John Francis - Chapter 13

Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 8:44 AM
Amanda and Jon continued to sit silently in the kitchen, finishing the last of their coffee. At first the silence was comfortable, but as it began to stretch longer, both began shifting their eyes toward the other. Even after their spoken and unspoken discussions upstairs, she felt her thoughts drifting to darker areas. She was the first one to speak.

“I think maybe …” she stopped as Jon’s cell phone rang for the first time that weekend. Amanda glanced at the phone and saw Jon taking it off his hip.

“Hello?” he answered.

“Jon, it’s Dot,” came the response.

“Hey, what’s up? Kids okay?”

“The kids are fine, Jon, they want to talk to you when I’m done.”

Amanda started to get up to give Jon some privacy on the phone when he reached out a hand to stop her. Shaking his head ‘no’, he continued to talk with his ex-wife.

“What do you need to talk with me about, Dot?”

“Jon, I wanted to tell you before this became public knowledge. I’m getting married.”

Amanda watched as a shocked look entered Jon’s face, his expressive eyes reflecting his emotions.

“Uh, same guy?’ he managed to get out.

“Yes, the same guy. Don’t start a discussion you don’t want to have, Jon.” Dot’s voice snapped a little at Jon’s question.

“Sorry, okay, just a little unexpected, that’s all,” his voice a little hoarse.

“I liked being married, Jon, I just want a husband who comes home every night.” Dot spoke softly now.

Amanda watched in dismay as Jon’s eyes slowly shuttered. His emotions closed away and she watched as he withdrew into himself. She had never seen eyes so bright become so dull and lifeless.

“Okay,” Jon spoke softly, “thanks for telling me first.”

“Do you want to talk to the kids now?”

“Do they know?” he asked.

“Yes, I talked with them after Eric asked me to marry him. They like him, Jon, but you are their father. Please don’t spoil this for me.” Dot’s voice was softly pleading.

“Hmmmm”, Jon cleared his throat before responding, “I understand. I won’t.”

“Alright then, here’s Stephanie.”

Jon spoke quietly with his children for a few minutes, but it was obvious to Amanda that he was forcing his tone to be light and cheerful for them. She desperately wanted to give him the privacy he needed and slipped from her chair. At that moment, after the news he had heard, Jon was only dimly aware of her leaving the room.

Moving into the living room Amanda fiddled with magazines on the table, moved a few fresh flowers in a vase, and generally just wandered aimlessly around, waiting for Jon to finish his phone call. Finally hearing no sounds from the kitchen, she walked in to see Jon still sitting at the table, the phone closed, an empty coffee cup being moved from hand to hand. She lightly placed her hand on his shoulder.

Jon startled at the touch as he had been miles away. He turned to her and folded his hand over hers, but did not meet her eyes. They stood that way for a few moments, then taking a deep breath he gave a small shake and turned his now lifeless eyes toward her. He attempted a smile that reached no further than the corners of his mouth. She waited to see what he would say.

“So, I was thinking that we could maybe take a swim in Teek’s pool and then go out to dinner. Sound good to you?” His voice was toneless and his eyes…god, his eyes were so closed.

“No, that doesn’t sound good to me.”

“Okay, that’s what we’ll … what?” he stopped.

“No. That isn’t what I want to do.” she replied.

“Okay…” he nodded slowly, “what do you want to do?”

She pulled him up out of the chair and he stood. She gathered him in her arms, feeling his stiff frame against her, and held him, with his arms at his sides. There was no sexual invitation, just contact from one person to another in a time of need. Jon stood there, trying with every ounce of self-control he possessed to keep in the emotions that were swirling inside. He didn’t know why, but suddenly the loss of his family was as fresh as it had been a few days ago. Amanda knew something was terribly wrong, but waited him out, simply offering her warmth. Gradually Jon felt the fist inside his chest begin to unclench and the warmth and scent of the woman gently holding him and lightly stroking his back.

She could not see his face, but did not need to as a few soft tears fell onto her shoulder. She did not speak but continued holding and stroking until a shudder passed through him and his body gradually relaxed.

Jon could not have born questions at that time from anyone, but Amanda’s undemanding and soothing presence drew out answers to questions not asked.

“Dot’s getting married again…to the guy she was seeing when…the one she left me for…” and now his voice was no longer toneless, but rough with pain. “I knew it was really over, we had not been in love for so many years, but I still feel like I just lost my family again.”

Amanda still did not look at his face as she knew he would close down again. Moving her hand to the back of his neck, she whispered, “It’s okay to mourn the death of a hope, especially when it comes to someone you loved. You have not lost your family, just the way it was.”

Remembering at that moment what Amanda’s loss had been, the stranglehold on Jon’s emotions snapped and his arms swiftly encircled her back, pulling her to him with such strength she was almost left breathless. He grabbed her hair, holding her against him, as they rocked slowly side to side. At this moment there was nothing else that needed to be said.

3 comments

  1. Hathor Says:

    What a touching chapter. The last two were a good balance of clean and dirty fun :) and this one was just quite wonderful. Onto the next!!

  2. Opester Says:

    “It’s okay to mourn the death of a hope, especially when it comes to someone you loved. You have not lost your family, just the way it was.”

    That's such a great reframe as that really is exactly what happened. Amanda is very wise.

  3. johnnajovi Says:

    Touching chapter brought tears to my eyes. Men don't show their emotions they just suck it up, but, I like Amanda she is very wise and Jon needs to stick w/her!

    Can't wait to read more and get caught up!

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