Honey, I’m Home

I met Papa Ray years ago when he ran the Blues Machine Pub and Restaurant down on East Beach. I didn’t know who he was; he was usually inebriated. Our conversations were blurry. His alcohol-laden words were strung together and made little sense. I would walk away shaking my head. Rumors circulated that the police frequently picked him up as he stumbled down Sunset Drive. They all knew where he lived and just drove him home. Who knew that he would be a rock, and I would be the trouble maker?

He joined Alcoholics Anonymous and I met up with him after a long absence, after he celebrated his Fourth Year Cake, an accomplishment for anyone who drank for as long as they can remember. I encountered him on the Promenade, one hot summer Sunday. He still had that rambling speech and I leaned in, trying to catch his words. He wasn’t a tall man, yet he walked purposefully and dressed impeccably. He was a businessman with a cell phone that rang constantly, and he spoke urgently into it, as he weaved through tourist crowds that milled on the pier.

Our third meeting was memorable. After telling me of his business escapades (which included an offshore operation that led to disciplinary action from the government) he stopped suddenly and pointed up at two recently constructed towers. In our sleepy seaside hamlet, the citizens rallied and fought against the development. They used signs and endless debates at City Hall. No one, it seemed, wanted any change to our skyline. The two complex towers were sixteen floors each. Any taller would be a monstrosity. Citizens feared the project would lead to more of the same and the town would lose its quaint charm.

“I don’t like it, Adrienne,” Papa Ray declared.

I looked to the distant bluff where the buildings stood like fortresses.

“I fought against it,” he continued. “Look. It creates shadows. Where there was sunshine on Main Street, now there are shadows.”

This intrigued me—shadows.

I looked back down the wooden pier and saw our own shadows stretched out on the surface.

 

By Christmas, I was spending most of my days and nights at his cabin on the Bay—only a few miles from where I lived. I didn’t give up my place, but I wasn’t going home much. I moved my pots and pans over. I was making Christmas dinner there and Papa Ray, like most bachelors, didn’t have what was needed for a festive feast. I carried in my good china, silverware, and tablecloth. He helped me set up an artificial tree that I bought years ago (gorgeous, once decorated) and I felt domestic contentment.

His cabin was a tear-down, but I found it delightful with a huge picture window and a view of the ocean among tall, snow-laden cedars. I would come home after work and make huge pots of chili, or spaghetti, and set the table for two, candles and napkins made the setting perfect. I recall one night I nearly burnt the cabin down. I had chili bubbling on high in the kitchen and I sat at his computer desk in the living room. Madly typing at the keyboard, I lost all sense of time and completely forgot about dinner cooking. (Who didn’t see where this was going?) I smelled smoke and looked up to see the place was filling with it. Dinner was destroyed. The cooking pot, which happened to be his, was now ruined and I set it out on the front step—where Papa Ray would not likely see it—until I could dispose of the evidence next day. I opened all the windows, the door, and cool winter air rushed in. I checked the time—he was due in half an hour. Just enough time for me to wash and curl my hair.

I was sitting on the couch wrapping a strand around a hot roller when I looked up to see him in the doorway grinning. He held a can of air freshener in his hand.

“When I turned the corner, Adrienne, I saw all the doors were open. I thought, ‘Oh no! What’s going on?’ To be honest, I felt like an episode of I Love Lucy. I was a little afraid to walk in here and see what Lucy was up to today!” He chuckled. I batted my eyes. The smell of burnt chili lingered for days.

 

Honey, I’m Home © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Read the latest Adrienne adventure in romance on Now.readthisplease.

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *