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I would like to apologize in advance to my readers. In the retelling of this story it sort of took on a life of its own. Normally my tales are fairly brief and concise, this one however seemed only to grow as I put pen to paper. (Figuratively speaking). Since it did turn out to be rather long I have decided to break it down into several smaller portions both for ease in posting and for reader consumption. That said… I hope you enjoy this longwinded tale. It is a true story, all of this really did happen.
Life is a tapestry, a cloth woven of many different threads that create the whole. This story is a thread, one of many, contributing to the waft and weave that is the Whole cloth, being Jim.
Being Jim Ch.6 Lessons of Life
This story is based entirely on true experiences from my past. Names and a few details have been changed to provide anonymity for those involved. Discretion is a precious commodity and is becoming rarer and rarer every day.
Sometimes to better understand the “whole”, the big picture in its present state you must pick a thread and follow it back through the weave to earlier times or events, to see the interactions that colored that thread or created it. Often one thread is formed from multiple smaller connected threads, much like the cloth is woven from many threads. But isn’t that life? This story reaches back to my time in college. I was working full time mostly in a part time job delivering pizzas to pay for my gas and insurance to allow me to commute to and from school and home. Remember this all happened before cell phones and the internet, cable TV was still in its infancy. The 80’s big hair bands, big hair, a different time.
Wednesday morning dawned calm and still on the farm. It would turn out to be only the calm before the storm however. Up early to tend out livestock only to find out that the storms that blew through yesterday had damaged some fencing so my younger brother and I had to make some repairs. It was nearly eleven o’clock that morning before we got back to the house and I could clean up before heading to town. I was actually not scheduled to work for Dom’s tonight but I would have normally called around to some of the other locations and see if they needed any help. Today however, I had planned on spending time with Maggie or Penny. I realized that I would have to begin classes in a couple of weeks and that would cut way down on any free time I would have. I also had begun to realize that with the changing of the seasons, I’d not be required to mow the teachers’ lawn for much longer. I wondered how I would be able to trade for my tutoring. Perhaps some other form of yard work, trimming hedges or pruning trees would be considered. I would have to bring it up with the ladies and ask if they had any other work that I could do in exchange for my… education. With my book bag with my Dom’s uniform and a couple of changes of clothes to swap out at the Teachers’ house, I passed through the kitchen to grab some toast and kiss my mom goodbye as I left. I thanked my brother for helping me with the fence and he looked at me as if I were a stranger as I waved and said “Later!”
The drive to town was not uneventful. Damn it! On the interstate, halfway between the farm and town I had a blowout on my front passenger side tire. Of all the luck! So I had to pull off to the shoulder of the highway and change my tire. After I got back on the road I pulled off the interstate to the nearest small town and went looking for a new tire to replace my spare. I knew better than to trust running around with no spare. At this point in my life I bought most of my parts for my truck from the numerous junk and scrap yards in the area. They were usually cheaper and hey, there’s nothing wrong with pulling a practically brand new tire off a wrecked vehicle and using it. Hell, it even comes with the wheel. Only thing is you often get pretty dirty rummaging around in a junk yard, even if you’re trying to be careful.
By the time I hit town I was looking at two in the afternoon, and I was starving. I stopped by Dom’s and ordered a small pizza and used the restroom in the back to clean up a bit. I also asked to use the phone and called the Teachers. Maggie picked up after the third ring.
“Maggie? This is Jim. I’m sorry for calling so late but I had a little trouble this morning. I had told Penny that I would be available to come by this morning sometime. Obviously I failed to make it before noon however and I was wondering if perhaps I might stop by this late in the day.” I frowned to myself thinking that I sounded almost as if I were begging. But then I guess I kind of was begging, for forgiveness anyway. Those misgivings were put to rest however when Maggie told me that yes I was welcome to come right on over. I told her I would be there in a few minutes as I was at Dom’s and not far away.
