I was delighted to receive another guest post from American writer and blogger, Abbie. A short story that was previously published in a magazine.
To read more from Abbie, follow this link to her site.
JUST MY LUCK
by Abbie Johnson Taylor
The weekend after I was laid off from my job as a high school guidance counselor, my husband Charles and I went skiing. I took a flying leap off a small hill and landed spread-eagled in the snow, my skis pointing in one direction, my poles in another. My right knee was badly twisted.
On Monday, my birthday, Charles said he had out of town business that couldn’t wait. After promising to return late Friday night and kissing me on the cheek, he was out the door. Here I was, with no job, no husband, and no one to take care of me. I lay on the living room couch and wallowed in self-pity, while watching a mindless game show on television.
When the doorbell rang, I struggled to my feet, picked up my crutches, and hobbled to answer it. Reaching for the doorknob, I heard a thud, then two men yelling and punching each other. When I opened the door, I gasped at the sight in front of me. A box of fruit lay torn open on the porch. Planters were broken, and pears had rolled everywhere. Two guys were fighting and yelling. A UPS truck was parked in the driveway, and a sport utility vehicle stood on the street directly in front of the house.
“What’s going on?” I yelled.
The two men stopped and looked at me sheepishly. One of them handed me a business card that read “Doug Ross, Certified Massage Therapist.”
“Teresa Redford?” he said.
“Happy birthday. Your husband arranged for me to give you a massage today.”
The UPS driver said, “I also have a delivery for you. It looks like a subscription to a fruit of the month club.” His gaze shifted to the smashed pears on the porch.
“And you guys were fighting over who would make the first delivery?” They looked at each other and shrugged.
“Oh, for Heaven’s sake,” I said. “Come in out of the cold.”
They followed me into the kitchen, where I started making coffee. The massage therapist put a hand on my shoulder. “Sit down. I’ll do that.”
“I’ll clean up the mess on the porch,” the UPS driver said. “You’ll be reimbursed for what was broken. I’m really sorry.”
A few minutes later, we were drinking coffee and eating pears that weren’t too badly damaged. “Would you guys like to tell me what’s on your minds?” I asked.
The UPS driver said, “Doug and I have been friends for years. A couple of months ago, I met the most incredible woman. I made the mistake of introducing her to him. Now, she’s seeing him and wants to break up with me. But you know what, Doug? You can have her. I found someone better.”
“Glad we got past that one, Brent,” Doug said. “Still friends?”
“Still friends.” The two shook hands.
For the price Charles paid for one massage, Doug gave me daily treatments, paying special attention to my injured knee. Brent also came every day and brought more fresh fruit.
On Monday afternoon when the mail came, I opened Charles’s credit card statement. He usually took care of the bills, but I was bored to tears and sick of game shows, news programs, and soap operas. I was shocked when I saw charges for restaurants where we’d never eaten, a flower shop, a jewelry store, and a hotel in Denver, Colorado. I couldn’t remember the last time Charles gave me flowers or jewelry. His work often took him out of Wyoming. So, the hotel charges probably weren’t suspicious.
On Monday night, I called Charles’s cell and a woman answered, “Hello?”
“Oh, who’s this?” I asked.
“I’m Melanie.” She giggled.
“I’m sorry,” I said, not surprised. “I was trying to reach Charles Redford. I’m his wife. I must have the wrong number.”
After that, Doug and Brent took turns spending the night. They gave me more than massages and fresh fruit. Charles never called, and I didn’t try to reach him again.
On Friday night, when Brent and Doug both showed up at the same time, I said, “Both of you can have me tonight. Let’s get a pizza and watch a movie.”
When Charles walked in late that night, he found the three of us snuggled on the living room couch, watching Casablanca. Doug was rubbing my injured knee, and Brent’s arm was around my shoulder. A bowl of oranges stood on the coffee table.
As Charles gaped at us, I placed an arm around each of them and kissed Doug, then Brent. “Hi, honey. Did you have a nice time with Melanie?”
Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her work has appeared in The Writer’s Grapevine, The Weekly Avocet, and Magnets and Ladders. Please visit her website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com