Monday, January 3, 2022

OCTOBER BOLD - Chapter26

 

    When disappointment had her feeling sorry for herself, and her new and emboldened vision seemed out of reach, was there a way to help her see the truth of it?

    If he was unwilling to initiate a renewed conversation, would that require her to be the 'brave and bold' one? Did she have that in her?




                         Chapter 26


The early November weather had moderated. Saturday morning dawned brisk and clear, ideal for a morning walk. Taking advantage of what was bound to be an increasingly rare sunny day, Angie and Marian met at Granger Hill Park to stretch their legs and catch up on the latest news.

At least that was Angie’s intent. Except for her brief call to arrange their walk, the two of them had not visited since she talked to Jason earlier in the week. 

Now, however, Marian’s stubborn silence seemed likely to stifle any meaningful dialogue. During the first minutes of their stroll Angie offered a variety of conversational possibilities....the weather, her work, Marian’s Hawaiian holiday. At every turn she was thwarted by her friend’s quiet indifference.

Finally, as they crested the gentle knoll at the north end of the park, Angie took Marian’s arm and pulled her to a stop. “Are you going to tell me what this is about?” she asked. “I came here expecting a nice visit. All I’m getting is your grumpy attitude.”

“I’m sorry. I guess I’m not very sociable today.”

“I don’t believe that for a minute.” By then Angie was prepared to offer her own diagnosis. “Seems to me you’re feeling sorry for yourself. That’s what I think it is. I also believe that’s really stupid. It doesn’t do any good at all.”

Marian appeared ready to argue Angie’s conclusions until, on second thought, she set that possibility aside. “I don’t know if I’m feeling sorry for myself, or just frustrated," she admitted. "I flew off to Maui promising myself that I would turn over a new leaf....that it was time for me to be brave and bold, like I’d never been before. I told myself that I was through being such a wallflower, standing to the side while life passed me by.

“But then, I got to Hawaii and before I knew it I’d let Reggie take advantage of me. When I finally realized what was happening I just kind of quit. Truth is, I'm not sure that I have it in me to be brave or bold.”

“Maybe you just haven’t found the right reason,” Angie suggested as she nudged Marian forward. A minute later they were walking slower as she weighed the wisdom of what came next. 

“If you’ll remember,” she continued. “A few weeks back David took the bull by the horns and came all the way to Tanner just to see you. Did that strike you as being brave and bold?”

“I suppose I believed it was. But that’s who I thought he was. Besides, you saw how that turned out. It was just another one of those dumb ideas. Seems like they must be going around this year.”

Angie nodded, then asked, “So, can you tell me what would it look like if Marian was to turn brave and bold?”

Chewing her lip, Marian was left without a ready reply, at least one she was willing to share with Angie. “I don’t know,” she finally muttered. “I’ve tried on a few ideas of how it would be. But so far none of them seem to fit.”

Repeating her own words to herself, Marian was ready to move on....to leave those sad memories and unanswered questions behind. Angie, however, was not about to let her escape so easily.

“What if I had an idea that fits you just right? Like a glove. Would that help?”

“How would you know what fits me?”

A trailside bench, a few yards ahead, caught Angie’s eye. Without bothering to answer Marian’s question she led them there. A moment later she sat fidgeting with her watch....preparing to spring her surprise, wondering how Marian would react.

“I know this idea fits,” she said. “Because you told me before that it did.” Raising a hand, she held off Marian’s frowning complaint. Then, with no further preliminaries, she announced, “I called Jason the other day. You know, David’s friend.”

“Why on earth would you do that?”

“Marian. You’ve been feeling sorry for yourself for weeks. And it’s not getting any better. You’ve been in the dumps because you’re sure that David doesn’t care a bean about you.”

“Well, it’s true. He doesn’t. He took one look at me and ran away as fast as he could. But anyway, what does that matter?”

“I wasn’t sure that it did. But I wanted to know if your conclusions were correct. I decided that a few minutes spent visiting with Jason might help me know whether you were right or wrong about David.”

There was no need to rehash all the details. Angie had already decided she would reveal only the basics. Beyond that, if Marian wanted to know more, she would have to find out for herself.

“Here’s what I learned,” Angie said. “Number one....David had a very bad accident. He fell off a ladder. There were lots of broken bones. Apparently his recuperation will take a long time.”

“Is he going to be okay?” There was no concealing Marian’s concern.

“I believe so.” Angie was grinning now, ready to spring the good part of her surprise. “But at the same time Jason told me that David has been moping around, just like some lady I know. 

"And that’s because he misses that lady and wishes there was a way for the two of them to get together....though he’s absolutely convinced that could never happen....because she doesn’t care a bean about him.”

Marian had inched forward to the edge of the bench, soaking up Angie’s surprising revelation. “Where did he get that silly idea?” she finally asked. “Anyway, are you saying he still wants that to happen?”

