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    Ronyx
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Window Stories - 10. Chapter 10

I was awakened in the morning by thunderstorms. I could see lightning coming through the curtains followed by loud thunder. A young aide came into the room to see if I was okay. I asked, “How bad is the storm?”

She replied, “They have a tornado warning for our area.” We both jumped when a bolt of lightning hit just outside the window. The thunder was deafening. Suddenly, we heard tornado warning sirens.

The aide pulled back my sheet and told me to sit on the side of the bed. “I have to take you into the hallway,” she informed me. She pulled the wheelchair up to the bed, and I climbed in. When we entered the hallway, many of the other residents were sitting against the wall with frighted looks on their faces.

Mr. Maxwell, the supervisor, was coming down the hall trying to assure everyone they were safe. “These walls were designed for a tornado,” he informed us. We looked around at one another. The walls may have been designed for a tornado, but our fragile bodies weren’t. We sat for about ten minutes waiting for something to happen. Then, the tornado warnings stopped blaring. Mr. Maxwell disappeared for a minute. When he returned, he assured us that the danger was over. The aides began to take us back to our rooms.

“That was scary,” remarked my aide as she helped me into bed. “I’m glad it’s over.” She walked over to the window and pulled back the curtain. It was still dark and raining, but the lightning seemed to have ended. She patted my hand and told me to relax. “I’ll be back in a minute to take your breakfast order.” She then hurried from the room.

Around nine-thirty, Jason entered the room. “That was some storm, wasn’t it?” he asked.

I replied, “I’ve seen worse.”

“I was caught in it in my car,” he said. “A bolt of lightning hit a tree and fell across the road right in front of me. I almost shit my pants.” I laughed when he reached behind him to see if he had any shit on his pants.

As he wheeled me to the exercise room, he said, “I’m glad it’s Friday.”

I smiled and said, “I bet you are. Don’t you and Colin have a date tomorrow?”

“We don’t have a date,” he replied sharply. “And how do you know about that?”

“Colin told me,” I replied. “He seemed quite excited about it.” He frowned and helped me to my feet to do a walking exercise. “You don’t seem very happy about it.”

He steadied me as I took several steps. I was beginning to gain some strength back in my legs. I was hopeful that someday I might be able to walk again on my own. After several more steps, he had me sit on a bench. He then sat down beside me. He looked over and asked, “What do you think about me and Colin seeing each other?”

I gave him a puzzled look and asked, “Why are you asking me that?”

“I’m scared,” he replied.

“Why? You’re just going to see a movie, aren’t you?”

“Phil,” he replied. “We’ve been talking on the phone every night this week. I think there is some real chemistry between us. But…” He stopped and looked out a window.

“But what?” I asked.

Tears appeared in his eyes as he asked, “What if I’m not good enough for him?”

“Good enough?” I replied. “What are you talking about?”

“Look at me, Phil,” he said as he threw up his arms. “I’m a poor Black guy. I come from the streets. I almost flunked out of high school before I got my shit together. I live in a one-bedroom hellhole apartment. I drive a car that is ten years old. What have I got to offer someone like Colin?”

“What do you mean?”

“Colin comes from a rich family. I get the impression that his father is a millionaire. He’s extremely attractive, and he is probably one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He told me he has a master’s degree, and he wants to go back to school and get a doctor’s degree. He drives a Lexus, and he told me he lives in a high-rise apartment in Jackson Center. Hell, I’d probably get arrested if I walked on that side of town.”

I gave Jason a surprised look and asked, “You’re being serious, aren’t you?”

“I don’t know, Phil,” he replied as tears filled his eyes. “Colin is this really great guy, and I don’t know how I can fit into his world. Can you see him taking me home to meet his parents? They would ask him where he picked the stray up.”

I asked, “Did he tell you any of this?”

“No,” he replied sadly. “He keeps telling me what a great guy he thinks I am.”

I took Jason’s hand and held it. “You are a great guy.” I squeezed it tightly. “I’ve been around people my whole life. I consider myself a good judge of character. You’re a good person, Jason.”

Tears fell down his cheeks as he asked, “But what about my past? The drugs and the hustling.”