A short time later I was standing on their front porch with my book bag and ringing their doorbell. Maggie beşiktaş escort opened the door with a smile and ushered me inside. Though she was smiling she seemed a bit flustered, her face was slightly flushed and her hair while turned up into a bun as usual had a few stray locks hanging down here and there. She was also holding her dark blue robe closed with one hand, the belt tie trailing loosely at her sides. Maggie took my left hand in her free right hand and led me up the stairs to the kitchen.
“Jim darling, fix yourself a glass of iced tea and have a seat, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” She said with a shy smile and left down the hallway towards her bedroom. Her stockinged feet whispering on the carpet with each foot fall. It wasn’t her room that she entered however, she entered Penny’s. What was that about I wondered? Shaking my head I put my bag down and collected a clean glass and some ice then poured a half a glass of tea then had a seat at the table. I had been sitting for about ten minutes when I heard the bedroom door open and close down the hall, then the bathroom door close a moment later. Predictably the water was turned on in the sink, then off. Once more the bathroom door opened and moments later a bedroom door opened and closed again. You could say that curiosity was beginning to get the best of me as my imagination was in overdrive wondering just what was going on. I knew that the ladies lived together and both had told me that they compared notes and shared with one another all things concerning their… students. But I wondered if perhaps they shared more than just notes. Not that it was any of my business, I mean to each his own… or her own I guess. It was about this time that I heard a bedroom door down the hall open again and hushed voices speaking. I couldn’t quite make out what was being said but I could identify Penny’s voice, and Maggie’s. I stood up as they stepped into the doorway into the kitchen, and was met by three smiling faces.
Maggie and Penny were standing there with a vision. At that instant time stopped, or rather slowed down to a near stop anyway. For a moment, a split second maybe, I thought it was Michelle. The girl looked so much like Michelle it was startling. She was the same height, she was dressed in the same school girl uniform that I had seen Michelle wearing on two occasions here at this very house, she had the same curly auburn hair… and she had the same blue green… turquoise really, eyes. No, not the same, Michelle’s eyes had flecks of gold but this girl’s eyes did not, and her eyebrows were perhaps a little heavier. That’s not to say she wasn’t a stunner, she was… well… beautiful in her own way. And she smiled. It was a familiar smile, or at least it felt like it to me at that moment, it was a little shy and uncertain, but not forced. Both the smile and the eyes screamed interest and perhaps curiosity. I didn’t miss that Penny was holding one of her hands and Maggie the other either. Out of the corner of my eye or rather my peripheral vision as I was taking all this in I saw that Maggie looked between Penny, this girl and myself as if weighing the situation. Whatever her conclusion, she broke my spell and time returned to normal speed as she reached out her empty hand for mine.
“Jim, darling, this is Terry. Terry, this is Jim, he like yourself is one of our students. I am so happy that you two have had this opportunity to meet. I know it’s a shame that it is so brief but perhaps sometime in the future you may run into one another again.” Maggie made the introduction and by doing so also informed both myself and Terry that each understood that the other could be trusted with our knowledge of the other’s… Studies. I remember smiling meekly at Terry and nodding my head in greeting and she in return blinking slowly and nodding briefly as well. Penny took over from that point and led Terry to the stairs and down to the door. Maggie on the other hand held onto my hand and pulled me to the doorway in sight of the two. I didn’t realize that she had actually wanted me to witness Penny and Terry kissing. Wow! I knew exactly the kind of kiss they were sharing as I myself had shared the same with Penny and Maggie on multiple occasions. What I did not understand was why I was meant to witness the kissing. I looked sidelong at Maggie and noted that she was studying me intently, and then I saw that Terry had opened her eyes and saw me. Her eyes went wide and took on a worried expression before Penny realized what was happening and leaned in and whispered something in her ear. Terry pulled back a bit looking into Penny’s eyes then back up at me, and then she nodded and smiled nervously before she stepped out through the door Penny had opened.
