Ordered by his boss to take time off, Kyle thinks about what Web said. How is he going to keep himself occupied for the next 30 days?
“I’m not saying replace her, Kyle. I am saying I feel your pain, kid. You can’t bury yourself like this in your work or the next funeral I go to could be yours. We’ve known each other too long for me to pull punches. You’re like my own kid. I won’t enable this self-destructive path any longer.”
“Nothing I say is going to matter, is it?”
“Not a bit. Full month off with pay. Book that cruise.”
“That an order?” Kyle was being sarcastic but he didn’t care.
“As a matter of fact, it is. I want you relaxed, in control and focused before you come back. Failure to do that will result in termination.”
“For your own good, Kyle! This is not optional or open for debate. I won’t lose another person I care about.”
Hanging his head, Kyle let the tears fall. He couldn’t argue. There was no fighting this. Regardless of how badly he wanted to immerse himself in his work, he had to admit that Web was right.
“Okay,” he sighed. “All right. I’ll book a cruise. I’ll have a few drinks, try to relax….”
“And get laid.”
“I make no guarantees on that one. It’s been a long time since I dated.”
“Like I don’t know that? I was married forty years. Do you think it’s easy getting back in the dating game now? If I can do it, you can. There are plenty of women out there willing to engage in a little casual sex.”
“And if that’s not what I want?” He sniffed loudly, biting his lower lip. “I still love my wife.”
“I know. And the first time, you’ll feel a little guilty. Then you realize that it’s not like you’re being unfaithful. She’s gone, Kyle. She’d want you to be happy.”
He knew Web was right. He and Margo talked about little else the last days of her life. She wanted him to move on, find someone new, enjoy life again even if she wasn’t there to share it.
She even made suggestions about the kind of woman he should look for.
“A blonde. You like blondes. Big boobs—you always liked mine. Someone taller than me.”
“So you won’t have to stoop to kiss her. Less strain on your back.”
He’d chuckled, leaning over to kiss his wife’s hairless brow. “I don’t mind stooping.”
“Schtooping? I know you don’t mind that. You’re very good at that.”
“Thanks—like you’ve got any basis for comparison.”
“Maybe not, but when it’s good….” Her breath came out in a soft sigh. “That’s what I’ve missed the most about being sick. We can’t make love.”
Kissing her hand, he’d gazed into her eyes. “I love you, Margo. There will never be anyone else like you.”
“I know you feel that way now, honey. But there needs to be.”
“You still with me, kid? You kind of phased out there.”
“Yeah. I didn’t sleep very well. Mindy had nightmares again.”
“Go home, kid. Rent some movies, order in pizza and book the cruise.”
“I promise I’ll call Angie before I leave and set it in motion.”
“Good, cause if you don’t, I will.”