters were still there.
Since her husband Troy’s work transfer nearly twelve years ago, she didn’t get to visit her mother as often as she liked. Even though it was only a three-hour drive, real life seemed to limit her opportunities to come back home and lately she’d been feeling homesick. Something she’d never suffered from since she and Troy had packed up the kids and thirteen years’ worth of shit and headed south.
Of course, she hadn’t had the time to miss her sleepy little hometown during those years. Every moment of them had been filled with work and Little League, proms and high-school graduations. Now both of her kids—and a fair amount of her money—were in college and the home away from home she and Troy had built was empty, quiet. Suddenly she had too much time for homesickness.
She’d been in a funk ever since they’d packed their youngest up and dropped her off at college. The hierarchy of her world was out of whack—her kids had always come first—and now she wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. When Troy suggested this weekend excursion back home, she’d jumped at the chance, hoping the trip would clear her mind, give her some idea of where to go now. And if not, at the very least, she hoped it would distract her from her doldrums for a while.
“Well, that’s enough about me,” her mother said, interrupting her thoughts, and Faith felt guilty for not listening. “I can see your mind is elsewhere. What’s going on with you?”
“I miss the kids. I’m so lonely.” Faith blurted the words out before she could even think to shield them and the emotion surrounding them.
“Oh, Faith. I wondered when the empty-nest syndrome would hit you. You took Jackson’s departure for college in stride, never missing a beat.”
Faith shrugged. “Jenna was still home and God knows she didn’t give me time to miss Jackson, as every spare moment was spent driving her to track meets and volleyball games.”
“You raised your kids, Faith, and you did a damn good job of it. There’s nothing wrong with missing them, but it’s time you figured out how to take a little time for yourself. And it’s not as if you’re totally alone. You’ve got that big, strapping husband at home there.”
Faith laughed at her mother’s description of Troy. She’d certainly been lucky in the husband pool. While most forty-three-year-old men were balding and sporting spare tires around the middle, her husband still had a full head of salt-and-pepper hair and a body most men a decade younger would envy. His job as a construction worker made it easy for him to keep his muscular physique, but Troy helped it along by exercising and eating right. A three-season athlete in high school, he’d passed the competitive spirit along to their children. Playing sports with the kids had kept Troy young and vibrant all these years, and Faith thought he was more handsome now then he’d been when they first started dating.
“Troy doesn’t seem to be struggling with this like I am,” Faith confessed. “He’s always busy—in and out of work. He’s in the midst of a big project at one of the construction sites and he plays golf on Sundays, fishes in the pond behind our house a couple nights a week to relieve some of the stress of his job. He’s just fine. You know Troy—nothing fazes him.” Her husband was a rock—solid, reliable and so damn steady, she felt like shaking the hell out of him sometimes just to see if anything inside rattled.
Deborah nodded and said nothing—a sure sign her mother didn’t agree with her assessment.
“Okay,” Faith said, “let’s have it. What’s wrong with what I just said?”
“Sometimes it’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own hurt that we miss little signs along the way that show someone else is suffering too.”
“Troy?” Her loud single-word question was laced with disbelief. When Faith accompanied it with a single snort, her mother simply shook her head.
“Yes, Troy. That husband of yours sees and feels a hell of a lot more than you give him credit for, Faith.”
“I’m not saying he’s an insensitive clod, Mom. I’m just saying he’s not as bothered by Jackson and Jenna leaving as I am.”
“And what would you have him do? Cry inconsolably on the floor for weeks on end? Has Troy ever done that?”
Faith almost laughed at the thought of Troy in tears. She could only recall two times when she’d seen him choke up a bit and that was when their children were born. “Troy doesn’t cry. He’s a man’s man. Caveman to the core.”
“So strong men don’t have feelings?”
Faith shook her head. “That’s not what I’m saying at all. Troy just handles things differently than me and sometimes,” she paused, trying to put her words together in a way that would make sense, “sometimes I feel alone even when we’re in the same room. Whenever I try to talk to him, I feel like my words are getting mixed up with the hockey announcer’s voice and he doesn’t understand anything I’m saying as a result.”
“I think he hears and understands more than you—” Deborah’s voice was cut off by the doorbell ringing.
“Are you expecting company?” Faith asked.
Deborah shook her head. “No. Would you do me a favor and get that, dear? My sciatica’s been acting up all morning.”
Faith stood up, but didn’t move away from her mother. “I didn’t know you were hurting. Why didn’t you say anything?”
“It’s nothing, sweetheart. Just a part of getting older.” Her mother gestured to the front door. “Go on. Don’t worry about me.”
Faith walked to the front foyer and opened the door, surprised to find Troy waiting on the doorstep. He’d dropped her off at her mother’s house as soon as they rolled into town around noon, promising to return later this evening. He’d made plans to hit the golf course with his dad and a couple of buddies from high school. She glanced at her watch. Two o’clock. “That was the quickest eighteen holes in the history of the game. What happened?”
“Didn’t actually make it to the course. I had a few other errands to run.” He bent down to pick up a duffel bag by his feet. “Go upstairs and put this on. Throw your bathroom bag back in this duffel and meet me in the living room. Fifteen minutes,” he added with a wink. “Not a second longer or I’m coming up to get you.”
“What on earth are you—”
“Oh, and no questions.” He handed her the bag, walking past her toward the living room. She watched him place a friendly kiss on her mother’s cheek. “Hiya, Deb. How are you doing?”
“Troy,” Faith said from the doorway, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Her husband never strayed from a schedule and he’d had this golf date set for weeks.
“Faith,” her mother said with a grin that let her know whatever was going on, Deborah was privy to it. “Go upstairs and change. You don’t have a lot of time.”
“Time for what?” Faith asked.
Troy turned to look at her. “What part of no questions are you struggling with?”
Faith narrowed her eyes, and then gave in, turning to climb the stairs. However, she made sure to mutter the
And that’s where page 5 leaves off! LOL