Maggie led me silently back into the kitchen and motioned for me to resume my seat at the table. She then went about putting a kettle on to boil and setting out three cups and saucers on the table. Penny came into the kitchen and motioned for etiler escort me to remain sitting before I could stand up. She smiled and then walked over to the sink where Maggie was standing with her back to me. Penny wrapped an arm around Maggie’s waist and leaned her head on Maggie’s shoulder, Maggie in turn leaned her head against Penny’s and they stood like that for several long moments. Now I didn’t know the whole story but I sensed the emotions and the support that both gave to the other. I was witnessing a very private moment and I was touched. After a bit the kettle began to whistle and the spell was broken, the two parted and Maggie and Penny both wiped an eye. Penny came to the table, going around my chair, pausing to lay a hand on my shoulder for a moment then continuing on around to pull out her chair and sit. Maggie brought the kettle over to the table and poured water into the three cups then returned it to the stove top before seating herself to my right. Both ladies remained silent as they went about putting tea bags into the cups and spooning sugar as well, they both seemed lost in silent contemplation and I didn’t want to intrude despite my curiosity. Both, as I said were affected but I would have to say that Maggie seemed to be taking whatever had them so pensive much more to heart. I looked from one to the other waiting for one or the other to break the silence, eventually it was Miss Penny.
“Jim, darling, you must have questions I’m sure, thank you for being patient with us. I understand you had a bit of difficulty today.” She stirred her tea as she waited for me to speak.
“Just a lot of aggravation really, I had to attend to some damage to some fencing on the farm as a result of yesterday’s storms.” I saw Penny wince at this mention, then a slow half smile as she recalled the events of yesterday. “I also had a blow out of a tire on my pick up as I drove to town, that repair and then finding a replacement for my spare definitely side tracked me for a while.” I sighed. “Some days are challenging to say the least.” I lamented. Maggie looked up at this and smirked and nodded as if I had spoken a common wisdom.
“Forgive me Jim, I’m just a little emotional this afternoon. You see, the young lady you just met, Terry is…” Maggie paused taking a deep breath and swallowing before continuing. “…was another one of our students. She is very dear to both Penny and I, much in the same way has you have become to us.” She added with a smile, Penny reached over and patted the top of my hand and smiled as well. “Today was Terry’s last lesson with us. You might say that she has graduated. Penny and I have grown so fond of her and we are so proud of her growth and success, she will be missed.” Maggie’s hand shook ever so slightly as she picked up her cup and blew across the hot tea before taking a sip.
“Maggie, I can come back another time if you like, I don’t mean to intrude or anything…” I began, honestly ready to leave the two to their emotions if they would prefer.
“Oh nonsense! You don’t need to go anywhere darling.” Penny spoke up as she playfully swatted my hand in mock reprimand. “Just give us two old ladies a moment or two to collect ourselves.” She added watching Maggie intently. I had the impression that Penny was more than a little concerned with Maggie’s state of mind, and or emotions. I myself was picking up waves of tension radiating from her as if it were heat from a hot stove. I’m not sure what possessed me or came over me at that moment, maybe it was empathy or some basic instinct that I wasn’t even aware of before but I stood up and walked behind Maggie’s chair and laid both hands softly on her shoulders. Maggie tensed and froze for a moment or two but as I began to slowly but firmly knead her shoulders and neck she seemed to relax as she realized that I was only trying to comfort her. She actually leaned her head back into my chest briefly, her hands coming to rest in her lap as she submitted to my manipulations. I glanced over at Penny and she sat still in her chair, both hands still holding her tea cup, her jaw slightly agape with a look of wonder on her face that slowly morphed into a warm soft smile. I might have been imagining it but I could almost swear that her eyes watered up momentarily before she blinked several times and sipped her tea.
After a few minutes Maggie reached one hand up and patted one of mine and leaned her head over to rest on that hand momentarily before turning and kissing the back of my hand. I gave her shoulder one last squeeze before resuming my seat. Maggie looked at me with those warm amber eyes and smiled before saying.
“Thank you Jim, darling, that was kind of you. Tell me, what possessed you to do that?” She asked, her head tilting slightly to one side.
“Honestly Maggie, I’m not sure… I, well I felt, in my heart that you were in some sort of pain, you seemed so tense. I just thought that you should be hugged, or touched somehow to be reassured taksim escort that everything was okay. I’m sorry if I was too forward.” I added softly, my head down a bit as if waiting to be reprimanded. Instead, Maggie just looked at me long and silently, studying me, finally simply smiled that warm soft smile again and nodded her head closing her eyes for a few moments. When she reopened her eyes they were clear and it seemed if Maggie was back to her usual self. She looked across the table at Penny who was studying Maggie as well, with one eye brow arched in silent question.
