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Sorting Out The Aftermath

Early August, 1985

He had spent several weeks in a depressed state, going through the motions of daily existence. Twenty seven years old, shoulder length hair unkempt beard, ghostly white in mid summer, he felt like a shadow of himself. Chain smoking Parliaments and filling his glass with Scotch, he had forgotten how to dream. At 2:30 on Friday afternoon he contemplated ditching work, but decided he’d do this last  gig working the Children’s Home.

Something pushed him to wash up, throw on a clean tshirt, and drive to the Children’s Group Home”. He popped the Simple Minds cassette “Once Upon A Time” into the car deck and sped his 1983 Pontiac Phoenix past Mino’s Roast Beast to the group home. He felt like he was going through the motions but the kids were genuinely happy to see him, and it made him feel a trifle better that he had pushed his broken spirit and hung over body into the car. Around 3:30 Carol Ann arrived, ripped jeans, and a faded t shirt framed by the fact everything else about her was fresher than April rain. He was smitten, and his attitude adjustment was instant. Work was actual fun that night, the shift flew by. The kids were put to bed and before midnight he was sipping Jack Daniels and Perrier with Carol Ann, sharing his Parliaments when she ran out of Newports. Carol Ann rolled and lit up a joint blowing smoke rings he couldn’t try to outdo. He sucked in a hit and passed it back to her, trading puffs and stories. He wanted to kiss her and they were close enough. “How old are you?” he asked, not sure if he really wanted an honest answer. “Guess”, Carol Ann replied. “Around 19?” he ventured. “Around there” she smiled. “Your turn” she said “You guess” he replied. “Uh-around 25?” she asked.  “Yeah, around there…” he answered, gulping the last of the Jack Daniels. Carol Ann leaned forward to kiss him and he drew her closer. A wild ride was starting. “Tomorrow we take the kids to Canobie Lake Park”, she said softly. “Do you like roller coasters?” “Totally love them” he answered.  He would come to totally love her too before the night was done.

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