bach·e·lor (băch′ə-lər, băch′lər)
1. A man who has never been married.
2. A person who has completed the undergraduate curriculum of a college or university and holds a bachelor’s degree.
3. A male animal that does not mate during the breeding season.
4. A young knight in the service of another knight in feudal times.
Yesterday was my second day “bacheloring” around while my wife and family are out of town. The first thing I noted was how quiet the house is when I wake up without the kids running around terrorizing the cat. I got better sleep in the 6-7 AM time period with the quiet, but when it came time to get out of bed…I missed the raucous sounds from the family room forcing me out of bed. I had not set the coffee machine the night before so there was no coffee. I didn’t want to bother making breakfast, so I sat on the couch eating a large bowl of cereal while watching SportsCenter. Seemed pretty bachelor appropriate. Can’t remember the last time I watched SportsCenter in the morning…usually some cruddy kids show is on. Octonaughts? Is that a show? There’s a cat in a diving suit exploring the sea…or something…dunno, I usually ignore it. SportsCenter is much more fun to watch in your underwear with cereal.
My buddy and I planned on catching the 7 PM showing of the new Mission Impossible movie at the theater downtown where you can order food and beer to your seat. The last movie I saw in a theater was “Inside Out,” before that “Planes 2,” and before that I think maybe “Frozen.” I was ready to see explosions, tag lines, plot holes, and even Tom Cruise. However, things ran late at work for both me and my buddy so we decided to shoot for the 10 PM showing instead of the 7. After work I stopped by a friend’s house to see her new house and have a drink. She offered to cook for me but I declined due to the movie…I had my bachelor mind set on a pitcher of Sam Adams with chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks. Mmm…so unhealthy… Then that little voice in the back of my head (I think his name is “Responsibility”) reminded me I had to get up early and go to work the next day. My buddy and I agreed a late movie wasn’t the best idea so we decided to rain check. Now my stomach wished I’d taken that home cooked meal.
Lasagna! You always ate lasagna when you were single! Thank you brain! I need lasagna!!!
I raced to the Italian Restaurant near my house and skidded into the parking lot 7 minutes before they closed! “Please don’t close yet!” I told the staff. “If you haven’t cleaned your kitchen yet could you please make me a Lasagna to go? My wife is out of town and there is nothing in the fridge except yogurt and one lonely hard-boiled egg and I”m starving!” They smiled and said it was fine. “Could I have a beer while I”m waiting?” They poured me a beer, I sat, and the smells of hot marinara sauce slowly crept from the kitchen. Yes! This is perfect. Then the young woman behind the counter asked, “You’re Kate’s husband…right?” I put down my beer and looked at her as if I had just been caught stealing. “Yes?” I replied. “She was my teacher last semester, she left you with no food in the fridge eh?” My mind pictured the fridge and how it was full of things I had to either assemble, cook, heat up myself, or (God save me) was healthy. Then I thought of that one hard-boiled egg by the yogurt I had debated eating for breakfast. I swallowed a gulp of beer and lied, “Yeah…the fridge is like…bare.” She looked at me and read my guilt, “Sure…lasagna will be right out…we wouldn’t want you starving while Kate’s out of town.”
Upon entering the house I realized how badly the dishes needed to be cleaned…or at least I think I just needed to unload the dishwasher. I found plasticware in the to-go bag from the restaurant and walked right past the sink and into the family room where I plunked down on the couch. It seemed that if I wasn’t going to go to the movies it would be a darn shame if I didn’t at least watch a bad action film at home. I think I watched “The November Man.” I fell asleep midway through and gave up on its cruddy plot line and bad acting. When the closing credits rolled I decided to leave my lasagna container and plastic fork right where it was…on the ottoman next to my cereal bowl from that morning.
I went straight to my kids’ room and grabbed the 5 foot long stuffed dog “Chester” I had given them for Christmas last year. Chester looked at me with his faux button eyes as if to say, “What do you want old man?” I spoke aloud to him, “Chester…I didn’t sleep last night because I spent the entire night tossing and turning in my sleep looking for Kate…so you are going to sleep on her side of the bed tonight so I can sleep.” Chester looked at me with blank eyes. I added, “No funny stuff.” Maybe he didn’t find it funny…maybe he’s a stuffed animal with no emotions since he’s an inanimate object…I thought it was funny. I tossed him onto Kate’s side of the bed, crawled under the covers on my side, turned off the light, and closed my eyes.
My mind raced. I got lonely for the second night in a row.
I reached over and took one of Chester’s large paws and placed it across my chest the way Kate might do when cuddling me in the middle of the night. I fell asleep seconds later and slept soundly till 5 AM. Thunderstorms rattled the windows. Kate and the boys usually turned to me in the night to tell them everything was fine when it thundered like this. I was alone. Chester seemed to hug me to tell me it was okay. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep, unaware of the issues I would face in the morning…
Tune in tomorrow for the next chapter in bachelordom.
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