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Old 02-14-2006, 09:57 PM   #1
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A Story Without Me 21

A Story Without Me 21: Vacation Album

Notes and Disclaimer: Sorry for the delay in posting this chapter, readers. To again quote from Fast Cars/Xanax and Wine, there is no fiction that will truly fit the situation. As I like to say: This is fiction. B is based on Bono. I don't know Bono.

Click View Journal for my Interference journal. Which is not fiction. It just might go over 1,000 views yet, with your help!

It's February, and B's out of town on a business trip. Your niece Emily's visiting from college for the weekend, and you're showing her your pictures and videos from your and B's holiday trip to Ireland.

"Who's the gray-haired woman who looks like B in this picture?" she asks you as she looks at a photo of you, B, and a small, friendly older woman seated around a table.

"That's B's Aunt Barbara. The day after we arrived in Dublin, his aunts and uncles and cousins gave a party to celebrate our first Christmas and welcome me into the Hewson family. They also had a minister come to the party to bless our marriage. So now B and I have said our vows three times in two different countries. We can't get any more married than that."

"Does B still want to get married by Elvis in Vegas?"

"What? When did he tell you that?"

Emily blushes. "Uh, forget I said anything. What's B's aunt like? Did she tell you any good stories about what he was like as a boy?"

"Aunt Barbara is very kind. She loves to read; when she first learned I was a librarian, she and I began e-mailing each other about books and libraries and the Internet. Then I asked her to tell me about B as a boy. Barbara told me his mother's death when he was a teenager broke his heart and made him angry and sad. 'He's better now, but I don't think he'll ever completely get over her loss,' she told me. She tried to do what she could, but it was so hard to get close to him back then and she was raising her own family."

"That's sad ..."

*****

Emily picks up a photo of you and B in front of a small house. "That was the house B grew up in. He showed me his old neighborhood on Cedarwood Road in 'north Dub.' It's not the best part of town, but he says his family and friends did all right there. He and his family lived there until his mother died and his father couldn't stand the memories and sold their house. His old neighbor, Mrs. O'Connell, took that photo for us," you tell Emily as you remember how you met her outside the house.

"Knew this one since he was a wee little lad, I did. Charming, smart as a whip. Knew he'd go far, and he went around the world!" the petite woman, grey-haired, says to you. "And did I say he's charming? How are ye, Bee? Last I heard, you were in America. Are ye back in Dublin now?" She turns her attention back to B. Is that a gleam in her eye? you think. Why, she's got to be, what, 65 years old! And she's flirting with my husband, a man who has to be a good 20 years younger than she is?

"Angela, this is my wife, Josephine. J, this is my old friend and neighbor, Angela Kennedy."

"It's Angela O'Connell now, Bee. I got married sometime after you and your father moved. Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Hewson."

"A pleasure to meet you." Not really, but you're being polite.

Then, she took your and B's picture for you outside his old house. As a favor to B.

Later that night, as you settle into your room in The Clarence, you gently asked B about Mrs. O'Connell.

"I got the sense you knew Mrs. O'Connell very well, B. Better than you knew most of your neighbors."

"You're right, J. She was my first. We had an affair the summer I turned 16. My father was selling our house after my mother's death, but I still had a key. She and I would meet there and make love during the day. I actually wrote a song about it: She was 'thirty years old, skin like a rose,' and we would tell each other it would be all right. We were so afraid my father, her family, or the estate agent would catch us. Luckily, we were never caught. She hated the sneaking around. Angela loved me, we were old friends. We were both lonely and troubled, we needed someone. In case you were trying to do the math, she's 59 now, J. There's only 14 years between us."

"You said she had a family? Was she married?"

"She lived with her old, sick mother. Angela wasn't able to get married while her mother was still living, but she did take lovers."

Ah. So you and she had a few things in common. "She meant a lot to you, didn't she?"

"Yes, she did. I was young, and she taught me a lot about sex."

"So I should thank her for being your first?"

"You'll be my last."

******
"Dave's wedding video! Forget the Winter Olympics! I've been dying to see this!"

You and Emily are sitting in front of B's plasma screen TV with a bowl of popcorn watching the show.

"Dave and B looked very handsome in their suits waiting for the bride to come up the aisle of the chapel, as you can see. Of course, it was a struggle to convince Dave to wear a suit to the wedding in the first place." You and Emily laugh at the thought of the rock and roll doctor/psychologist wearing a suit.

"Speaking of the bride, there's her bridesmaids, and there she is." Emily asks.

You listen to the minister read the vows Dave and Sibohan wrote for themselves -- and see B wink to you as the minister asks Dave to say his vows.

"It was a lovely wedding. And the reception and New Year's Eve party afterwards were so much fun. There's a picture on B's desk of us at the party." You get up, take it from B's desk and show it to Emily. It's of the two of you, B in his dark suit, you in a black party dress, smiling for the camera.

*****

That picture always makes you and B think back to a few hours after that picture was taken, when you told B your New Year's resolution.

"Are you making any New Year's resolutions, J?"

"One. I'll really need your help to keep it." You playfully pat his back as you talk.

"Really? Because, you know, I'll do whatever I can to help you."

"I'll be counting on that." You wink, then whisper in B's ear: "I've resolved to have a baby, B."

He smiles, the biggest smile you've seen on his face since your wedding day and your honeymoon. B hugs you close to him, then says to you: "Wouldn't want you to break your New Year's resolution, would we? Let's slip out of here and go back up to our room."
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Old 02-15-2006, 07:03 AM   #2
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Jobob--I love you! I have been waiting so long for your story to continue. Must read next chapter.
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