Wednesday, May 2, 2012
"The Lunch Club" -- Jane Anne
She took them and dropped them in her purse. Thank you, God, she prayed. She’d thought she’d have to get Kris and Karen together and talk him out of driving, but he had seen for himself he wasn’t responsible. Of course, he might forget by tomorrow and want his keys back, but she’d handle that when and if the situation arose. She started for home, wondering how a day that started out so promising could go bad in a few short hours. Larry sat and stared out of the window. She didn’t know what he was thinking.
Once home, she shooed Larry into the living room so she could put away the groceries and start supper. When she put her casserole in the oven, she sat at the kitchen table, not wanting to join him yet.
She thought back to when they met. Larry taught a required course in Romance poets and she decided three weeks into the semester she was going to marry him. She was a junior with two years to go before she graduated. There were rules against a professor dating a student, so she bided her time, garnering every scrap of gossip about the handsome bachelor professor. Every time his name was linked with this or that woman her heart sunk. But then, weeks or months later, the rumor would go around they had broken up, and Larry would be free once more.
On the day of her graduation, she excused herself from her parents, who had driven over a hundred miles to see their only child receive her diploma, and gone to Larry’s office.
“I want to take you to dinner tonight,” she’d said.
He’d looked up in bewilderment. Then he’d shrugged. “Why not?”
Later, she decided Larry was too unmotivated to court any of his lady friends with any serious intent and so they gave up hope and moved on. Her daring pursuit had intrigued him.
She’d marched back to her bewildered parents and told them instead of following them home in her tiny VW she was going to stay and find a job near the college. She’d soon found out a degree in English literature opened no doors, so she took a job waiting on tables at O’Hanrahan’s, a bad imitation of an Irish pub. She and Larry married in the fall.
She quit her job and enrolled at Remount Community College where she earned an associate degree in medical record keeping. Upon graduation, she’d taken a position at Remount Community Hospital and gotten pregnant with Karen, in that order.
Surprisingly—not to Jane Anne, but to everyone else—they had been very happy. Every year on their anniversary he thanked her for yanking him out of his academic rut and showing him what life could be. He adored his children, and he adored her. Now, she had to ask herself if it had been worth it.
She sat there until the timer buzzed, jolting her out of her reverie. Then she walked into the living room to call her husband for dinner.