Lost in thought, Doug moseyed down the sidewalk towards Annie’s. He would likely be early, but, he needed the walk to clear his mind while he processed all that the magazine had stirred up. He was actually still trying to believe that he had spent the morning talking to a magazine, “no one will believe me, they’ll think I really have gone crazy,” he chuckled to himself.
Hearing a child’s giggle he looked up as he passed the small park tucked in behind the library. Abby, the cute little cherub that sat on her mom’s lap upstairs in the library, was giggling in response to her mom’s playful lifting her up into the air. Doug, smiled at the scene, the child looked so happy, carefree and innocent. The young mother seemed very focused on Abby, it was wonderful to see a parent so engaged and present. He could not imagine how she was holding it all together, maybe he had her confused with someone else he saw going into the homeless shelter, he doubted it, for they were both so beautiful, standing out in a crowd with their black curly locks, rosy cheeks and chiseled features.
Tucking his hands in his pockets he kept walking. Soon he stood outside the deli, he decided since it was such a nice day, he would stand outside to wait for Andrew. His brother had always insisted that his full name be used, no Andy for Andrew. While he waited Doug began to ponder why his brother had called him. They used to do this kind of thing all the time before Andrew met Beth. Then when their daughter Angela arrived the opportunities to meet really disappeared. Family gatherings were the only time everyone got together these days. As he realized this, he found himself marveling at how disconnected everyone was, the chaos and demands of life seemed to keep everyone so busy they were missing out on the important stuff.
“Hey Doug,” he heard his brother cheer as he neared.
“Hi Andrew,” he smiled with a reply giving his big brother a hug. “So good to see you.”
They entered the Deli, quickly ordered their traditional faves and located an empty table to sit and catch up.
“How are you,” Andrew inquired looking intently at his brother.
“Oh, I’m okay. Been really struggling to find a job. While I have mostly healed, I can’t yet lift and do all I used to,” he genuinely replied. He found himself surprised that he answered truthfully with ease, normally he stammered over his embarrassment that he was still unemployed and homeless.
“I wish you would take me up on our offer to come and live with us until you get on your feet,” Andrew shared with concern.
“Your house is full enough with Angela still being a small baby. Lots of adjustment and sleepless nights from what everyone says about babies,” responded Doug.
“It is definitely an adjustment, Beth takes on most of it though, so glad she gets to be a stay at home mom for awhile. Yes, sleep is truly challenging, although it is getting better. Everyone tells us a couple more months and it will definitely start to get easier,” Andrew shared with a big glowing smile.
It warmed Doug’s heart to see how happy and proud his brother was, Andrew had always wanted to be a daddy. Whereas he often thought he never wanted children. Who knows maybe someday that thinking would change. People with children sometimes shared with him that it changed quite suddenly, which he found hard to believe.
“I’ll find something soon, then I can get back on my feet,” Doug said to convince himself and his brother.
“Well, that’s part of why I wanted to meet with you. One of the builders I met while helping Beth to close up a few loose ends before Angela was born, contacted me yesterday. He had heard through the grapevine about your woodworking skills. His company is looking for someone with a keen eye, strong skill and the ability to learn, for their high end clients really want quality and workmanship,” Andrew spewed out with great enthusiasm. “If you’re okay with it, I’ll give him your contact information.”
“Wow, am I okay with it, absolutely, that would be incredible,” Doug excitedly responded. “Please give him my number and tell him I’m very interested.”
“I don’t want you to get your hopes too high, this guy owns and manages a really high end building company. As long as your willing to learn, be creative and work hard, it might be the perfect fit, cause you would get to specialize and hone in on craftsmanship,” continued Andrew, knowing that his little brother had been seeking to create a niche for himself in the building world, specifically working with creative wood projects.
“Club sandwich on whole wheat,” asked the server.
“Here,” stated Andrew.” Thank you he smiled as the young woman placed his sandwich and chips before him.
The two boys munched away on their meals while catching up on family, friends and life. There was new hope in the air, a potential job that sounded like everything Doug wanted. Between discovering the magazine and hearing from his brother about this possible opportunity, today was really turning out to be a big surprise.
Doug found himself hoping that lunch would just keep going. The thought of heading back to the library or walking aimlessly on the river path did not appeal to him. He had not realized how much he craved true connection, sharing time with someone who cared and loved him. It was fun to recall stories, learn about Andrew’s growing family, new projects he was working on and getting filled in on his parents. He was not great at communicating with them, it was awkward since he had no new information about his life. They had really wanted him to come and stay with them until he found another job, but, since they had sold their home and downsized to an RV, it was just too cozy and they lived far away right now. He admired their new life, they got to move around, choosing different RV parks to visit and explore. He loved his parents, they had always role modeled doing what you love and working to keep a relationship alive and growing. This was an area of his life he knew he was very fortunate, many of his friends had horrible relationships with their parents and definitely did not view them as positive relationship examples.
Just then, Doug, had an idea. “Hey, I found a cool magazine this morning on building,” he shared as he leaned down to pull the publication from his back pack. He knew this was risky, but, he wanted to see if the magazine would work for his brother. He felt his body get nervous, “what if it did work, what if it didn’t?”
To be continued… 31