I placed my hat on the hatrack and breathed a sigh of relief. I was back in my office, my sanctuary. It had been a long afternoon, too long. But what had to be done was done. Others could deal with the ramifications of their actions now.
I pulled down my tie and unbuttoned my collar. Relief.
The late afternoon sun spilled through the cheap window blinds and cast stark contrasts across the office. I slumped into my chair, pulled out my pistol and put it in the top desk drawer where it often lived.
Time for a drink.
I grabbed a bottle of scotch, and began to pour myself a drink when it happened. She walked in.
I knew her. I knew her well. Standing by my coat rack she casually ran her elegant fingers across my hat and tilted her head in my direction.
“You drinking alone, Steven?”
“Depends, you joining me?”
A sly smile came across her face and I could see her almond-shaped eyes sparkle just a little in the dusty twilight.
She reached behind her and pulled out a holstered pistol from the small of her back and casually walked across my office to my desk. Never taking her eyes from mine, she sat at the edge of my desk and opened my drawer, gently placing her gun next to mine.
“Just a drop, Steven… I still have work to do.”
I nodded and pulled out another glass.
Through the corner of my eye I watched as this magnificent looking woman sat down across from me in one of my office chairs, crossed her legs and waited for her glass.
“So, what brings a dame like you into my office this hour?” I said handing her her glass of scotch.
We both looked at each other intensely, then both burst out laughing.
“Ingrid Bergman, I am not.”
“You would be surprised, wife.”
Sandy smiled at me and placed her drink on the edge of my desk.
“Well… 2023 is here.”
“Yes, it is.”
“You know, we really haven’t gone over our resolutions yet, and we are already a week into this thing.”
“What do I need to change? You married the perfect man.”
“So you tell me. Seriously, I know you are constantly telling everyone about their own self-improvement; what have you decided needs to be worked on for you?”
“Sandy, you know me better than anyone on this planet. It would take me a year just to write the list.”
“Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.”
I chuckled and looked down at my glass of scotch. “I actually have made a list.”
Sandy leaned forward in her chair.
“Really? I was kind of joking! I know how much you dismiss all of that self-transformational stuff. What have you decided to change?”
I leaned over, grabbed my notebook and handed it to her. “The list starts on page four and goes to page 12.”
“Wow, someone has been self-reflecting!” she said as she began reading from the book.
“I’m a work in progress.”
Sandy sighed and put my book down on her lap and looked intently at me for a moment.
“Steven, we are all a work in progress. Life is not about achieving perfection, life is about struggling. Existence is a struggle. We all have demons, and yes… Lord knows you have a cabal living inside you, but we all do. Some of us are more disciplined than others; some of us are disciplined in one area of our lives and not so much in others. Seeking growth has a redemptive value all to itself.”
“Thank you, Sandy.”
“You’re welcome, but you already knew that. I read your blogs too.” She went back to reading my list.
“Visit the dentist at least once in 2023? I am assuming that means an actual appointment for a cleaning and not a social call?”
“I don’t want to be pigeonholed, woman.”
“No, of course you don’t.”
“Ha! Achieve a 42-inch chest and and 30-inch waist! Are you trying to woo me, husband?”
She chuckled at that and continued to read.
“Continue learning French? Pourquoi, pensiez-vous á arrêter?”
“Non, je veux juste me rappeler de ne pas le faire.”
“You should really learn Korean. You know, that would make my mother happy.”
“On the list for 2024.”
“What about you, Sandy. What’s on your list for 2023.”
She looked up at me intently. “Why? Do you think I am not perfect?”
I looked down at my scotch.
“Indeed, you are. I would not change a thing.”
“Well done, husband.”