Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tea and Donuts

The tea party didn't happen on Sunday.  Sandy got a migraine and Carol did something to her back.  When Sandy's husband Tom called to tell me our plans had fallen apart, I ended up talking to him for an hour.  This past year or so, I've begun to think of Tom as just plain Tom and not just half of "Tom 'n Sandy."  I don't know if it's a result of my being un-coupled, or if it's due to witnessing a bit of what Tom's been going through in the personal life/professional life high wire act that everyone in mid-life seems to find increasingly unbalanced.  Some guys go for the full on crisis--sports car, trophy wife, new kids, new wardrobe, an i-pod with an all new soundtrack and think that will fix everything, but Tom has tried a different approach.  He saw that his crazy high stress TV job was going to be his undoing, so he confronted his boss and scaled things back to a manageable size so he could have time to take a deep breath or two. Then he retired.  
Tom was the person who answered the phone the morning the moving van sat parked in my driveway.  I wasn't prepared for what it would feel like to walk away from the house where my husband and I had raised our daughters, the yard I had tinkered with until it was perfect.  I told myself I'd feel so much better when I left; that the pain would lift in new surroundings.  Instead I fell completely apart and woke Tom and Sandy early on a Sunday morning.  He'd played poker on Saturday night and he sounded a little like he still had cards in his hand and a cloud of cigarette smoke over his head.  I could barely talk, but he got the gist of what I was saying.  "Give us an hour and we'll be there," he told me.   And they were---and when they got out of the car, Sandy was carrying a big pink box of donuts.

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