As they ate they chatted about gardening, it seemed Pat knew more about lawns, flowers and such than Andy, but he was inquisitive trying to learn. When dinner was over, he rinsed the dishes, placed them in the dish washer and took Pats hand. She arose, he swung her around and they danced around through the house. They pressed their bodies together both with their eyes closed and their minds drifting. When the radio station went to a commercial, well commercials they stopped, his lips touched her cheek then slowly moved across to her mouth where their lips touched then slowly sealed as both hugged the other tightly and both wanted to say, “Lets make love,” but neither said a word.
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Later when Andy went around the corner, Pat went into the office where she picked up his spiral notebook and began to read. “Looking for something,” he asked as he walked over, took the notebook, closed it and lay it down. “I just started doing this and it is a way to vent my frustrations, anger and to put down how I see the world. It is not therapy, nor is it for a shrink.”
“Sorry, but there os beautiful verse here and your observations are so plain and deep, how you see nature,” Pat said. Having been rebuked twice she wanted to scream and yell but she took a deep breath, “I must be going, you have work to do and I don’t want to be a bother or a boor.” She kissed his cheek, grabbed her purse and coat, then quickly departed.
Andy was very busy, raking leaves and readying yards for the winter, especially the wrapping of young trees and the bunching of bushes and tying them up. He had done Pat’s yard so he made a point of not driving down her street unless required to do so. But he was bugged by three different ladies who were always inviting him in, making sure their buttons were not buttoned and of making innuendos to him. That was the one thing he disliked about this work, being hit upon as he went about his work. He was still mourning Mary, he had no eye for the women right now. Dammit when I want to look, then I will become forward and the aggressor, he thought.
Pat took the picture of she and Andy and sent it to her son asking him to look at the photograph and see if he could put a name and job to the face. She added that he was a businessman. Two days later her son replied with a large file. When she opened it she found out about Doctor Andrew Drayman, Ex President and now Chairman of the Board of Systems Engineering. The man who was a brain, quite wealthy but yet had resigned and moved back East to live a simple life and get in touch with the world. The son, well someone had even added that Andrew was worth about a half billion dollars and recently the Board of Directors had announced two new endeavors for the company which was deep into Intelligence work and advanced aerodynamics along with communications gear.
Pat thought about sending him a copy of the package but then she stopped and thought it out. “He can and could do whatever he wants, yet he works as a yardman, seemingly enjoying it. He does not seem to be interested in being intimate with me, although he did lose his wife and all three children.” Pat looked at her watch, it was two thirty in the afternoon, she arose, poured a mug of wine then took a legal tablet and sat down. She began, “Dear Andy, I do so apologize from intruding into your life and being nosy. Please come by and chat with me, I have a deal I would like to propose to you . . .” She realized she liked him and missed his being or coming around.
Andy read the letter, smiled and placed it in the drawer. He thought about it, thought about Mary and thought about how war and accidents had wiped out his family. He looked at Mary’s picture on the desk and the picture of his three lost children. Another week and he would be all finished with yard work until spring time, now what would he do, what should he do?
“Mister D, what are you dong home, why aren’t you out making yards beautiful and readying them for the winter,” Mrs. O’Hara asked as she came in to find her boss sitting at his desk with a lost look on his face.
“Hi Mrs. O, I will be out of your hair in a moment, just thinking,” he replied.
“Boss, I met that Pat lady the other night, she surely does have a thing for you; you like her a little boss, she is what you need.” Katie only spoke to her employer like this on rare occasions. “Mrs. Mary has been gone for a long time, don’t you think you should let a little of her slip and at least enjoy the company of a nice woman?” She thought then added, “I feel Mrs. Mary would want you to be happy and lead a regular life.”
“Mrs. O, I don’t know. I thought that I could come here, do something that I enjoyed, be outdoors and while away the time, but?” He looked at the cleaning woman, a woman he had known for many years. “But she wants to know about me, about my past. Do you really think she would care for me is she knew I was a hard assed man who spent years seeking the almighty dollar?”
