Homeless – CHAPTER Epilog

Adult story: Homeless – CHAPTER Epilog

by senorlongo

Jennie had offered me sex—her hand and her mouth–as soon as we left the hospital with Andi. I had looked at her with the total love she deserved, but turned her down flat. “Sex…excuse me, making love is about giving as much as it is taking. I can’t do anything for you now so I plan to abstain until I can–besides you need to rest. God, I never realized what an ordeal giving birth can be.

I was wasted afterwards and all I did was watch.” Jennie laughed hysterically then took my hand. I knew that she’d find a way to tell me when she was ready–the very first second after she had her doctor’s okay. That day came in late January and it was well worth waiting for. We were back to a minimum of once a day from that day forward.

Andrea phoned us as soon as she heard—she had been accepted at Villanova and was given a full scholarship. We did our best to act surprised. We told her that we were extremely pleased for her. Later, we received a phone call from Charlie. “I know you had something to do with it. They told me at Rutgers that my income meant she’d get a partial scholarship at best.” I denied knowledge and responsibility repeatedly until Charlie rang off, saying, “Thanks. I really mean that—thanks so much.”

As promised we did see them at Easter when Andrea asked if we would come to her graduation. She explained that in good weather the rite would be conducted at the football field with unlimited seating. If it rained, only Mom and Dad could actually attend due to restricted seating. We assured her that we’d be there for her big day and we were.

The weather was glorious—mid-eighties with a light breeze coming off the Hudson tidal estuary and the Atlantic. Jennie sat to my right, Andi on my lap looking as cute as a button in her little brimmed cap, and my service dog to my left. Charlie, Toni, and Allison were on the bleachers just in front of us. Charlie thanked me again after the ceremony, but I pleaded total ignorance. Andrea went on to med school, again earning a full scholarship. Allison wasn’t quite the student her sister was, but she also earned a full scholarship to Penn State where she studied Elementary Education.

We remained friends with Charlie and Toni long after their children became productive adults with families of their own. It was on one of our fishing trips that Charlie asked me for help one more time. I promised him that Toni would never lack for anything should he pass on. His thoughts that day seemed prophetic two months later when he suffered a fatal heart attack while at work. Our family spent a full week in Hoboken in support of Toni and his two wonderful daughters. I had mixed emotions when Toni asked if I would speak at the funeral.

“It’s funny how people meet,” I began. “I brought my wife to New York to buy her engagement and wedding rings and one night we went to see the musical ‘Hamilton.’ I had my service dog with me and a woman took exception to sitting next to her even though I had purchased a seat for my dog. Charlie and I struck up a conversation during intermission about that woman’s terrible behavior and I asked if he and Toni would like to join us for a drink after the show. They agreed and thus began the best friendship we’ve ever known. Charlie, Toni, and their daughters are a part of our extended family. Neither Jennie nor I have much of a relationship with our parents for reasons that aren’t important today.

“Charlie and I shared a love of fishing and good food. We also shared a love of our families. Charlie was an excellent role model for me and for his sons-in-law. He loved Toni with all his heart. He loved his daughters and grandchildren every bit as much and he was a man who believed strongly in his God. Good-bye, my friend. I’ll miss you more than I could ever say.”

I returned to the pew and broke down, crying unashamedly while Jennie comforted me. We met at that tiny Italian restaurant later where we celebrated Charlie’s life. Only when everyone had left did I share with Toni the solemn promise I’d made to Charlie. I gave her fifteen million dollars. After taxes she’d have roughly half. That was invested in a tax-free mutual fund that would pay more than three percent—more than $200,000 tax free annually. The money would go to her daughters and their families when she passed.

Jennie gave me three children—Andrea, Brianna, and Jeffery—named after her father who had died much too young. I didn’t pray often, but I prayed then that our children would turn out just half as good as Andrea and Allison did. The schools in North Carolina are only fair. The teachers work hard and do their best, but their salaries are so low that the best and brightest either move to states that pay better or try other more lucrative fields. I didn’t know how a teacher in North Carolina could support a family without a second job. That’s why we looked for housing on Long Island when I went to testify at my parents’ divorce hearing.

Mom’s attorney took a lot of time establishing my intellect and achievements for the court before asking about my relationship with my father. “Essentially, there is no relationship,” I answered. “It died when I was sixteen–the day I walked into his laboratory and saw him engaged in sexual relations with a young woman. He had her bent over the lab table and was driving his erect penis into her even after I announced my presence.

