Just BE YOU

Ken

4

As Rita pulled up to work she was grateful that her boss Ken was out of town this week and Sharon was gone until Wednesday, this gave her two days by herself.She was still processing all that had happened yesterday with Francine. It was awesome to not be the only one who knew about the magical magazine, plus it had really created a special bond between her and Francine. After Frank came bounding into the room they had all three visited for awhile then Frank left to fix himself some breakfast. There was a lot going on for Frank since it was his senior year of high school, college applications, trying to even decide if he wanted to go to college, school work, graduation stuff, prom coming up, the list just seemed to grow everyday. Rita was glad he still played computer games with his friends, for it allowed him some carefree time. He was good about keeping things balanced which she had learned was unusual when she talked with other parents.

Parking the car, Rita grabbed her stuff and headed into the office. It was a gorgeous day, lunch outside for sure today. It had been a tough decision, but Rita had left the magazine at home so that Francine could look at it if she wanted. At the end of the week they went back to their dad’s so she wanted to give her daughter as much time as possible to explore with it. Besides she was still making her list of ideas and feeling into them as the magical page had suggested.

Before she could sit down at her desk the phone lit up. Looking at the caller identification she noticed it was Ken her boss. “Better get that,” she thought as she reached down for the phone, no time to put on the headset.

“Hello, YouXin Fresh Foods, Rita speaking,” she answered.

“Good morning Rita, sorry to call so early, just getting ready to board the plane and wanted to check in before I took off,” stated Ken. 

“I was just turning the computer on,” responded Rita, “Is there something you need me to check or do,” she asked.

“When you get a chance can you email me the copies of the agreements with the two new farms Sharon signed on last week. I want to share them with the Chinese office,” Ken asked.

“Sure, I’ll email as soon as the computer is up and ready. They will be there and waiting when you land in San Francisco,” stated Rita.

“Thank you Rita, I really appreciate it. Have a fabulous day, I will check in after I get to Hong Kong if it is not too late. As always, let me know if you need anything or have any questions, you know the drill” he chuckled as he prepared to hang up. 

“Sounds good Ken, have a safe and relaxing flight. Bye,” she kindly concluded the call. 

Ken placed his phone in the side pocket of his brief case and went up to the security officer in the dedicated line for pre-checked passengers. As a frequent business and first class flyer he rarely had to mess with the lines in the standard check-in. He appreciated this immensely for he always had a tendency to be late, thank goodness today for a speedy and efficient Uber driver.

Ken was not the most organized man. It drove his OCD wife crazy. They were definitely opposites in this area of life. Jesse his wife was extremely organized and punctual. It was a good thing, since she had her own business, a fashion entrepreneur who was always up to date on what was going on in the world with regard to attire and the latest big news in the celeb world. She was why Ken always looked very cosmopolitan. If he had his way, he would wear worn out jeans with a sport coat, simple fun shirt and docker shoes. 

He was aware that people noticed him, for he was a good looking man according to the desires of society. He had so far lived his life within the boxes expected of him, graduating with his MBA from University of California, Berkley, Bachelors from Oregon State in International Business, the list went on and on. He had loved his time at Berkley, he definitely lived on the edge, trying to keep up the GPA, while partying most nights of the week. During that time he finally let go, far enough away from family and old friends, he let loose. The eldest of five, he had always had to be responsible, help out and take care of his younger siblings. Getting his undergraduate degree at an instate nearby university had meant he was still under the watchful and demanding eye of his mom. She had been the belle of her daddy’s eye, a man who owned two of the main businesses in Missoula, Montana. 

Ken was jolted out of his reverie by the loud speaker announcing the pre-boarding for his flight. That was his cue to stand up and get ready to go. He was glad to be leaving Seattle for a week, he was struggling lately with a restlessness he could not figure out. He had a great life, but, for some reason he was not completely happy. 

Sitting down in his assigned seat he asked for coffee with cream and a bottle of water. The flight attendant placed his items on the tray stating, “I”ll gather your coffee cup when we get ready to take off.” “Thank you,” Ken smiled at the young man, as he took his first sip of the warm liquid. Quickly he returned to his meandering thoughts. Being on the plane ironically allowed him to view his life from a birds eye view. He had a beautiful successful wife, who he had met at a restaurant downtown, during a wine dinner for one of his favorite Walla Walla Wineries, Dunham Cellars. Jesse, his wife was a thriving entrepreneur in the fashion world. Her focus was with young woman jetting into the business world, how to dress for success in the man’s world, while still hanging onto elegance and sass. She also consulted with airlines and businesses to streamline the challenges of business travel, focusing intensely on easy to wear and care for clothing. 

Recently they had purchased an amazing downtown condominium that put them within easy walking distance of the Pike Place Market, the vibrant marketplace hub of Seattle. After being together for eight years it was time to make such a move, especially since discussion about children had started to pop up. Ken, felt himself constrict inside, he was not sure he was ready to plunge into being a dad. There had not been enough time for him to enjoy life without caring for his siblings and trying to please his “never happy” mom. That may be why Jesse had been so attractive to him,  she loved her career,  was almost always happy and instead of him taking care of her, she took care of him, a refreshing change in the beginning, now it was wearing out its charm.  

Lately Ken had been struggling with feeling claustrophobic and tied down. There was a huge part of him that was not ready to be tied down with children, much less the noose of the present mortgage. The latter at least was a good investment. Shaking his head, he tried to rattle the discontent from his weary brain. Where was the passion he used to feel for life? The fun? The excitement of running toward a new horizon? 

“Can I take that from you now sir? We are about to take off,” asked the flight attendant.

“Oh sure, sorry, guess I was lost in my own thoughts,” replied Ken appreciatively.

“I will bring you a fresh cup as soon as we are airborne,” smiled the attendant. 

To be continued… 14

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