Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 36

Annie

I’m riding the bus to work, completely lost in my thoughts. I spent twenty-four hours a day with Jenny, never working except for the few times when Laura was healthy enough to babysit. I never left their side; taking care of them was my whole, entire life. I should, and can compromise more for Jack, during this time of our lives. I can still work towards my goal of saving money but give in some, to the man I love, during this unbelievable career accomplishment of a lifetime. I need to give up working so many places and focus on him, and this time in his life and enjoy watching him succeed. I’m proud that he has chosen me to stand by his side in this journey.

I need to face up to some fears I have about Jack. He’s so complicated. His intelligence is intimidating, his former and current life in New York intimidates me. I feel comfortable with him here at home in Ohio. It’s not hard because we seclude ourselves away from the world. It’s so relaxed when we are together. It’s him reading, working at the table, and me binge-watching episodes of shows I want to watch or reading romance novels. He makes sarcastic comments about my TV choices, but I’ve caught him paying attention to Quantum Leap one rainy weekend. It was one of Laura’s favorite shows, and some days, I like to binge a season.

It doesn’t bother him that I’m a bonafide TV addict. My mama always had it on. TV taught her about the world when she moved to Memphis, and she was forever hooked. Jack hasn’t lived with the TV on since college. He informed me a while back. He’s lived a life where he didn’t watch or own a TV, at all, that still blows my mind. Being trapped in a hospital or at home snuggled in enjoying a peaceful time, it was always around a TV. Not one of his past girlfriends seemed to have cared. I think it’s fascinating but sad; it’s a travesty to our wonderful world of film and entertainment.

He’s had three relationships. In all of them, he made clear from the beginning he had no plans to ever marry. He’s never said those words to me, but he had no problem telling me that he made it clear to all three of them. I think that’s his way of telling me the same, not to expect anything more than what we currently have, which is beyond amazing. I don’t need to marry him, but honestly, deep down, it doesn’t make me feel very secure. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but those feelings are there, rooted in my being. Mama and Laura are overruling my rational mind. They were both very conservative. Even though I live happily, a little more towards the center about most things, I still hear their voices all the time in my head.

I still fear, I don’t know how long I can keep him interested in me. Even thinking that thought tells me many things about myself and my relationship with Jack. Who do I want to become? Who am I? It’s questions I haven’t asked myself since childhood. Mama and our plans were taken from me, and then I became Brian’s wife and Laura’s caretaker. After Jenny blessed us, I became her full-time champion.

Goodness, I need to shake myself out of my funky mood tonight. Thank God, this is my bus stop. I get off the bus and try to clear my head before I walk into the doors to The Stardust.

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