I’d never been much of a church goer, though my wife rarely missed a Sunday. I went more for her, than as a believer. She’d had a couple of small strokes, and felt better if I was there with her in case she had an issue, as well as to do the driving.
I’ve been a skeptic of religion since my college days, probably the result of many years of Catholic school, and a Jesuit high school. High school was good, and I liked the Jesuits. Unlike many, they teach you to think, and it’s probably where I got my questioning nature. I’d also seen too many people twist religion for their own purposes, or deliberately misrepresent the words in the Bible.
My wife had, in her later years, engaged in a spiritual quest, wanting to learn more about the Bible and related subjects, and had started attending a Baptist church several years prior. My background was Catholic, so the Baptists were a new experience for me. I never really caught on to the outward enthusiasm many of them had for their faith, since my worship experience had been much more subdued. But, my wife enjoyed the services, and the social interaction was enjoyable. We made some good friends there, and people as a whole were friendly.
One aspect of the service that took some adjustment for me was the first segment, which was worship in music. It was more of a stage show, unlike the staid organ music and hymns of my youth. There was a seven piece ensemble, and even back up singers. Except for a few songs, I recognized almost none of the songs they played, though some were appealing. Occasionally they’d throw an old classic at us, which I preferred. For the most part, I didn’t pay much attention to the “band,” though their pianist had a style almost like Bruce Hornsby. Then one Sunday morning a couple of years into my weekly church attendance, I noticed one of the back up singers looking my direction.
She was a tall, slightly chunky blonde, with a really pretty face, and wavy hair that reached down just over her shoulders. She had smallish tits, and wide hips. She tended toward long skirts and dresses, the kind that always said to me, “not interested in sex.” And she was looking right at me. It’s funny how you can look at someone every week for a couple of years, and not really pay much attention; suddenly, I was captivated.
I smiled at her as our eyes met. I saw her already sparkling blue eyes light up, lingering on mine for a moment. She smiled, and went back to the song the group was playing. After the service she was involved in a conversation with some other folks, and not wanting to horn in, I just smiled and said a quiet “Hi” as I walked past, which was met with an equally warm smile, and a “Have a nice day.” Over the next months, we would have this same interaction, though never really stopping to chat, or even introduce ourselves. I noticed she had the typical wedding set, so obviously she was married. Perhaps she wasn’t inclined to speak to other guys without her husband there, or at least aware. Or perhaps she was one of those people whom everyone knew, and just couldn’t get away.
We went on like this for months, just not making the connection. I became more intrigued as time went on. I looked her up in the church directory, learning her name was Nancy, and she had a husband and four kids. From seeing her in church, and looking at her family photo in the directory, I figured she was in her early to mid 40’s, quite a bit younger than my 60.
Time went by, and we’d have these quick hellos, but never really a conversation. Then, about three months later, my wife passed away. The folks at the church were quite supportive, and since my wife was a member of the church, I had the funeral there. Everyone was most gracious, for which I was grateful.
I had put the word out that, as much as I appreciated the good will, don’t bring a lot of food over, which is a fairly common thing to do for the recently bereaved. My thinking was, I’m only one person, I will wind up with far more food than I can possibly eat on my own, and I hate to see it go to waste. I was perfectly capable of cooking for myself, and I was also really good at ordering food from restaurant menus. A minor consideration was that it would also save me from some of the more unusual concoctions that some folks prepare; I’ve seen too many times where people have been bombarded with lime Jell-O, marshmallow, cottage cheese surprise. I did mention that folks should come over and say hello, and visit for a while, as I would enjoy the fellowship. I was blessed to have a number of folks from the church come to visit, and I got to know quite a few of them a lot better than I had until now.
I had no idea how well. About three weeks after my wife’s passing, a white Toyota van pulled up in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon. I didn’t recognize the vehicle, but that was happening a lot those several weeks. As I looked out the window, I saw a pretty blonde step out. I immediately recognized her as Nancy, my back up singer. I met her at the door.
“Hi,” she said, extending her hand. “I’m Nancy. I heard about your wife, I’m so sorry.” I took her hand, and what started as a handshake turned into a long hug. I felt her smallish breasts press into my chest through the top of her long knit dress.
“Thanks. I’m Tom, and I appreciate you stopping by.” We pulled away from each other, our hands lingering on each other’s. “There have been so many people from church coming to visit. It’s been comforting.” I looked into her eyes a moment, almost getting lost in the bright blue. I regained my composure. “Well, come in. Sit a few moments. Can I get you something?? Tea?? Water?? Soda??”
I led Nancy into the living room. “Water would be great,” she said. I grabbed a bottle of water from the kitchen and brought it out, along with a soda for me.
“I have to admit something,” I said, drawing a curious look. “For the last almost a year or so, I’ve been noticing you catching my eye.” Nancy smiled. “But I have not been able to catch you to chat, or at least say hello til now.”
Nancy smiled. “Yeah, I realize. One Sunday when I was up on stage, I noticed you with your wife. You seemed to always be looking after her. I thought it was sweet.”
“Thanks,” I said with a smile. “She’d had a couple of small strokes a few years back, and toward the end, she was having more issues with balance. I told her she should just sit, but she said she liked to stand and sing. It seemed to give her a lot of pleasure to do that. So I would do what I could to keep her steady.”
Nancy looked at me, smiling. “Well, it always made me smile to see that. Then one day, I noticed you looking back at me. I wanted to meet you, but I’m on so many things, I can’t get away from everyone after the service. I’m sorry. I should have made the time. I would have liked to have met your wife before she passed.” Nancy leaned over to hug me.
“I’m sorry, too. I think you two would have gotten along nicely.” I held Nancy’s hands. We continued to talk for about 45 minutes, when she asked the time.
“A little after three,” I said.
She smiled. “I gotta go. I have a couple of kids to pick up.”
We stood and I walked her to the door. “Don’t be a stranger. I really enjoyed having you here, and now that the initial flurry of activity has cut back, it would be nice to see someone occasionally. No big commitment, just a bottle of water and some conversation would be welcome.”
Nancy smiled, her blue eyes sparkling. “I’d like that too. I enjoyed this as well.” She leaned toward me, kissing me on the cheek. I smiled back, and kissed her briefly on the lips, making her giggle. I held her hands in mine as our eyes explored each other.