They come rushing at you when you least suspect them.
You can walk into a house and take in the heady aroma of a cake being baked and you'll be transported back to your grandmother's kitchen. You can smell an empty beer bottle and suddenly there you are playing hide and seek behind a pile of your uncle's empties. Smell is our most powerful sense and we all have a repertoire of aromatic triggers nicely tucked away in that gluggy grey mass we call a brain.
"What are you staring at?" said Julie as she came up silent on slippered feet beside her friend Elaine, who was gazing out of the picture window.
Elaine turned with a smile. "Nothing much. My future, I suppose."
"Future, huh? And what do you see?"
"Why? You're still young."
"Forty next birthday, divorced for the second time, and haven't been laid in almost three years."
I've never been a big fan of horror movies. It's not that I scare easily, but they just don't do much for me. I will say, though, that the scariest movie I ever saw when I was a kid, was a film called "Poltergeist." It came out when I was about thirteen or fourteen, and it frightened the shit out of me when I first saw it. It's about a bunch of people living in a housing estate that's been built on an old cemetery, and in the big finale, there is this huge storm, and coffins start popping up out of the ground, and the lids flying open, with skeletons in ragged, rotting clothes start falling out, and it's a shocker!
Grandpa thought he was in heaven! The 55 and older community was actually about 65 and older, and most of them were women, so when I visited him, he'd light up and was proud to show me off.
He was still a spry 82, went out for a few beers every afternoon at the local bar, which was really a package store with a bar in the back room, complete with old time bar maids, songs from the Forties, and a million old war stories.
He was the perfect gentleman. I'd been working at Junior's, an old fashioned ice cream parlor in the tourist trap part of town known as The Riverside for a couple of months. He came in at least once a week, had a single scoop of chocolate ice cream and always he made me laugh.
His name was Craig. I'd guess his age at about 50. He looked his age, but in all the right ways. He had thick hair, black at one time but now going white.
The mountain road was badly rutted, the snow in thick banks at the side. Jack peered through the screen, barely kept clear of snow by the windscreen wipers, blessing the fact that he was driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The Jeep wasn't new, but it was in good condition and well maintained. Maybe coming up to the cabin for the holiday wasn't such a good idea after all. He told himself not to worry.
It was a Saturday, and I had the house to myself. As my girls went through their teen years, the house was always full of their friends. We had an open door policy and their friends, girls and guys alike, would frequently walk in unannounced. We pretty much got used to it, and now that my last one was gone to college it seemed like the house was always quiet. To make things worse, my wife was out of town shopping for the day with a friend, leaving me to my own devices.
"Hey Mom, why don't you get Brian to drop you by Aunt Mary's? He'll be driving right by." I hit the leg on her chair as I tried and missed in my attempt to put a knot on my usually sweet and wonderful wife's leg.
I had just been discussing my hunting trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota with my brother-in-law, Mark, when my wife blurted out the unexpected invitation. What is she thinking? I asked myself. "Note to self never mention trips in front of the wife again!" I quietly reminded myself.
It had been six months since I'd moved in next door to an amazing lady. She was in her early to mid sixties, had a vibrant warm personality, and immediately befriended me showing genuine concern after my divorce. Madeline and I became good friends. I very often stopped by after work to check on her, see how she was doing, and generally on the weekends, did a few odd jobs for her. Having Madeline as a friend, someone to talk to, made the days easier to deal with and not quite so lonely.
Years ago Denver had retired from a career enlistment in the military and at the age of 50 decided to settle into a quiet rural area where he had been raised as a child. A few years had passed and although he dated he was still lonely at nights. His days in the military had always had a strict itinerary and structure, and he had never formed a serious bond with any one woman because he knew that any day he could be called to a different base or front to serve. Although those days were long gone now he wished he had payed more attention and sowed a few oats that had found root and given him an offspring.