The very young JM had become the ‘adopted’ child of Sophia Kowalski and her husband Aleksander almost from the moment he entered their lives. He and his parents had moved into a street-facing apartment on the upper floor of a building owned by Sophia and her husband. They, in turn, occupied a large apartment on the ground floor.
With her husband having died from prostate cancer, and JM’s mother from breast cancer, Sophia voluntarily accepted responsibility for cooking supper for JM, his father, and herself. However, eating in her kitchen was obligatory.
JM’s father died from liver cancer not long after he began university. With both parents deceased was the recipient of his father’s estate.
JM calculated frugality would play largely in completing university, and still have sufficient funds to establish a small practice. He was fully aware of needing Sophia’s support. Without it, going to university would be a challenge, if not an almost impossible dream.
He was becoming, even at a young age, the ‘go to’ dentist for the wealthy and influential of Boston. His treatments were expensive, but the results were amazing. His success he credited to his late father. Without his coaxing I would never have become a dentist.
Long before entering university, being a prolific reader of anything associated with dentistry helped with the obtaining of his degree. His father developed the habit of going to the public library after work, to collect his young son for supper. Occasionally, JM would be fast asleep, but upright.
Word-of-mouth accolades from his female patients ensured his surgery’s quick growth. His handsome looks, being single, and impeccable chairside manners were contributing factors to why women flocked to his surgery.
Even though Barbara had graduated, she felt compelled to break her promise. Postponing her visit to Boston needed implementing. With her father diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, her parents required her support. JM understood.
With a year almost passed, Barbara’s father was making a full recovery, and JM still resided in the same apartment, although some new furniture made it cosier.
Dusk on Sunday, and JM, with his usual walk to the river and back complete, had entered his building. Although, ringing Barbara was the highlight of his evening.
Sophia was standing in her open doorway as he entered, but her look puzzled him.
“Why don’t you shower and come for dinner. I’ve cooked pasta. Don’t take too long.”
“Okay … but I have to ring Barbara first.”
Sophia just smiled.
Unfortunately, for JM, Barbara’s cell phone went unanswered.
He knocked on Sophia’s door, opened it, and walked into the kitchen.
“I’ll only be a moment, make yourself comfortable. I’m in the living room.”
As Sophia entered the kitchen, he said, “You always look nice.” She’s always trying to look younger than she actually is. Paying her compliments was an enjoyment.
“Thanks, that’s kind of you.”
JM had suspected that his father might have been her lover at one time, although it would definitely have been after her husband’s, and his mother’s demise. His father’s love for his mother was unquestionable, but to live his remaining years without female companionship would have been an inconceivable concept.
“The river’s beautiful. It’s got some fantastic attractions,” JM said. Noticing the table set for three, he turned to face her.
She covered the lower part of her half of face with her hands. Tears flowed.
Barbara was standing in the doorway. “JM,” she said, excitedly, as she ran into his arms. She, too, had tears running down her cheeks.
“I can’t believe it!” He was dismayed.
He held her at arm’s length, admiring her. “It’s a dream come true. Why didn’t you tell me you were coming? I would’ve picked you up from the airport.”
Her glance quickly passed to Sophia.
Realising they had conspired, he said, “Mrs. K, I should be cranky at you. But, under the circumstances, I’ll thank you instead.”
It’s good to see them together, Sophia thought, as she watched their embrace.
Suddenly, images of her wedding night, kiss her husband in public, came into her mind’s eye. Prior to her marriage, both sets of parents frowned upon it. She was witnessing its near re-enactment.
Dinner was an occasion worth celebrating, and it accompanied with plenty of laughter, and a glass or two of champagne from a bottle Sophia had purchased earlier in the day.
The evening was joyous and memorable, but as it neared its conclusion, Sophia literally pushed from her apartment the two lovers.
“I’ll see you two at breakfast.”