“According to Jason he does. But he’s pretty sure that David is not ready to make the first move. It seems he can’t believe it would work...that you’re just not ready to hear what he wants to say.” 

Patting Marian’s knee Angie had said her piece and was ready to move on. “Anyway, that’s what my exploration turned up. I thought you ought to know. Now, why don’t we start back to the cars?”


      ~~~


For two restless nights and two long days Marian played and replayed Angie’s trailside revelation.... accepting the possibility of David’s continued interest as a welcome, yet unsettling surprise. Could Angie’s information be right? Could a future that included David be the ‘fit”’she was seeking?

Beyond that basic question there were other disconcerting elements of Angie’s report. Not only was David recovering from a serious accident, he was apparently still mired in the hurt of his aborted Tanner visit. Yet, according to Jason, he was unlikely to initiate a renewed conversation. Did that mean it would be up to her to take the first step forward? Could she do that? To even try would certainly take her beyond her comfort zone. 

Small wonder the uncharacteristic mind games Marian had played and replayed during the last two days, the ones that assumed a new blend of bravery and boldness, had her on edge.

In more normal times the unfamiliar anxiety of creating a ‘fit’ would probably have been too much for her fragile self-confidence....enough to put an end to such dreams. 

But these were not ‘normal times.’ Weeks of frustration and disappointment in her own timidity were providing new incentive. For the first time she could remember, Marian was unwilling to settle for the easy way out.

One by one she reviewed her options, weighing the pros and cons, until finally she had settled on the most audacious choice of all. Never in all her life had she considered such an ‘unMarian’ course of action. Yet, true to Angie’s assessment, it seemed necessary. Uncomfortable or not, it felt like a ‘fit.’

A quick internet search produced David Larmer’s Indian Falls phone number and Marian was ready for step one of her plan. At that point she hurried on, afraid that waiting would lead to a loss of nerve. Almost before she realized what was happening the ringing dial tone ended and a deep male voice had answered her call.

“Hello. Larmer residence. Can I help you?”

Marian took an instant to recalibrate. “You’re not David.”

“No ma’am. He’s in the other room. Would you like to talk to him.?”

“Of course. Why else would I have called?” She paused, then added, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so abrupt. Would you tell him it’s Marian?”

“Marian?,” Jerry repeated. “I believe I’ve heard that name mentioned before. And I’m guessing he’ll be surprised to hear it’s you.”

“I hope so.”

“Hold on just a minute. I’ll get him.”

“Who is it?” David asked as he took the cellphone Jerry handed him. He was frowning in disbelief as Jerry mouthed his reply. Then, a moment later, “Marian? Is that really you?”

“Of course it is. I hope you don’t mind. I’d hate to have you mad at me all over again.”

David took a moment to settle back in his recliner, soaking up a wave of unexpected relief. “I don’t mind at all,” he said. “It’s just a bit surprising. Besides, I never was mad at you.”

Pausing to summon the courage she had promised herself, Marian plowed ahead. “Good. The thing is, I heard that you’d had an accident. I wanted to call and be sure you’re alright.” 

She waited a few seconds for his response. Hearing none, she carried on. “Angie called your friend Jason the other day. He was the one who told her about that. Anyway, I hope you’re okay.”

“Yeah. I’m okay.” The notion of Angie and Jason talking again had captured his attention. Why would they do that? A moment later David’s need for answers had been pushed aside by the pleasant realization that he was talking to Marian, and she seemed to care about his situation. 

“Actually,” he continued. “I can’t do much of anything. I spend most of the day just setting here ....except for when I take short walks around the house. They tell me that broken ribs take a while to mend. About all I can do is stay quiet and let them heal.”

“At least you’re back in Indian Falls,” Marian noted. “I'm told that you were recuperating somewhere else for a while. Seems like being home would make it easier to find a friendly nurse to help out. That would help make the time pass, wouldn’t it?”

At that moment Jerry entered the room to place a glass of water and a tiny pill on the TV tray next to David’s recliner. David was grinning at his friend as he explained to Marian, “I’ve got Jerry to keep me going. He’s not as pretty as some nurses. But in Indian Falls a fellow can’t be too fussy.”

“So what’s ahead? What are you going to do?”

“I don’t have to worry that for a while. The guys are planning to head south pretty soon, down to the Gulf. But I won’t be going with them. Like always, they’ll be roughing it, and I’m not up to that. The doctor says I’m on limited duty for another month or two. Hopefully by then I’ll have figured something out.”

“Look,” she said. “I mustn’t wear you out. I’m just glad that I worked up the nerve to call. If it’s okay I’ll probably to it again.”

“That would be nice. Assuming you have a break in your busy country club social calendar.”

“I’ll make time. I promise. So you take care.”


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