I squeezed his hand tightly. “You were young then. You had no control over any of that. You didn’t know what to do. I think Colin likes the guy who dug himself from a hole and started a new beginning.” I squeezed his hand tighter. “You’re a remarkable young man, Jason. Why if I was fifty years younger, I would be asking you out on a date. Colin’s a lucky man.”

“You think so?”

I laughed and pushed him away. “I know so. Now help me up before I kiss you.”

He helped me to my feet and pulled me into a strong embrace. “I love you, Phil,” he muttered softly.

“I know you do,” I responded sadly. I let out a sigh and added, “If only I was fifty years younger.”

He laughed and said, “We got to find you an older man.”

“Are you serious,” I replied as I looked down at my body. “Who would want someone like me?”

His eyes lit up and he asked, “How about that guy we met at Olive Garden the other day? What was his name?”

“You mean Gary?”

“Yeah, Gary,” he responded. “He seemed interested.

“That was twenty years ago.”

“You never know,” he remarked as he helped me into my wheelchair. “He just might still like you.”

“And pigs fly,” I muttered as Jason laughed as we left the room.

I looked at the clock on the wall, and it was after one o’clock. Usually, Colin would have arrived. I closed my eyes to take a brief nap. I awakened when I heard someone sit in the chair beside the bed.

“Hey,” said a smiling Colin. “I’m sorry I’m late, Phil.”

I replied, “It’s okay.” I sat up and faced him. “You know, you’re not obligated to come here every day.”

“I know,” he smiled. “Right now, I’ve scheduled you for daily visits. There may come a point that my patient load gets heavier, and I may have to cut back. But for now, I’ll try to visit every day. I enjoy seeing you.”

“I don’t know why,” I responded. “What could an old geezer like me have in common with a young buck like you.”

“Phil,” he replied somberly. “You don’t know how much your visits are helping me. By just talking to you the past week, I’ve learned more about life and myself than I would ever learn in a classroom.”

“Thanks,” I said appreciatively. “You’re making my boring days a little more interesting too.”

Colin pulled out his notebook and scanned it. “Let me see,” he said. “The last time we talked, you were telling me about your son and how your wife died.” He closed the book. “You didn’t tell me why you decided to leave Eloise.”

I glanced over at the window and saw a sad Eloise peeking in. I closed my eyes and took a deep sigh. “It wasn’t easy,” I replied. “It shattered all our lives. It’s not something I’m proud of today.” I looked out the window as tears fell down Eloise’s cheeks.

I sat up in bed and remained silent for a few minutes. Colin waited patiently for me to begin my story. “For several months,” I began, “I became a real bastard. I did everything I could to make Eloise hate me. We fought constantly. I knew I couldn’t just walk out with her still in love with me. So, I tried to make her hate me.”

“It sounds cruel,” said Colin.

“It was,” I replied sadly. “Today, I’m ashamed of what I did. But at the time, it seemed like the only way I could leave. I provoked her into hating me. We would argue and call each other names. By the time I left, she was happy to see me go. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve spent thinking about what an asshole I was. If I had it to do all over again, I would do it differently.”

“How?”

“I would be a man about it,” I replied sadly. “I wouldn’t walk out making Eloise think that she was the cause of my leaving.” I looked again out the window at Eloise.

Colin asked, “Did she ever find out the truth?”

“Yes,” I sighed. “She did.”

“How?”

“About two years after our divorce,” I replied, “I met a man named Larry. We dated for about a year, but we never lived together.” I looked at Colin, laughed and said, “But the sex was good.” I laughed louder when Colin’s face turned a bright red.

“Too much information,” he laughed.

“I didn’t want to get out of one relationship and jump into another,” I said. “Larry filled the void. He wasn’t looking for a relationship either. We’d go out to the gay bars and then go back to one of our places for a late-night romp.” Again, Colin’s face reddened.

“How did Eloise finally find out?”

“Roger was about ten at the time,” I replied. “I had visitation rights. I usually had him every other weekend. One time I got my days mixed up, and Eloise showed up with Roger. I was taking a shower, and Larry answered the door. He was just wearing a robe. Eloise refused to leave Roger with him, so she left. Later that night, she called me. She wanted to know who came to the door. I tried to lie, but Eloise was smart. She had figured it out. She asked me if I was gay.”

