Annie & Jack After Forty

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Chapter 4


I sip my coffee and sit by my apartment window, watching two little girls play hopscotch. My efficiency room apartment is in a safe building looking out over the parking lot. It’s not much, but it’s all I need for a year. It’s across the street from a bus stop, and I get to watch little girls playing hopscotch and jumping rope in the parking lot. These are all things to be thankful for. I’ve made it through the year anniversary of Laura’s death. I’ll make it through the year anniversary of Jenny’s next month.

I need to get up and get myself moving and away from thinking about things I can’t control. My phone rings, it’s my cousin Derek. “I’m so happy for you. Aunt Betty told me last night about your first major job. I gave her the days I can help you guys out,” I say as my way of greeting him. I’m so excited for him.

“How would you feel about quitting your waitressing gig?” he asks.

I sigh, “No way, I could maybe, work the schedule to be able to help more, but there’s no way I can afford to quit. I should be able to work a lot, though. I finally graduated to nights, so this is good timing.”

“Even for fifteen bucks an hour, six days a week for three full months, possibly four if she decides to do the pool house?”

I do the math in my head. That’s excellent steady money. But I have the potential to make excellent tips at The Stardust now that I'm getting more dinner shifts and weekend nights. I need to figure out a way to do both.

“Just waitress on the weekends, hell, that’s the best time, isn’t it?”

“Yes, especially at The Stardust, but they have a lot of college kids and recent graduates as waitresses and waiters who only work the weekend shifts. Let me see what I can work out with Karen, the manager. I’ll call you after my shift this afternoon, okay? Derek, I’m so happy that this project came through for you guys. Do you think it could go four full months?” I ask him. I genuinely am happy for him; I know he’ll be successful with this new venture.

“Yes, with us full time and Maranda part-time. The house is five thousand square feet, and hopefully, the eight-hundred-square-foot pool house. Every single room is getting paint and wallpaper removal. She doesn’t live there full time, so she wants it done top to bottom while she out of the house this winter.”

“How much wallpaper are we talking?” I ask him. Wallpaper can be a bear to remove.

“Removal on four bedrooms and baths and replace them with paint. Remove the paper from the entryway and stairway and repaper it. Remove the paper from the kitchen and dining room, paint the kitchen, and repaper the dining room. Every single room needs to be painted, ceiling, woodwork, something. She’s not concerned about time; she only wants a few people at the house since no one lives there full time. She mentioned her sons live in the city but spend time out at her house. She understands it will take us longer with only the three of us. Mom and Dad wrote out the quote and had two meetings with her. It’s great news, Annie.”

“Okay, I’m super excited. I’ll call you tonight after work. I’ll see if I can make this happen so I can be the full-time help, not the part-time.”

We talk a little longer about the possibility of this being the break he needs to get this business up and going. I hang up feeling hopeful and grateful for Derek, my family.

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