A Retired Woman stumbles into a new career fighting crime with senior citizens
While Stacy Coltrane enjoyed one of her television shows a commercial interrupted and grabbed her attention. A retirement community, where they cleaned, cooked and provided activities. She adored her two story home of twenty years. But maintaining it was becoming a serious issue for her. Climbing the stairs hurt her knees. And keeping her eye on the landscaping men who cared for her yard was burdensome. They didn’t care for it as she had. She had to do something; this was no longer an option.
Stacy lived alone, never finding her prince charming. Her career as a psychologist was the life she desired. She loved her work, loved helping people. The time for retirement approached her and she was ready. Her memory was fading. She struggled with finding the right word and losing items all the time. Yes it was time to retire. After two years of going to movies and sitting around the house she needed to meet new friends and she needed to feel useful again. So the next day she called the phone number she wrote down from the commercial and scheduled a tour of the retirement center. Her sister joined her on the tour and they agreed it was a good choice for Stacy. Lucy was her younger sister by ten years.
The retirement center was located in Huntley, Illinois out amidst the horse ranchers and farmers. You can actually hear the corn grow. And it was located a few miles from her sister. Her house sold within the first week. After diligently filling out the required paperwork between the selling of her house and the new house in the retirement center, she was moving into her new place. Stacy was excited; it felt like she was starting a new life, another chapter. And sadly she realized her last chapter.
The moving van brought her treasures to her new home and she directed them where to put everything. Stacy had found the cutest layout of the houses she had to pick from. There were over one thousand houses in this community. She had two small bedrooms, walk through kitchen, small dining area and a decent size living room with a fireplace that created a cozy warm feeling. Most importantly no stairs! After the movers finished, Stacy rolled up her sleeves and turned on her iPod selecting her playlist of the sixties as she unpacked her suitcases of clothes, and her boxes of treasures that were piled in each of the rooms.
As the sun set pulling the light from the room Stacy flicked on a light realizing how late it was. Her hunger alarm sounded. She thought, it has to be six o’clock. Eager to meet and make new friends Stacy changed into her dressy blue blouse and black pants, and gave her hair a quick brushing. She then grabbed her fleece jacket, aware of how chilly it gets in these fall evenings. Locking her door she wondered, Do seniors commit crimes and if they do what kind. She followed the directions in the brochure she was provided briskly to the Grill Restaurant. Glancing up at the star lit sky she smiled contemplating, if the stars could be a gateway of our loved ones that have passed on watching us here on earth. How cool that would be.
Approaching the Grill she adored the outside appearance, a quaint little restaurant. As she opened the door the smell of olive oil and garlic permeated the air. Flowers in white vases decorated each white clothed table. A small fireplace sat with its dancing flames in the middle. The place was buzzing with people and waiters dashing to fill the orders. A thin willowy young girl with short blonde hair approached her.
"Welcome, would you prefer a booth or table?" She smiled clutching menus.
"Mmmm,” Stacy rubbed her chin. “A table please." She thought noticing the rather large size of the booths.
"Follow me." Maggie replied as she strode towards the back of the restaurant. As Stacy passed other couples she smiled and nodded saying, "Good evening". They returned the gestures.
Maggie then stopped and held her hand out. "How about this table?"
"Yes Thank you," Stacy sat and scooted her chair in.
“Can I get you some coffee, tea, water?" She placed the menu on the table.
"Herbal Tea would be great it’s a little late in the day for caffeine." Stacy smiled.
"Of course I’ll get it right away." Maggie walked away.
As Stacy waited for her order she retrieved her phone to create a grocery list. A voice nearby interrupted her thoughts.
"Hi, I hope I’m not bothering you, if you'd prefer to be alone I understand?" A heavyset woman maybe 5'2" stood before her, wearing a house dress, something Stacy would never be caught dead in. Stating you don’t care about your appearance.
Stacy, smiled, "Please I would love the company have a seat."
The woman plopped into the chair, "My name is Nancy Lawrence. I noticed you were alone, you are alone right? You’re not expecting someone?"
The woman’s voice was loud enough to crack concrete. Stacy thought, maybe she is hard of hearing."No 'I’m not expecting anyone. