“Happy New Year!”
” I wanted to take a moment to say a deep heartfelt Thank You to my followers and those who have read my stories. It is because of you I continue what I am doing.”
I wish all of you health and happiness for 2023!
~ Angel & Bella ~
( Advanced Level )
The last two and a half years were tough for everyone around the world. John and Elizabeth were no exception.
John had lost his job of eighteen years, losing his pension, which he hoped to get in two years. Due to the strict measures put in place and his wife’s long stint in the hospital after testing positive, their future plans abruptly came to a halt. Due to exorbitant hospital bills, their lifelong savings were depleted.
They sat at the kitchen table eating their breakfast in silence. John was busy going through the morning newspaper. Elizabeth stared out the window deep in thought.
The silence broke “Honey, what should we do for New Year’s Eve? It is two days away. The kids are busy with their own plans and our friends have made their own plans.” She looked over at her husband who sat opposite her.
John curled down the edges of the newspaper, and looked up as he answered, “It has been a difficult year for us Lizzy. I think we should stay home and spend a quiet night at home.” with great disappointment, she nodded in affirmation.
This answer is not quite what she wanted to hear. Spending almost a month and a half in the hospital she looks at life differently now. She was lucky. Not all of their friends were as lucky.
On the other hand, John felt disappointed. He lost the job he loved. All his dreams for their retirement years vanished and he had no control over the situation.
“John, we cannot look back at what we had. We cannot change things. Think about it. I would like to at least have a dinner here and invite a few friends over. Then we can tune into the TV as they drop the ball in New York. Promise me you will think about it?”
It was John’s turn to nod. He agreed to consider having dinner with a few friends. “I will.” They finished breakfast in silence. Lizzy cleared the dishes as John retired to the front porch so he could read the rest of the morning paper.
Elizabeth finished the morning dishes and started straightening up the house. John had finished reading the articles in the paper that caught his interest. He sat with the newspaper folded on his lap. His thoughts drifted to his conversation with his wife.
When Lizzy finished what she was doing she joined John on the porch. Living in Florida in December was an advantage. The morning weather was comfortable. She sat on the chair adjacent to her husband admiring the neighbor’s Christmas decorations.
John broke the silence,” Lizzy, it won’t hurt to invite a few couples over for a New Year’s eve dinner. Maybe you can make your famous lasagna and have garlic bread.”
Elizabeth smiled at her husband, “Great! I have to call our friends then and head to the supermarket.” She stood and kissed her husband on the forehead. “Do you need anything while I am out?”
She didn’t wait for his answer. She needed to arrange everything and head to the store. During any holidays stores are a madhouse to navigate around with the crowds of people.
John was watching an old western movie on the TV when Elizabeth returned with groceries. He helped carry them in. “I invited Brett, Marge, Sam, and Linda over for dinner for New Year’s Eve..”
“It will be nice to see Sam. I haven’t seen him in a while. If you don’t need me I think I will take a walk to the park. I need the fresh air.”
Elizabeth was already busy setting out all the ingredients for her lasagna that she didn’t answer. John was used to this. He smiled and headed out the door.
John sat on a park bench watching people pass by. There were mothers with their children, older women exercising along with men like himself filling up their day with idle talk with friends.
He thought how lucky he was to still have his wife in his life. He may have lost her when she was in the hospital. He couldn’t imagine life without her especially after being together for over thirty-two years. This was the deciding factor for the green light to have a few close friends over for dinner.
After thirty minutes or so, John headed home. It was getting close to lunchtime. When he arrived, his wife was busy setting out soup bowls. She had made a simple creamy potato and broccoli soup for dinner.
“Great timing. I just finished the soup. I hope you don’t mind since I have a big dinner to cook tomorrow. We can eat what is left for our dinner tonight.” John gave her a quick kiss.”
“Just let me wash my hands and I will be back in a few minutes. “ Lizzy set the soup pot on the table along with a sleeve of crackers. They exchanged small talk as they ate lunch.
The day flew by for Elizabeth. She was preoccupied with making sure tomorrow’s dinner was excellent. She too, had thought about how lucky she was to be able to walk out of the hospital.
