Monday, August 27, 2012

The Handsome Man

I used to work at a language institute that was part of a college.  There were about nine teachers, only two of whom were men.  One was an older, fussy married man and one was a younger married man who loved the sun and beach so much he eventually moved to Miami.
Anyway, the institute's faithful, grandmotherly secretary retired and we got a string of temps.  This made for a disorganized office--i.e. paychecks arriving late, books not ordered and that sort of thing.  Until we got The Handsome Man!
The Handsome Man worked as our secretary while finishing his PhD.  He kept everything running perfectly.  AND he was handsome.  The women joked about how much they found themselves stopping in at the front office just to check out this secretary's efficiency and smiling face.
So, one day not long after he came to untangle our office I was home and who did I see jogging in front of my house?  Yes, you guessed it, The Handsome Man!  It turned out he lived only a few houses away.
 Unfortunately, I had to tell the girls at work that he did not live alone.  Nor did he jog alone.  He did both with a beautiful woman and their pet dog.
Eventually we got to be pretty good friends.  He was a handyman-DYI type of guy, and so was my husband, so they often helped each other out when replacing a toilet or patching something on the roof. The Handsome Man (for I always secretly called him that) built the picket fence in his front yard.  The first time he did it though, he did something wrong with the wood, stained it a wrong color or something so the thought it was too green.  So he gave the load of pickets to us, and my husband used them to build a treehouse for the boys.

 (Now used as a place to keep rabbit hay.)
 I always liked that guy, even after he quit being a temp secretary and I quit teaching at the language institute.  When he finished his PhD, he and his girl friend got married and moved back out west where they had come from.
The last time he spoke to me, he was in his driveway with his dog and I was walking by.  He called out, "I'm sorry that mmm you lost mmm,"
"The dog?" I said, thinking of the signs for our lost dog we had hung up everywhere.
"Yes," he called. "That's too bad."
Later, I wondered if he was going to say sorry I had lost my husband, but we had both only pretended he meant the dog because the other wasn't something to call out across the street.  Or maybe I am just imagining that.

When you are in the treehouse, if you lean out over one side, you can see that the magnolia tree has branches that spoke out just perfectly for climbing, creating a natural ladder. They boys used to go up so high they'd scare me to pieces.  I'll have to get my bearings--and my sneakers--and go up there again.


  1. Oh I love when the magnolia trees here are in bloom, its magical in the south. I would love for my husband to build a tree house, we dont have a tree in the back . The shade we get are from the neighbors trees and the ones front the road and the front yard. Maybe in our next life.
    I have mostly worked with women in the work place. It not always a good environment. Some daily eye candy is always nice. And it changes the dynamics too.
    Another solid piece of writing.
    So flattered you added me in your blog list. Love it, thanks!

  2. It does change the dynamics - funny, isn't it?

    What a wonderful story, with a hint of sadness. Thank you.