Friday, March 1, 2019
With his foot bouncing a hundred miles an hour on the lower rung of the stool, Jimmy asked Al, “You alright? Please don’t mind me for asking. You seemed a little upset with Gracie.” “Oh, I’m alright I guess,” Al said, “I just think Gracie does too much for me. I’ll talk with her tonight.” Jimmy laughed and said, “That’s exactly what she said, that the two of you would talk tonight.”
Walking into the living room Al found Gracie sitting in Ray’s chair. A sense of sadness welled up in his heart. He thought, “She will always be drawn to that chair. The smell of Ray’s after shave and tobacco will linger for a long time.” He sat on the edge of the sofa just a few feet from her. “Gracie,” he said, “I want to apologize for what I said at the office. What I really wanted to express to you was, I think you do too much for me. You cook most of my meals, you have been doing my laundry.”
Gracie started to tear up. A moment later she looked at Al and said, “It has been hard these weeks and months, you know, losing Ray. He was such a large part of my life. We loved our work here. For years it was Ray that worked hard. He didn’t want me to work. But, when we came here it was different for both of us. Ray wanted me to work, and we were a great team. I think when I lost Ray I still needed to take care of somebody. I guess that was you.”
Getting up from the sofa, Al walked over to Gracie. Looking intensely at her he said, “I miss Ray. He will always be a very important person in my life. He allowed me to come here, and I will be forever grateful. By coming here I got to know you. You are such an important person to me right now. Please forgive me for being sharp with my words. You are the last person I would want to hurt.” By this time both friends were wiping away tears. Before getting up, Al took both of Gracie’s hands in his and kissed the back of them, “I love you,” he said.