Katie walked over to him, lay her rough hand on his, “Mister D. if she is the kind of lady I feel she is, she will love you for just being you, because that lady too is lonely and desires to live a little.” Andy looked up and smiled, for this woman had much common sense. “You do not have to go flying after her like a dog in heat, but just tell her you were a successful business man, you lost your wife and children and you decided to step back and smell the roses. Say no more but do not try to hide who and what you were, are and always will be.”
With those words, Katie turned and went to the bedroom to collect the dirty clothes and do the washing. She left Andy sitting there. He arose, got his old hat, got into his little blue Datsun and drove to Pat’s house. As usual, he parked on the street, a flashy new car with flames and all of that modern crap on it sat in her driveway. As he walked to the back door a young man walked out counting money, got into the car and drove off, ignoring Andy as if he were not there.
His first thoughts were, it could not be her son, was that a for hire lover, a young gigolo she hired to make love to her? He had read about it and a recent episode of Boston Commons had a story like that. He hesitated, then turned and walked back to his truck. “Are you coming in, or are you just checking on me,” Pat’s voice sounded from the side of the house.
“Oh hi, just saw the young man leave counting money and I figured you were occupied.” Oh lord I should not have said that, he immediately thought.
She walked down to him. “Don’t you just hate those cars, cars like that?” She looked solemn, “That was Jessie, he delivered my son’s birthday present, want to see what I got him, please,” she asked as she took his hand.
On the kitchen table was a small brown box and beside it a blue box. She picked it up and handed it to him, “See,” she said.
He took the box, removed the cover and there were four small Gold coins. He lifted the box closers to his face and studied them, “Hmm, not mint but VFC, wow, your son really rates,” he said as he handed them back to her. He recognized them as “Princesses,” an old gold coin, an US coin, his partner was a coin collector.
“I have been saving for this and today I got them,” she said as both of their actions and speeches were stiff and formal. As she took the box and lay it on the table, she reached for his hand. “Andy oh Andy, please excuse this meddling old woman. I do apologize for asking and for wanting to read your writings.” A small tear formed in the corner of her right eye. “Will you forgive me and can we be friends, any type friend you wish, again?”
Andy looked deeply into Pat’s eyes, then he spoke in a low and slow deliberate manner. “Mrs. Skidmore, it is I who offer the apology. I was a successful business man, but after losing my wife, my soul mate, then losing my three children, I sort of dropped out.”
“That is OK, I understand, I am just a busy body old woman,” Pat replied.
Andy looked at her, put his finger to his lips and continued, “I resigned as president of the company, but still held on to the Chairman of the Board title. I came here, moved back into a house we had owned for years and wanting to relax and work outside, I decided to become a yard man, a lawn mower or whatever.” She was smiling now. “I am to some rich monetarily but I am seeking solace and to learn and enjoy life. Every so often when a big problem arises with the company or a Board meeting is required, I must put on my three piece suit and reenter the world of business.” He paused. “Now you know, well except I used to use the name ‘Andy Dray” instead of my given name, Andrew Drayman to move about unnoticed. Now you know it all, all of the story.” She was grinning. “And you owe Mrs. O’Hara for me being here today, she sat me straight.”
They moved to each other, their arms wrapped about the others as their lips met. They nibbled and tasted, then their lips sealed and the embraced grew deep as their bodies pressed against the others. That evening a dressed up Pat and a dark suited Andy went to dinner in the big black Mercedes.
The next afternoon, Andy took Pat to the airport for she was going to Ocala, Florida, to see her son and celebrate his birthday with him. She was so proud of the present, for it had taken a lot of saving and sacrifices to buy it. When he returned from the airport, driving the little blue Datsun, of course, Andy looked at a lot on the edge of the development. He had an idea for the neighbors did not like seeing his trailer with the equipment on it sitting in front of the house over the weekend although there were all sorts of commercial vehicles parked there. He wanted to widen the driveway so he could install a big double door on the garage in the back, but the city and the neighbor next door did not want it and would not sell him six feet of land along the driveway.
