Keith starts a new conversation now that Glen has left the table. “So, you two have children?”
“Glen has a son. I have three kids of my own: two girls and a boy. They’re somewhere camping with their father this week. I’ve been going insane not knowing where they are or if they know yet. I can’t stop worrying about how my children will hear the news.
“I can’t even get them on the phone. We’re supposed to meet in Seattle, but since planes or trains are out of commission Glen and I are driving from California.”
Keith’s look travels from the wedding band on my hand up to my face. “I see,” he says slowly.
His wife’s next words surprise me again. “I don’t know the particulars (and I suspect I don’t need to) but clearly you and your young man love each other. That’s not a bad thing, Nicole. You’re right: the main thing right now is to reach your children and be with your family. Save the self-recriminations. The rest will sort itself out.”
I can’t speak. I want to thank her and can’t force any words out of my throat.
She’s standing beside my chair with a hand placed on my shoulder when I can bring myself to look back up. “It’s okay. It’s okay, Nicole.”
Joley and Cass watch us without blinking. They stay silent, listening intently as if they know something important is transpiring, as if it’s important that they understand.
We all watch Glen come back in the room. His eyes glitter and I can’t tell if it’s tears from missing Petey. Or being moved by the connection to these four people at the next table. Or a perfect storm of the lives and choices and events that led to Ocean Beaches and a candid conversation about the last time someone believed it could be the end of the world.
Keith smiles as Glen reaches our table. “After eighty plus years on this earth one thing I’m confident about is that answers are seldom pat. And they’re never what we first think. If only life were simple…. And if this is my last night on earth, I’ll have spent it with good people.”
We stand and everyone shakes hands, then hugs. “Don’t skip dessert. You have to try both the cheesecakes. Nectar and ambrosia, I’m telling you. That’s how this lovely evening’s conversation with you two all began,” his smile grows wider. “Life begins and ends happy when it involves food options!”
And with that grounding comment the four of them leave the dining room. Cass hands her grandfather his cane and takes his arm.
© Jadi Campbell 2016. From Grounded. Go to following link to order my books: https://www.amazon.com/author/jadicampbell