Charlie made his way down to the lobby. The call from reception, informing him that he had an unexpected visitor, peaked his curiosity. He certainly wasn’t expecting anyone, and the receptionist had a sing-song tone to her voice which let Charlie know something was up…something good.
Charlie needed something good. Catherine had been visiting daily, sometimes both in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. Charlie wasn’t one to complain about company, but the visits were beginning to wear on him. Conversation centred on the grief and the remorse Catherine felt. There was a lot of guilt expressed, as Catherine felt she had wasted many years not being as close to her mom as she should have been. This was why she was visiting Charlie so often now. She was scared to lose him too. Charlie spent a lot of time reassuring Catherine and consoling her, all the while, repressing his own grief and sadness. He had to be strong for his daughter. That was his job.
The doors to the elevator opened and Charlie made his way to the sofas in the reception area. A smile spread across his face when he saw his friend. “Lloyd!” Charlie practically shouted. Lloyd let out a chuckle and the two exchanged a giant bear hug.
It had been over a year since the two had seen each other. Lloyd and Marilyn’s search for seniors housing led them to Alabama, of all places. They had found a beautiful residence on the coast, and were enjoying “resort-style” seniors living. Marilyn recently had a heart procedure, which was why they had not been able to attend Hazel’s funeral. “Again, we feel absolutely awful for not being there for you and the family,” Lloyd explained. “Well, you’re here now!” Charlie beamed. “I got here as soon as I knew Marilyn would be fine with me gone for a bit. Things were pretty touch and go there.” Lloyd suddenly cast his gaze down at the floor in embarrassment. “I’m so sorry Charlie, I shouldn’t be focused on what we’ve had going on. How are you holding up?”
Charlie let out a long, deep sigh. “It’s a hard thing Lloyd. I’m sure you understand to a certain extent, having gone through nearly losing Marilyn. But yes, it is very different on the other side of that.” Lloyd gave a meek, understanding smile. “I can’t even imagine Charlie.” Charlie and Lloyd sat for a while and shared their experiences, catching each other up on things.
“Well, I have a bit of an offer for you Charlie,” Lloyd said all of a sudden. “As you know, I’m in town here for a few more days, but I’m not planning on taking the plane home alone.” “Oh?” Charlie asked, surprised. “Charlie, how would you like to come back to Alabama with me for a few weeks? Get some sun, see the ocean, put in a few rounds of golf…get your mind off things here for a little while.” Charlie thought about it for a little while. “Did Catherine put you up to this?” Charlie asked. Lloyd laughed. “I haven’t heard from Catherine since we got the invite to attend the funeral. No, this is all my hair brained scheme. I think Marilyn’s the only other person I mentioned this idea to.”
Charlie smiled. “I think that sounds really fabulous. I could use a break. I’m in!” Lloyd smiled back. “Great, now where can we get a decent steak dinner around here?”
It looks as though Charlie is off for a bit of a vacation. What do you think of Lloyd’s offer? Do you think this will be a good opportunity for Charlie?
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