TheSE THINGS HAPPEN

 

GEORGE WAS SIXTY, and one month retired.  He’d been a lawyer for thirty-five years.  He came to Hal’s every Monday, the diner on Main Street in the small New Hampshire town where he lived.  There were chips in the coffee cups.  But it was the best breakfast in town, and the diner always smelled like butter and bacon.  He sat in the booth by the window and looked out over the river that ran under an abandoned mill.  Maple colors were bright against a flat steel-gray sky.  He felt restless, as if he were young again and looking for his life.  His wife, Christine, had told him to make a list of things he wanted to do.  He took out a notepad and wrote--learn guitar, build a pine table and chairs, plant a garden in spring.  There was a rapping on the window.  It was Frank Farinella.  George didn’t know Frank well, but well enough to know he didn’t like him.  Frank saluted George.  Then he mimed eating food off a fork and closed his eyes and smiled like he was in heaven.     

"These Things Happen" is in The Gettysburg Review 18:3 (2005)