We’re just going to jump right into The Bet.
Paul didn’t know what to think. What he did know, though, was that Marcy was not a liar and as crazy as her story sounded, she was not mentally ill. Unstable at the moment, fuckin’ A, but mentally ill, no way.
The couple sat in silence before there was a knock at the door.
“Mom? Dad?” It was Billy.
“What is it, Bill?” Paul asked.
“You guys have been in there for a long time. Is anyone going to make dinner?” came Billy’s reply.
“One sec, hon,” Marcy replied. “I’ll be right out.”
Marcy pulled Paul to her and whispered an “I love you” into his ear.
“I love you, too. Now what do we do?”
“Let’s make dinner.”
“Aren’t you worried?”
“I’m terrified, Paul, but the kids need to eat.”
“You bet both of the kids, Marcy.”
There it was. It was out. Paul looked at her with a mixture of love and hate if that was possible. Perhaps hate was too strong, Marcy thought. It was terror and anger and confusion; she didn’t know what to say.
Paul put his finger over her lips as she started to say something, anything. There was nothing she could say. They didn’t know enough yet to guess what was going to happen next. One thing Marcy did know was that she was never using the word “Bet” again. Hopefully it wasn’t too late.
Marcy went out to the kitchen and talked with Winny and Billy about Jonathan while she started dinner. The kids had lots of questions about what had happened at the hospital, and they were relieved that Dr. Greg was there with Jonathan’s body. Billy wondered if Aidan Mann would be coming around again and Marcy said she didn’t know because, well, she didn’t.
She thought he would be around, though. When they had said goodbye a few hours earlier, it seemed like Aidan Mann would be part of their life for a long time. Now she wasn’t as sure.
The family ate dinner. They talked about Jonathan and remembered funny things that had happened over the years of them being neighbors.
“Marcy, do you remember the first time you saw him?” Paul wondered.
“I do. He was working in his front yard wearing a Speedo.” She replied.
Winny asked, “What’s a Speedie?”
“Speedo, Win.” Marcy had to laugh. “A speedo is a very small bathing suit men in Europe like to wear. Jonathan was not ashamed of his body whatsoever.”
“We could all learn a lesson from Jonathan, kids,” Paul said with a smile. “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”
Billy talked about the time Jonathan had gotten tickets to see a spring training game and had taken him along. He had been so impressed with Jonathan’s knowledge of baseball. Paul shared with him that Jonathan had spent some time as a minor league player when he was a young man. Billy’s eyes got wide.
“I wish I could have asked him about that,” Billy said.
“Ask him tonight” came out of Winny’s mouth. Marcy and Paul looked at their daughter. Before they could say anything, Billy replied: “I will.”
See you tomorrow.
Let's call this 12 years ago. History repeats itself.