Welcome to a new month. The ninth month of Ergonomic Mischief. I feel like this is an accomplishment. Please enjoy the 14th installment of The Trees. I think I'm on to something here.
When J.R. got to their room around 10am on Saturday morning, he gave his mom a quick hug and a kiss and hugged his dad as well. Something felt strange about the way his dad hugged him, but he dismissed it without a thought.
“Tell me about you,” Dan said as he and his son broke their hug.
“Well…” J.R. paused. There was something about the way his dad was looking at him that made him uneasy. “What’s going on, Dad?” he asked.
Dan had been concerned this would happen. J.R. read people well and always had. When he was younger, Dan thought he might do well in sales one day. J.R. was so quick to connect and after even one conversation, he often had a friend for life. He and Jan had talked about this happening the night before and she told him to just go with it.
“J.R. will see sides of this we haven’t seen yet,” she said.
“H-h-have a seat, son. I have something to tell you,” stammered Dan.
The three of them were in the small sitting room that was off the bedroom of their suite. J.R. sat on the couch next to his mom and Dan sat in a chair facing them. Dan looked up at the picture of a desert landscape above their heads as he shared his news with his son.
J.R. listened intently, nodding his head on occasion to let Dan know he was listening or that he understood. Jan put her hand on his shoulder as he started to cry and before long, there were tears in all of their eyes.
Jan got up to grab a box of Kleenex from the bathroom and heard J.R. ask, “What can I do, Dad?”
“I just need you to take care of you, J.R. I’m going to fight like hell to get as much time with you all as I can. I’ll be down here as much as possible and if you get a weekend off, c’mon home if you want.”
J.R. looked at Jan as she sat back down after handing a tissue to each of her men.
“Mom. What do you need? I can come home for a while if you want,” he asked plaintively.
“No, honey. I need the same thing your dad needs. You take care of you, and we’ll all be together when we can. No one is giving up here. We’re going to John and Hettie’s tomorrow night to start making a plan and we’ll fill you in on everything we are doing,” Jan shared.
J.R. wondered if Brynn would be there.
“I can come up. I don’t have class on Monday, and I don’t work until 4. I can probably get someone to cover my shift, too. We’re pretty dead on Mondays usually.”
Dan looked at Jan and offered a slight grin.
“That sounds great,” Dan said as he got up. “Let’s take a walk. It seems like a beautiful day and we need to work up an appetite.”
The three of them walked and talked for the rest of the morning until they headed to Little Café Poca Cosa for lunch. J.R. had tons of questions and his parents answered them as best they could. Dan had an appetite for the first time in a few days and couldn’t decide between the chicken mole and the chile relleno so he got one of each and decided he would take whatever he couldn’t eat home.
Before they said their goodbye until the next afternoon, J.R. offered Dan some wisdom.
“I’ve been reading a lot of Plato for one of my classes, Dad. There is something interesting that he said that I’ve been turning over and over in my mind for the last few weeks, but I wasn’t sure why. At least until now.”
“What did he say?” Dan asked.
“He said, ‘Humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.’ I think you are going to find your other half in all of this.”
Dan hugged his son again.
“Where is your other half, J.R.? Have you found it?”
“My other half is a writer, I think. He’s living on the coast somewhere in a cabin with a typewriter and boxes of books. Every night he sits by the fire and drinks whisky,” said J.R. with a sly grin.
Dan grinned back at J.R. He loved his son’s writing and had often wished he could write half as well. Writing was not Dan’s forte, but he could tell a good story. It had made him a lot of money over the years. At that moment, Dan thought maybe J.R. would make a better writer than a lawyer, but he knew he would be okay no matter what direction he chose.
After the sadness of the morning, all three Lewis’s were feeling better. Dan was full and ready to head home. Jan was relieved that J.R. had not been discouraged that there really wasn’t a plan yet, and J.R. felt like he had been given a chance to help his parents, although he didn’t know what kind of help they needed just yet.
The three of them said goodbye in front of Jan’s Subaru which was parked on Stone across the street from the Café. Dan and Jan were heading back to Phoenix and J.R. was heading to Hotel Congress. He was going to work as a bar back that night for Barb. She had been at Congress for a long time and she was a great listener if he needed to talk but he couldn’t help but think about how the events of the day had unfolded as he walked to work.
J.R. wondered if he should have been sadder at the news but instead, it made him feel almost determined. He knew that feeling sorry for himself or his parents would not change the situation. Kant said, “If justice perishes, then it is no longer worthwhile for men to live upon the earth.” While this didn’t feel like justice to him, it was more of an injustice to sit back and feel sorry than to move forward. He picked up his pace and got to work a few minutes early.
Hope your Thursday is the bomb!
See you tomorrow.
Boy, do I miss this place.