Colin shook his head and said, “I bet that was a difficult conversation.” I looked out the window at Eloise.

“It was probably one of the most difficult talks I’ve ever had,” I said sadly. “She went on for an hour how I had deceived her. She cried and called me every name she could think of. I just sat and listened. I knew I deserved it. When she finally slammed the phone down, I left my apartment and headed to a nearby bar. I got drunk, came home and passed out on the bathroom floor. I don’t think I had ever been so depressed in my life.” Tears welled up in my eyes as I added, “I even considered suicide that night.”

Colin shook his head and responded with a sad, “Sorry, Phil.”

I sat for several minutes just staring out the window. Eloise had left. The sky outside was dark and ominous. It appeared like it was getting ready to storm. Colin broke the silence when he asked, “Did she ever forgive you?”

I sighed and replied, “I don’t know if she ever forgave me. She did come to understand. Gay people were beginning to talk about their sex lives on television talk shows. Eloise and I would talk on the phone to make arrangements for me to pick up Roger. Once, she started telling me about this guy who was on one of the shows she had watched. She said it made her realize a lot of things. I didn’t pursue it, because I didn’t want to hurt her anymore.”

“When did Roger find out?”

I looked out the window and saw a teen boy glaring at me. I shook my head and told Colin, “That will be for another day. I’m just not up to it today.”

“Alright,” agreed Colin. He looked at his watch and said, “I have an idea. It’s only three. Why don’t we go to the phone store and get you a phone?”

“Right now?” I asked.

“Sure,” he smiled. “I’ll go sign you out. He walked over to my closet and looked inside. He returned with a shirt and pair of pants. He then looked into a drawer and handed me a clean pair of socks. “Get dressed while I’m gone.”

I didn’t want to go. Except for the dinner with him and Jason, I hadn’t left the building. Reluctantly, I dressed and waited for Colin to return. He entered pushing a wheelchair. Mr. Maxwell was following him.

“Phil,” he said as he shook my hand. “I’m glad to see you becoming more active. Mr. Anderson seems to be doing a wonderful job.”

He looked at Colin and smiled. “Just take it easy with Phil. I trust that you know his limitations. If you run into a problem, call me.” He reached into his pocket and handed Colin his business card. He nodded his head and turned to leave.

Colin asked, “Are you ready?”

“Do I have a choice,” I grumbled. I was conflicted. I felt safe in my room. On the other hand, I’ve always been an independent person. Lying in a bed was making me feel like my life was a waste. At least getting out would make me feel more like a man again.

“Nope,” laughed Colin as he helped me into the wheelchair.

I enjoyed being out once again. We passed by many places that were familiar to me. We passed a grocery store that I had shopped at for years. I wondered if the same clerks were still working there. I also wondered if Jose was still the butcher. He was a handsome man, and we used to flirt with one another. I never pursued it because I was getting older, and I didn’t feel that a man like him would be interested.

We pulled up in front of the store and Colin helped me out. When we entered, a cute young clerk rushed over to us. “May I help you?” he asked as he smiled at Colin. Colin nervously stammered out that he was here to help me pick out a phone.

“Okay,” the young man replied. He had on a company badge that said his name was Dwayne. He appeared to be about twenty. His hair was blonde, tapered on the sides and flipped into curls on the top. His left pinky finger was painted purple. I had no idea what that was. He appeared to be flirting with Colin.

He took us over to the phones and spent the next ten minutes showing me the special features of each phone. I really wasn’t interested. All I wanted was a phone to receive calls from Colin and to occasionally surf websites. When I counseled students, I often referred them to certain story sites. Before my stroke, I had been following a few good stories. I was hoping to be able to return to finish them.

When Dwayne briefly walked away, Colin asked me how much I wanted to pay for a phone and the services. Some phones cost over a thousand dollars. I told him I didn’t need anything fancy. “How much can you afford?” he asked.

“Son,” I laughed. “I can afford to buy every phone in this case.” His eyes widened as he nodded his head. “I’ll let you decide. I don’t have much experience with these things. All I want is one that will let me go online and visit a few sites. Nothing more. I don’t need one of those fancy gadgets that do everything except cooks your meals.” Colin laughed and nodded his head.

