The 1980's... big hair, big dreams, big business, big breakthroughs for the veterans of the Hated War, Vietnam. While "Yuppies" were caught up in acquiring expensive__, bigger__, designer__, imported__, the American Psychiatric Association recognized PTSD, and the U.S. Government accepted that nightmares, and flashbacks were war related. Treatment was made available, however not before many more lives were lost whose names would never be on the Wall. Sadly, we will say good-bye to some of the characters in this series as a result of too little, too late. But, like the river, life continues to flow.
Wine, Women, and Worries is a book of closure. What happens to Jason? How does Marianne turn out? Does Jeff give up his playboy lifestyle? Why did Beth stay with Tom? And, last but not least, do “they” ever get back together? These questions will be answered.
And, one small hint... "Tomorrow they would be together forever."
But, will they?
Silently Beth sat watching the burgundy wine swirl around in the crystal goblet she held in her hand. She sat alone with only the flickering light of a rose scented candle in the stillness of the night. "Happy Valentine’s Day", if only she had said those words instead of, "Happy Birthday!
Still rotating the glass counter clockwise, it was as if the hands of time were moving backwards… the smell of the roses, the taste of wine on her lips, his lips.
"Happy Birthday!" Beth said with a big smile on her face, and her precious baby boy sitting on her hip.
"Oh my! Thank you but to you, it’s happy Valentine’s day my darling Angel eyes!" Jeff tried to juggle a vase of fresh red roses, a box, and kiss his bride without spilling water on his five and a half month old son.
Beth continued to smile, "Hey, let’s switch! You take Jason, and I’ll take the roses. And what’s that? Candy!?! Yummy! But Jeff, how am I ever going to lose these last five pounds when you bring me chocolates I can’t refuse?" She patted her stomach.
Jeff laughed, "Well, I can help you work them off, if you’d like. But, you look no less than beautiful to me. How could I ever complain about a little tummy pooch when I’ve got a new best buddy to play with?" Jeff was slobbering all over the baby, and making him giggle by pressing his nose into his ribs. Jason squealed with delight as he tried to grab his daddy’s hair, but with his close military cut, there was just nothing to grasp.
"Dinner smells great, whatcha fixing?"
"Red wine braised beef tips, au gratin potatoes, and green bean casserole, rolls, and of course your favorite birthday cake."
"What?" Beth looked stricken.
"No beef jerky flambé, old rotten potatoes, and puffin muffins?" Jeff ducked.
"Put that kid down and yer dead meat Madison!"
Jeff laughed out loud. "Not in yer life til you forget about this! So, how was your day sweetie?"
"Just fine really Jeff. Jason sat up all by himself for quite awhile before he rolled over. He discovered his belly button, that kept him amused trying to figure out where it came from. I was thinking about your last birthday when we invited each others parents here, and what fun it was, and how happy everyone was to learn Jason was on the way. I’m afraid this year pales in comparison to that. I don’t even have a decent present for you."
"Don’t bet on it, and the last thing you need to worry about is a present for me. Just look at this kid. He’s perfect Beth, just perfect. What better present than my very own son?" Jeff gazed from the baby, to Beth, and back to his baby. Life seemed to be too good to be true.
Dinner was enjoyed by the two of them. Usually they would have a beer together when Jeff got home, but today in honor of Jeff’s birthday, which was also Valentine’s Day, they shared a bottle of Burgundy that Vince and Michelle had given them at Christmas. Beth sneaked up behind Jeff, and gave him a big hug. "The roses are very beautiful sweetheart, thank you."
"Geez Beth, you trying to kill me with those boobs? They feel like metal funnels sticking into my back!" Jeff knew he was going to get it, and he did. She whacked him a good one across his rear, then decided to give him twenty more paddles to celebrate his twenty-one years.
"But, darling you’re right, they’re so full they hurt. It’s time to feed Jason before I soak my top again. Here, keep yourself amused until I get back, okay?" She tossed him a plastic tic tac toe toy with b-b’s inside to line up in a row that came free inside a box of Puffy Sugar Bites.
As soon as Jeff heard her sweetly humming to Jason, he went out to the car to retrieve a box of fresh red rose pedals. He sprinkled them on the floor from the baby’s room, down the hall into their bedroom, and covered the bed sheets with them. He lit candles around the bedroom, and brought in their wedding goblets freshly filled with wine. Showered and ready, he awaited his beloved wife.
Beth had never seen such a site. It took a few seconds to realize that the pedals were not dropped there by accident. When she entered their bedroom it was like being swept away to another world. Her gorgeous, Adonis looking husband was waiting. He kissed her eyes, her nose, her cheeks, her lips, her chin, her neck, her throat. Lifting her like a goddess, he placed her on the rose pedal covered sheets and loved his wife, loved his Beth, loved this woman like he never loved any woman in his life.
Beth tasted the wine on her lips, as she traced the lines of his face with her fingertips…
Realizing it was her own face, the tears began to fall as she felt the sting on her cheek where she had been slapped. If only she had said, "Happy Valentine’s Day" instead of "Happy Birthday" he wouldn’t have lost his temper. If only he didn’t know that Valentine’s day was Jeff’s birthday, his bitter words wouldn’t have been spoken, "Birthday? Who are you trying to fool bitch? The only fool is you for thinking your ex-husband is thinking of you! You see the young stuff he beds, do you honestly think he’d be interested in your flab now? I knock myself out to keep you in style, and you think of a low life grease monkey mechanic on Valentine’s day. Once a tramp, always a tramp. Now, get on your knees. Who’s a sinner?"
Beth answered boldly, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Tom."
Wrong answer. Tom lashed out without thinking.....