A week had come and gone since the impromptu luncheon date and I had nearly forgotten the incident that had been the inspiration. My life had just taken a new and exciting turn and I now had a new love interest. I know, an old warhorse like me shouldn’t have even thought it a good thing. But love is blind, and I was in need of some feminine company. Of course, I am a perfect gentleman so she had no problems with our arrangement.
It was a casual thing at first, the dating I mean. And we went out mainly to have company, so there was nothing really serious. Just the way I liked it. no entanglements to cause concern later.
She was happy to have my company, and I was happy to have hers. It was a mutual interest right from the start. As we got to know each other, we found that we liked a lot of the same things. Dancing. Museums. Theater. Movies. Books.
Right from the start, we began planning each future outing. We even scheduled in a picnic or two. And some concerts. But nothing had been said about Thanksgiving.
I was growing concerned, but did not want to frighten her. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday, aside from Christmas. It was one of the only times I let myself indulge. After all, it only came once a year. And it was always a family affair. But I had no family anymore.
Another year of rehydrated Turkey cutlets didn’t sound all that appealing for some reason. Maybe because I was hoping that I had someone to share it all with. If I did, then I could afford to buy a real turkey with all the fixings. And real turkey sounded better than the alternative.
We met on our usual Tuesday, and she could see I had something on my mind. “What is it, Hon?”
I looked at her. “I don’t wanna impose.”
She smiled. “You won’t be.” She reached out and touched my hand.
I took hers in mine. “I was thinking about why we haven’t discussed Thanksgiving. Do you have family you usually go and visit?”
She smiled. “No, my dad died a couple years ago and mom–well, mom doesn’t see anyone. after dad’s death, she went crazy.” She turned away. “I haven’t seen my sister since the accident, and my brother blames me for daddy’s death.”
I was mystified. “Why?”
She turned to me, her eyes filled with tears. “I was driving when it happened, at least that is how they prefer it to be. Daddy was sick and I was taking him to the hospital. I had barely gotten him to the emergency when the accident happened. Someone rammed the car from behind. But that was not what killed daddy. He was already in the emergency room getting help. I was just coming out to move the car out of the ambulance lane when it happened. Totaled the car.
“Daddy died an hour later, but they already had their minds made up that he died in the car. Sissy had me stripped of my driver’s license, and my brother tried to have me put behind bars. The medical examiner proved that I was not at fault for daddy’s death through the records from the emergency room.”
I softly squeezed her hand. “Was your father Thomas Morand?”
She looked up at me, surprised. “Yes but, how’d you know?”
I smiled. “I was the chaplain on call for the hospital that night. I saw everything. But they never called me to witness. I also knew your dad from his time in the service. A wonderful man and very capable leader.”
She suddenly smiled at me, despite her distress. “Just how old are you?”
I looked at her and smiled. “I was a young buck when I met your father. It was his last tour, my first.” I looked down at my leg. “And last. I was only 20 and freshly married to a woman who didn’t like military or those associated with it. Neither did her family. Made my life hell after I returned.
“Our daughter had just been born and I had rushed into the marriage to give her a father. I thought it my duty as a man to care for my own. The military came knocking, and I went to take care of my civic duty. When I came back, I was only–half a man. I had lost an arm a leg, and the right half of my face in an explosion. But the docs on the line saved me and gave me implants. My right eye is a digi-eye. My right arm and leg are both cybernetic and covered by synthetically grown cloned skin and muscles so I don’t scare the kiddies.” I winked at her. “But my ex-wife continually emasculated me by telling me I had also lost my…balls, as well. I let her until I had enough set back to divorce her on grounds of cruelty. I haven’t seen my daughter or granddaughter since.”
She looked at me. “That is so sad. But why did your friend say that I reminded you of your granddaughter?”
I looked back up into her eyes. “Probably because I have constantly told him that she would be your age now. And that is true. But I have never seen her. I can only imagine that she would be like you. I can only hope.”
She smiled and moved closer. “I hope so too.” She was now sitting right beside me with her head on my shoulder. “I think we ought to spend Thanksgiving together. I mean, neither of us have anywhere to go and I hate being alone.”
I put my arm around her. “Neither do I.” I looked around at her slyly.
She nuzzled my shoulder, then lifted her lips to mine. “What about tonight?” her lips met mine.
I felt a sudden flicker of a grin play across my lips. “I don’t have a damn thing to do, My Love. Why do you ask?”
She smiled. “I was just wondering if you wanted to share the night with me, soldier.”
I could suddenly tell where we were headed. I smiled back at her. “As long as you are inviting me, I have no problem with that.”