There were days when she felt about giving up. Her breathing was labored but John’s words struck a nerve. “Honey, I need you. Don’t give up.” She knew he would be lost without her. Somehow she mustered the will not to give up which made her husband pleased.
At dinner that evening the two discussed the next evening’s festivities. Lizzy noticed it was her doing all the talking and her husband listening. She looked up more than once smiling at her husband’s selective hearing as she called it. He listened to what he felt was important and tuned out the unimportant.
They headed to bed around nine that evening. John read a little from the crime novel he had been reading as Elizabeth checked the list she made of things that still needed to be done.
John closed his book. Turned off the bedside lamp and said, “Good night.” Elizabeth gave him a kiss on the cheek and uttered “Good night” back to him.
John woke the next morning to find his wife already busy, in the kitchen, with preparations for the night’s occasion. On the table sat the morning newspaper and his coffee cup. Neither of them liked to eat much in the morning. A couple of pieces of toast each was about all they ate.
“Good morning my love, Is there anything you need me to do today?” His wife quickly said “No. I have it all under control.” She turned and smiled at him. He knew she had everything planned out to a T. She had always had a knack for this.
The guests would be arriving around six or six thirty, depending on the traffic so John and Elizabeth had showered around four. Neither wanted to rush at the last minute.
Brett and Marge were the first to arrive. “It is so good to see the both of you. I think it has been close to two years.” Lizzy hugged Marge as John shook her husband’s hand. Marge chimed in, “We felt like prisoners. Enough of this talk though. Let’s enjoy tonight.”
Sam and Linda arrived shortly after. “Sorry we’re late, the traffic was terrible.” “Nonsense, dinner isn’t for another twenty minutes. It’s perfect timing!” Everyone exchanged hugs and handshakes and headed to the living room.
The night couldn’t be more perfect. The dinner was amazing. Everyone had a second helping of lasagna. After the leftovers were put away in the refrigerator, Elizabeth joined everyone in the living room.
John had turned on the television so everyone could watch the celebration in New York., while they engaged in idle talk. Watching the ball drop at midnight welcoming in the new year, whether you watch from the comfort of your own sofa or in person, signifies a new beginning.
Two minutes to midnight, John opened the bottle of wine. He poured everyone a glass getting ready to toast twenty twenty three.
“Ten, nine, eight, seven. six,” each smiled as they counted. “ five, four, three, two, one. Happy New Year!” Glasses clinked and hugs were exchanged.
John turned to his wife, “Happy New Year, my love. We’ve seen thirty – two New Years together and I want another thirty – two.” He hugged her tight. “Me too, John, me too.”
topenwithangel.com “Deafening Silence”
Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen
Thoughts From Angel:
Many people focus on the negatives of the past few years. I did too but I realized there were many things to be thankful for including my health. So many people around the world lost their life.
We reconnected with our immediate family. We rediscovered what is really important to us. Is it the nice car? Or the big house that comes with a costly mortgage?
For me, it is the little things that matter. Your child’s smile. Your spouse’s hug. Or simply enjoying a movie together. You cannot change the past. Accept what you cannot change and move forward.
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no exception – idiom: inclusion
stint – noun: time
abruptly – adverb: suddenly
halt – verb: stop
exorbitant – adjective: unreasonable, too high/ too large
depleted – verb: use up, diminish
deep in thought – adjective – preoccupied
affirmation -noun: confirmation
vanished – verb: disappeared
tune into – phrasal verb: watch or listen to a television
straightening up – phrasal verb: organize or tidy
drifted – verb: less focus on what is in front of you
adjacent – adjective: next to or adjoining
madhouse – noun: extreme confusion
navigate – verb: steer
green light – verb: go ahead with
small talk – noun: unimportant conversation
preoccupied – adjective: distracted
labored – adjective: difficult
struck a nerve – idiom: angry, upset
lost without (her) – idiom: helpless
mustered -verb: collect
selective hearing – adjective: selective auditory attention
preparations – noun: make ready
to a T – idiom: perfectly
knack – noun: an acquired or natural skill at performing a task
idle talk – noun: unimportant talk
toast – verb: to drink by raising one’s glass together with others
Question ( s ):
Are you looking at life differently now? Why?