Colin asked, “Would you like to get a laptop computer while we are here?”

“That would be great,” I said. “I asked one of the aides if there is Wi-Fi at the center, and she said there is. I just need a password to use it.”

“Great,” responded Colin. “Since you don’t want to do anything but surf websites, I think a Chromebook laptop would be what you need.” I told him I agreed. I just wanted something simple.

When Dwayne returned, he and Colin stepped a few feet away. Colin pointed to a phone, and they discussed it for a few more minutes. They returned and Dwayne said he needed some information from me. I spent the next few minutes giving him my personal information. Colin listened in and helped me if I didn’t understand anything. When we finished, Dwayne returned with the phone in a bag and handed it to me. He then discussed the terms of the agreement. When he handed me the bill, I was stunned. The phone cost $359, and the laptop was $299. I paid for the phone and laptop and signed up for the $40 monthly wireless plan. Colin told me he would help me set up an easy pay account with my bank. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about making monthly payments myself.

As we were getting ready to leave, Dwayne pulled Colin aside. I watched as he handed Colin his business card and told him to call him sometime. As we were driving back to the facility, I teased him about it.

“Dwayne seemed like a nice young man,” I said. I smiled and added, “What is Jason going to say about that?”

Colin’s face reddened. “What are you talking about?”

“Jason,” I replied. “The handsome hunk back at the center who you happen to have a date with tonight.”

“I’m not going to see Dwayne,” nervously stammered Colin.

I laughed and said, “Then why did you take his number?”

“He gave it to me,” he insisted.

We pulled into the parking lot, and Colin helped me into my wheelchair. As he pushed me toward my room, he stopped in front of a trash can. He pulled out Dwayne’s business card, showed it to me and then tore it into pieces. As he pushed me back into my room, he mumbled, “Happy now?”

“Jason will be,” I replied with a laugh.

Colin spent the next hour showing me how to use my new phone. Since it wasn’t the first I had owned, I knew how it worked. However, Colin insisted that there were many new features I wasn’t familiar with. He wanted to set up an app to my bank account so I could have money available if I wanted, but I told him I had no use for it. I owned nothing, and I didn’t have any payments. My fees here at the center were handled by my bank. I knew very little about it, and I really didn’t care.

“Didn’t you say you have a home?” he asked. “What about your mortgage payment?”

I replied, “The house if paid for. I have an accountant who pays the taxes and writes checks to the home management company. They regularly check on the house and keep up the maintenance like lawn care.”

Colin asked, “Why don’t you just sell it?”

“For months after coming here,” I responded, “I felt I might be able to return to it someday.” I looked down at my legs. “I know that will never happen. It’s too big for me to get around in anymore. I’m beginning to consider a small apartment.”

“Jason seems hopeful that you may be able to live alone,” he informed me. “You know you can depend on me to check on you.” He smiled and said, “I’ll add my name to your contacts.” He put in his phone number and email address. “Is there anyone else you want to add?”

I made a gesture around the room. “Sure,” I replied sarcastically. “Add all these people.” He laughed and handed me back my phone.

He looked at his watch and said he had to be going. “That’s right,” I said jokingly. “Big date tonight.”

“It’s not a date,” he insisted. “Jason and I are just going to dinner and see a movie.”

I laughed and replied, “Sounds like a date to me.” Colin moved his chair closer to my bed and glanced over at the door.

“Can I ask you something, Phil?”

“Yeah, sure. You know you can ask me anything.”

His face reddened as he asked, “Do you think Jason likes me?”

“Okay,” I replied hesitantly. “I can’t break a trust. But I’ll tell you this. You have nothing to worry about.”

“So, he’s talked to you about me?” I smiled and pretended to lock my lips. He nodded and rose from his seat. “I better be going.”

As he was walking out the door, he suddenly turned. “By the way,” he asked. “Did you tell Jason to call me Bougie Boy?”

I laughed loudly and pretended to lock my lips and throw away the key. “Bye,” he smiled as he left the room.

I looked out the window and saw the sun shining brightly.

I hope you're enjoying Window Stories. Thanks for reading. :thankyou:
Copyright © 2024 Ronyx; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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