“Penny, could you work with this gentleman this afternoon? I think I will go lie down for a bit.” Maggie asked in a voice that was uncharacteristically meek, at least to my ears. Penny simply nodded with a sad understanding smile. Maggie rose from her chair but paused as she passed my own, she placed one hand on my shoulder before continuing on out of the kitchen and down the hall. I watched Penny closely as Maggie made her exit, she looked somewhat lost in thought as she idly stirred her half empty tea cup. Finally Penny looked up at me before she too stood up.
“She will be okay Jim, I’m afraid that both she and I do get somewhat attached to our students, some more than others. Maggie was very fond of Terry. Ordinarily once we’ve concluded our teaching we stay in contact with our graduates. We learned today however that young Miss Terry is moving far away, she was accepted at a University out of state. We are happy for her of course, but sad as well. I feel like you understand that somehow though. You do continue to amaze both Maggie and myself with your maturity and surprisingly your empathy. You are not only observant but you have a very big heart it seems.” Penny chatted away as she gathered up the tea cups and saucers along with the spoons to place them in the sink. Coming back over to stand behind my chair she put her hands on my shoulders and in a similar fashion as I had with Maggie she began massaging my shoulders. She leaned down and kissed the top of my head then whispered near my ear. “Thank you for reaching out to Maggie, it really meant a lot to her… and to me. Now, come with me.” She commanded, waiting for me to stand up and then taking my hand to lead me to the stairs. I followed her down the first flight to the landing then down the second flight to the beaded curtain and then beyond. Instead of turning left into the “classroom”, Penny led me to the right and to the only door on the right side of the short hall.
Opening the door and reaching in to turn on the light switch, Penny led me in and then turned to close the door. I took in the room, it was larger than either her own or Maggie’s bedrooms upstairs, it was more like a hotel suite than a bedroom. To the right of the doorway were three bookcases full of books and a few nick knacks. There was a console television sitting catty cornered in the corner, next to it a standing floor lamp with a small side table under it beside a comfortable looking wing backed easy chair with a matching ottoman. A couple of feet further along the wall to the right was an antique wet bar with glassed cased doors behind which stood a variety of spirits, along with glasses. There was another end table in the corner to the left of the wet bar, next to an older rumpled looking sofa along the next wall facing the door and the television. To the left of the doorway was an antique china cabinet with more books and some decorative plates and serving ware against the wall, a small dining table sat beneath a very plain hanging leaded glass shaded light fixture.
Beyond the table was an open doorway leading into a small galley kitchen with a small stove, a counter with a sink, and of course a refrigerator. Another open doorway exited the galley kitchen into the next room beyond the wall behind the sofa, it was a bedroom. A large closet took up most of the wall to the left of the doorway with multiple accordion style doors. Along the wall immediately to the right of the doorway was a long low dresser, scattered across the top were an antique radio, an old fishing tackle box, a large ornate amber glass ash tray with a pipe stand in the center complete with several pipes. There were several tins with different tobaccos I assumed behind the clean empty ashtray. There were also several framed pictures propped up. As I looked closer I saw the images of a smiling young couple holding hands in one picture, arm in arm in other pictures. They both seemed to be happy and obviously in love, the same two people at different ages. It dawned on me that the girl in these pictures was Maggie. WOW! I thought she was a very sensual and attractive woman as she was now, but it would appear that in her youth she was simply a knock out!
Penny still hadn’t said anything, she continued to let me simply take it all in, perhaps she was waiting on me to ask a question, or she was still lost in thought herself. To the left of the dresser in the corner was an old steamer trunk with a quilt folded up and resting atop of it. There was a queen sized bed with a bookcase headboard centered along the wall between matching low night stands on either side. Along the far wall was a tilted drafting table with the hooded work light centered over it, to the left a low table with more books and a reading lamp with a low soft easy chair.
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