What he found was a 20 acre plot of ground next to the last houses before the commercial district; the price was great but he was not sure of the zoning and the town’s rules. “I don’t know if it will be available next week or not for I have six people wanting it. Two are racing to get a retainer, the owner informed him. The owner was a automotive garage owner who had bought a section when he was still in high school. Andy thought and the man sort of figured he was a dreamer who had no money, only ideas.
“Hmmmm,” Andy said, then he looked at the man. “You are selling this yourself, will you pay the closing costs?”
“No, buyer does,” the man replied.
“OH, well uh, er . . . .You want two hundred thousand for it, what if I pay you a $175,000 and I pay all the closing costs. If you have time, we will go to your bank now and consummate the deal.” The man’s ear’s perked up. “This offer is on the table for ten minutes or I too, must move one, the money in your bank within an hour of when we go to your bank or to my attorney.”
The man extended his hand, “You got a deal, your attorney is fine if I have the money within an hour as you said.”
“You have a cell phone, may I borrow it,” Andy asked, the man handed him his cell. Andy took out his book, found a number and dialed a number, “Mister Fleishman please, Andy Dray calling,” he said.
“Hi Fred, Andy here, I am coming over with a man to buy some land, will you get a certified draft for a hundred seventy five thousand ready and have someone write up the deal, he will bring his tax papers.” He paused, “Yeah Fred, yeah, hour and a half, OK, here is the other party.” Andy handed the phone to the man, “They need some information.”
“Yes,” he replied then gave what he was asked. After five minutes he said, OK, I know where it is, ask for Mister Fleishman, thank you.” He closed his phone, “Who are you, you don’t mess around do you?” Then he again extended his hand, “What are you going to do with this anyhow, remember I live right there,” he grinned.
“First thing is I will put three rows of trees, twenty footers from the street to the back of the lot, for sound protection and for aesthetics.”
The man grinned, “One row of pines, one row of cedars and one row of a hearty hedge or hardwood trees and my wife will love you.” The man looked at his watch, “Hey, come home with me and have lunch, meet my wife for I have to get the papers Mister Fleishman wants.”
“I do yard work and I need a place to put a small garage to store my mowers and stuff and the rest, I have no idea, but I have a couple thoughts,” Andy replied to Colleen’s queries. “Yes maam, Cedars that will form a hedge, then a row of pines and a row of Maples, that is what I will plant, with a fourth row of fast growing hedge; once we lived in a place and they put something in and finally we moved because of the noise, but I have no plans for anything like that.” Colleen served them meatloaf sandwiches with celery and carrot sticks and beer.
The two men met at the Attorney’s office and while one man took all the information, Andy talked with Fred about what he wanted to do and to see about getting the zoning changed if so needed and get a building permit for a plain metal building that could be put up quickly. When they were finished, the papers were ready and they were signed. Jim Dennegan called his bank and found the money had been deposited to his account. He rose, “Andy, Mr. Fleishman, it was a pleasure to do business with you, I like this, no haggling, boom, boom it is over.” They all shook and Andy went to work, he had to build shelves in three women’s basements, similar to the ones he put in Pat’s. The next morning by noon a Bobcat had leveled the ground and a crew came in to put up the building a 50 x 100 with a small office and five entry doors. The next day the trees were planted as he told Colleen he would and the building was landscaped with trees and bushes along with a drip water irrigation system. The floor and interior work would be done later. A 4 by 8 sign that said, “Andy’s yard Care,” was put in the front along with the address. He was proud of his new building and went to work. He was busy and forgot about Pat and everything else except his lawns and a problem within the company. She was supposed to say two or three days but after four he forgot and left his phone unplugged.