I haven’t spoken to him since.” His attorney tried unsuccessfully to discredit my testimony first by saying that I didn’t know what I had seen; I was too young to know. I laughed in response. Finally, he suggested that I hated my father. “How would you feel if you found your father screwing some woman other than your mother? Of course, I hate him, but not enough to lie about it. I have no reason to lie. I know what I saw. It was exactly what I described here today. He was fucking this young woman and he continued in spite of my presence.” My testimony ended, I got up and walked out the door, but not before hugging my mom and sneering at my so-called father.

Jennie and I spent the next week looking for housing, deciding at last on a large home in exclusive Old Field, the lot abutting Setauket Harbor where there was an old, but serviceable dock. We’d make this our permanent residence to take advantage of the outstanding public schools, but keep the Sunset Beach house for vacations and for use once our children were out of high school.

Jennie hired a decorator and we bought all new furniture, carpets, and decorations for the walls and shelves. We moved in about six months later, establishing our residency well before Andi was ready to attend school. I also bought another boat, making good use of it during Charlie’s and Toni’s frequent visits.

Jennie planned her pregnancies well. Our kids were spaced almost exactly two years apart. I recall Charlie telling me that we had good planning for tax deductions since all of our children had been born near the end of the year. If he only knew; my investment program made money faster than we were able to spend it.

Jennie and I met every December to review the year’s earnings and to decide what to do with them. I typically donated ten million every year to both Harvard and MIT. Jennie found several charities that taught homeless people new job skills, helping them to turn their lives around much as I had done with the homeless man I’d met at the stop sign.

We used my wealth productively in both Myrtle Beach and Long Island, converting older hotels into temporary housing for the homeless. We hired directors and social workers to provide the homeless with direction. The rules were simple—90-day maximum stay, required vocational training, no drugs or alcohol on premises. That last one resulted in forcing more people to leave than anything else. Our expenses came to a bit over five million dollars a year—an excellent investment in our opinion.

Lady had been a major force in the development of our children. I always thought that Andi learned to roll over and crawl because of her love of Lady. Unfortunately, big dogs tend to have severe physical problems as they age and Lady, once a power in our lives, went downhill fast after she turned twelve. The vet told us she was lucky to have lived that long.

It was a sad, sad day for our family when she had to be put down. The kids were excused from school as we paid Lady a final visit before the vet gave her the fatal injection. Jennie took our sobbing children to the waiting room while I stayed with Lady—petting her head and soothing her–to the end. I felt it was the least I could do after all she had done for us. I also knew we’d find a new dog—a shelter dog this time–very soon.

Jennie’s stepfather surprised me. He actually did live to leave prison, getting parole after ten years for reasons of health. He was a broken man, restricted to a wheelchair and needing oxygen; he never tried to track down the woman he’d raped ruthlessly as a child. Personally, I thought he was lucky to be alive in any condition. I knew he’d been beaten at least twice a year on average as reported by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier online.

Jennie maintained her friendship with Amber, her rock during her five years on the road. They spoke often on the phone and emailed photos, especially of our children and hers. We traveled to Waterloo to participate in her wedding to a local lawyer and again when she had their first child, entrusting ours to my mother and her new husband, Paul. He told us that my father went berserk when he learned that Mom had married him. Too bad Jennie and I weren’t there to see it.

Jennie and I had more than enough money to last until the sun died, but we felt that our kids and theirs needed to understand the value of work. They always had chores as kids and summer jobs when they were older and they were always required to do well in class, not that any of them had to struggle. Physically, they took after Jennie, especially the girls, but intellectually they took after me.

They all had nerd IQ’s, well above 140 which is considered genius level. We established trusts for each of them as we’d done for Charlie’s daughters and for Toni, fulfilling my promise. The largest trust was set aside for my wonderful Jennie, the woman who’d given my life direction. The rest of the money was given away.

The constant in my life through our years together has been my wife. No matter how busy she was with the children she always found time for me—time to show me her love. Being rich helped, I’m sure, but even if we’d been poor we’d still have our love for each other.

I’m a nerd. I think and I plan—that’s what I do. Nothing ever happens to me by accident—well, almost never. Yet, I never did fully understand exactly why I returned to the parking lot for Jennie. Nor did I understand why I took her shopping, to my home, or to dinner. Maybe Jennie was right about that, after all—she was sure it had been divine intervention. All I knew was that I had been blessed by every second we spent together and would be until the day I died. No—that’s wrong. A love like ours is eternal.

Note: While this story and all the characters are fictional, all of the places—the restaurants, stores, golf courses, and even the hotel/casino in Waterloo, Iowa—do exist exactly as described. The Walmart and Home Depot where Doug first meets Jennie are in the Gator Hole Plaza in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I used people from my past life as models for those in this story. Unfortunately, I’ve had too many models for homeless Jennie and the others described in the story.

Parent Post: Homeless – by senorlongo

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