Saturday, April 13, 2013

365 Jobs: Happiness, Last Chance

December, 1986

Happiness, Last Chance

After the divorce, I helped Cory move a 900-pound piano from the big old house to a funky little cottage that he'd rented nearby.  There I met a shy, skinny woman.  "This is my lover, Melissa," Cory said by way of introduction. 

Cory was in his sixties.  An engineer who'd survived cancer.  Retired.

Melissa, lover, looked a little younger, fifty-something.

When we'd wheeled the piano into place, Melissa said, "That's it?"

Other than the piano, Cory had brought one suitcase.  "That's it," he said.  He'd given everything to his ex-wife: house, furniture, all earthly possessions.  He would start anew.

Melissa, apparently, was starting over as well.  In the living room there was weight-lifting equipment and nothing more.  In the bedroom I could see a mattress on the floor.  The walls were all bare.

Cory limped into the kitchen.  He'd injured his leg in a bicycle accident as a child.  Opening cabinet doors, finding nothing but nutritional drinks, he asked, "Don't you have a single pot?"

"You know I don't eat," Melissa said.

They kissed.  Taped to the refrigerator was their only decoration, a calendar featuring photos of muscular body-building women.

They had equipped the house with their passions, nothing more.   

For a couple years thereafter until Cory's cancer came back, evenings when I was walking my dog by the cottage, I could hear the piano and see the thin shadow of Melissa on the curtains, lifting weights, not eating.  He loved that boogie-woogie.

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