James is 60 years old. He has been a widower for nearly six years. His children have grown up and live far from him with their own families. He works as a part-time consultant for a pharmaceutical company. Lately, loneliness has crept in and he has decided to try a dating agency. Trisha is 55 years old. She has two children, aged 30 and 26, who live near her. Her divorce four years ago was bitter and has left her with a great deal of anger. Her children seem to have put her on the shelf and see in her nothing but a potential babysitter.
After the police car has left, James and Trisha sit for a while laughing and giggling. James: Well, Madam, So we look like a really nice couple, do we? Trisha: He was a very cute cop. James: The perfect answer -- If I really step on it I can just about catch up to him. Trisha: And get a ticket in the bargain. What I must say though is that he broke the ice. James: About two minutes before it was getting to be thick enough to skate on.
It is the morning after the famous first date. Trisha is lying in bed reflecting on the previous evening. For her it was quite an experience. She was pleased by the way James had handled the situation with her niece even though she is far from sure that she wants to expose James to her sister. She remembers her sister's caustic criticism of her ex and her biting sarcasm. Fay was not the prettiest or the most intelligent of the sisters but she made up for it by getting everything she wanted, mainly through bullying and manipulation.
It is 3pm.Trish has spent the last hour debating on what to wear. She hasn't actually gone through the ritual of trying things on and then taking them off, but she has certainly gone through her entire wardrobe in her head. At one point she makes a decision, pulls on a pair of old designer jeans that have been washed so often that their color has faded to almost white. She pulls a white T-shirt over her head and finishes off with a man's blue denim shirt that she leaves unbuttoned. She combs through her hair and ruffles it free with her fingers.
Q Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I'm seventy-eight years old, and lost my husband a half-year ago. He was my second husband, but we had been married twenty-five years. In many ways, it was more difficult than the death of my first husband, because then I had a goal. I had to raise my children. Now, I just feel empty. I find it hard to pull myself together, just to get dressed and go out. Nothing seems worth the effort. What difference does it make? We're all going to die anyway. My children encourage me to go back to my volunteer work, reading to the blind. I know it's wrong, but I just don't feel like helping anyone.
I worked in my garden today. It was cold, a typical fall day that was somehow appropriate to my autumnal, melancholy mood. It is still hard for me to think of it as "my" garden. This was always Steve's province and my only involvement was to pick some flowers, or some vegetables from the back garden. Even this Steve usually did, beaming with pride as he came into the kitchen bearing a basketful of golden corncobs, fat cucumbers or scarlet, juicy tomatoes.
Toby and Michael