A couple of weeks went by and Eveline was sticking to her goal of helping Mr. Cook through the transaction. He didn’t know it but Eveline called the real estate companies to make sure they stayed in touch with him and updated him every step of the way.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cook was up to his usual antics. Oscar was in his usual spot on the window sill looking at the birds in the maple tree. Mr. Cook sat at the table circling good deals he found on boats, and day dreaming about the months he spent with Carol in Bora Bora. He closed his eyes for a moment and could almost feel the tropical breeze on his face, and smell the scent of Carol’s perfume mixed with the salt water.
With the thought of Carol stuck on his mind he got up from his chair and walked toward the bedroom. He sighed before he opened the door knowing that no matter how much time went by, he would never be able to set foot in that room with out feeling overwhelmed with sadness.
He sat down on the bed and closed his eyes while flashes of Carol went through his head. He was in the middle of a daydream when Eveline knocked on the door snapping him back to reality.
“Good afternoon Mr. Cook, I brought some lunch with me, I thought we could celebrate the closing of this transaction over some take out.”
Mr. Cook was torn on his feelings about Eveline. He did not like it when she just showed up out of the blue. It was so rude to assume someone did not have any other plans. However, there was the slightest bit of relief when she showed up. He had been feeling quite lonely and sluggish the past couple of days.
Little Clara hopped out of the car and hustled to the door. She had a navy blue and white striped gift bag in her hand and handed it to Mr. Cook with the biggest smile on her face. For the first time in a long time, Mr. Cook felt a smile coming on as he thanked Clara and welcomed them inside.
He sat down in the reclining chair by the couch and began to open his present. First was a card that had a boat on the front and thanked him for being gracious during the transaction. He felt around the tissue paper until he felt something square shaped. He pulled out a wooden picture frame and in the bottom right corner was a carved ship’s wheel and anchor.
“Clara picked it out for you.”
“It’s for the picture of Carol,” Clara said.
Mr. Cook hadn’t received any sort of gift in a very long time. He was overwhelmed with emotion and even felt a little bit guilty for accepting such a gift from people he barely knew. He also felt bad for being such a grump all the time.
He went downstairs to get the picture of Carol to put in the frame. Eveline got up while he was doing that and went into the kitchen to get plates for the food. Oscar -who was out of the room today- followed her and meowed loudly while he brushed against her leg. She hesitated to pet him after many warnings from Mr. Cook about his temperament. He looked sweet to her, so she bent down to pet him and noticed his water dish was bone dry and he had no food in his bowl. She wondered when the last time was that Mr. Cook fed him.
Carol decided she wanted to warm up the rice, so she opened the microwave and saw a TV dinner that appeared to have been in there overnight. She pulled it out and threw it away as Mr. Cook walked back up the stairs.
Eveline was very concerned about him. She knew he would get mad at her for asking too many questions, especially if they were about his health. Mr. Cook had told her during her previous visit that he hadn’t seen a doctor since the only one he trusted died a couple of years ago.
She searched the kitchen and found the cat food and topped off Oscar’s water dish. When she came out of the kitchen Mr. Cook was telling Clara a story about Bora Bora. The picture of Carol was in the picture frame on the coffee table between them. She wished in that moment that Clara still had her father to tell her stories like this. She imagined how thrilled Clara would be to hear about his time in Africa.
She sighed and while fighting back tears, she told Clara that it was time to go. She put Clara’s coat on and shook Mr. Cook’s hand. He thanked both of them for the gift and apologized for not getting them anything in return.
Eveline thought about Mr. Cook the whole way home. She knew he was 94 and would likely have good and bad days; but something was different today. He didn’t seem as angry; she couldn’t tell if it was because he was warming up to them, or if he just didn’t have the strength to fight any longer. In a funny way, she kind of enjoyed Mr. Cook’s attitude, and she admired his independence.
She was up most of the night, and before she fell asleep she decided that she was going to go back there every day that she could to check on him and make sure he was ok.
To be continued..