This week’s lyric prompt is:
For the rules, click on the lyric above.
This is the last Lyrical Fiction Friday challenge. Many thanks to Marquessa Matthews for challenging writers to dig deep for the story. I missed a week or two and still have one continuation to complete so there will be more LFF posts from me coming soon.
I did a thing again with this week’s writing. Thank you, Mr. Migraine. At least you let me write something.
Instead of posting the same short story for Lyrical Fiction Friday and #52weeks52stories, I took the same characters… and went in two different directions. It’s so much fun being me! Enjoy!
Pat Sinclair made the last few entries in his case file notes. He emailed a copy to his sergeant and to himself, and finally to the queue of the records department.
With his latest case closed and files done, fatigue to bore down on the fifty-two-year-old detective. He eased his bulky frame from his chair and stretched. The aches and pains of age joined in with the past job-related injuries and scarring to once again bring thoughts of retirement to mind.
Why do I keep doing this shitty job? I’ve put in my time. Served my community. Tried to be a good cop and make things better. Twenty-seven years is long enough. Let the new guys have it.
Sinclair thought of the kids coming into the department… with four-year college degrees and not a single clue in their designer-hairstyle covered heads.
Most wouldn’t make it a decade and almost none would get as far as he had. The pay would drive most away. Gen Xers and millennials felt they deserved condos, sports cars, and fancy vacations—things a cop’s salary could never cover. Especially if they had a family.
The thought made him smile as he bagged the remains of an hours-old sandwich, dropped it in the trashcan and headed for the elevator.
He knew he was a blessed man.
Five great kids with no major problems, and his youngest would graduate from college in five months. He was a good, supportive dad, but he also knew he couldn’t take the credit for such an amazing family.
That honor went to Carla Sinclair, his wife of thirty years.
Pat grabbed his coat, needing to get home to the love of his life.
He’d witnessed many marriages implode over the years. Being married to a cop wasn’t a walk in the park. Resentment could grow in even the most supportive spouses and partners after years of the job coming first.
But not his Carla.
Despite the missed dinners, abrupt exits from school events, and canceled vacations, she stood by his side, never complaining.
The irony was the Sinclair arguments were almost always started by him because of his guilt for working so much. But his Carla was still the voice of reason.
“When we got together, I knew I’d have to share you, although back then, it was with the military. But I knew you were that guy… the guy who lives to serve and protect… the hero. And while others may not see you as a hero, you’re my hero and you always will be.”
His steps quickened when he exited the elevator in the lower level parking garage. Raising his hand, Pat clicked his remote starter as he walked down the ramp. He heard his GMC Terrain roar to life and was grateful to find the air blasting from the heater already warming when he climbed inside.
Chalk up another one in the win-column for the all-knowing Carla Sinclair.
The remote starter was her Father’s Day gift to him, so he wouldn’t have to sit in a cold vehicle until it warmed up.
She was always thinking of him.
He’d learned years ago he couldn’t keep up with her, much less, outdo her, but Pat Sinclair was no quitter.
While his coworkers funneled their overtime dollars to weekend camping trips and tech-inspired man-caves, Pat left his overtime pay… in addition to his regular pay, in the business-savvy hands of his Carla. Combined with her pay as a billings manager for a busy vision-care center, she paid the mortgage, household expenses, notes and maintenance on two cars, clothed and fed five kids, and made him look like a million dollars. When they sat down together each month, Pat beamed with pride at all she’d done, and still manage to squirrel a few dollars away into their savings.
Which was why Pat never turned over all his pay. He had his own small savings account for one reason only… his Carla. Whenever he managed to get two or three days off together, Pat would take her to dinner at an upscale restaurant or to a show. Whatever she wanted. Planning was difficult in the early days when the kids were small but one of their mothers or his aunt Joyce would come to his rescue.
Experience taught him in order to keep his job from cutting into his time off, Pat needed to leave town for special time with his Carla… so he did. Whether it was live theater in the city or making love all weekend at a tiny bed and breakfast two towns away, it didn’t matter to him as long as they were together.
Turning off the thoroughfare, Pat entered Crestwood, the family neighborhood he and Carla had lived in for all of their married life.
Many of their friends from the early years fled the congestion of the city for ranch-style homes in the suburbs, but Pat and Carla loved the big, rambling colonials lining Graves Avenue and stayed put.
He pulled into the driveway of house number two-forty… home.
In an instant, too many cases, not enough manpower, and the many stresses of his job faded from Pat’s mind.
He looked up at the weather-beaten roof. He was thankful it didn’t leak but tiles slipped out of place with each storm. The black shutters adorning each window were now grayer in color thanks to the heat of summer and winter’s freezing temps. Pat cringed as he noticed even in the dawn’s muted light, he could see paint curling around the windows. The house had last been painted when Trevor entered second grade, and in a few short months, he would be a college graduate.
Making a mental note to sit down with his wife and make a list of needed home improvements, Pat exited his SUV, house-key in hand. He had thoughts of retirement daily and he knew Carla was ready to explore a home-based business. With no more tuition payments to make, they could take care of the home repairs and settle into a more relaxed way-of-life.
Letting himself in, Pat grinned at a familiar sight… a note from his wife.
Over the years, Pat’s erratic schedule and caseload might see him home long enough only to shower and change clothes. He could miss seeing Carla or their kids depending on the time of say.
So, Carla left him notes.
Some were obvious—on the hall closet door, the stove, or the bathroom mirror.
Others were not—in his underwear drawer, their medicine cabinet, or the jacket pocket of a suit coat.
Carla’s notes would update Pat on mishaps and ER visits for the kids, upcoming school events, or just that she loved him.
Pat Sinclair loved her notes and saved everyone. His favorite was when after a stressful evening of nursing four kids with the flu while pregnant with a fifth, Carla’s note left on the hall closet door informed him she was running away to join the circus.
“I vowed to love you for better or for worse, but I’m drawing the line at projectile vomiting.”
He laughed at the memory while grabbing the latest note from the closet door.
“There’s stroganoff on the warmer or a turkey and Swiss in the fridge. Also, cold beer or lemonade. And because I’m an awesome wife… and somewhat fond of you, there’s a German Chocolate cake on the counter.”
The corners of his lips quirked into a light smile and he raised his eyes heavenward, thankful for having this amazing woman as his wife. His Carla.
His stomach considered the food she’d left for him, but his heart propelled him toward the stairs, which he took two at a time while turning off his cell phone.
Entering their bedroom, Pat’s heart swelled when his eyes rested on his sleeping wife. She lay on his side of the bed, clutching his pillow.
Tearing at his clothes, he rushed into the bathroom for a five-minute shower to remove the stench of the last twenty-four hours.
After toweling off, Pat crawled into bed behind his wife, pulling her back against him.
Stirring, Carla nestled against him, looking over her shoulder.
“Excuse me, sir, but have we met?”
He kissed her temple.
“Yes, ma’am. Just over thirty years ago at a summer carnival. You sold me popcorn.”
She smirked. “Thirty years ago? You expect me to remember that?”
Pat pulled her closer and rested his head on the pillow. “You don’t have to. I remember everything.”
Carla turned in his arms, laying her head on his chest. After a few minutes, she glanced up. “Is everything okay.”
He kissed her forehead. “It’s 6:00 in the morning, I’m yawning and laying down next to you. Everything’s fine in my world.”
They were both asleep in minutes, Pat Sinclair holding onto the woman who made it all make sense. His Carla.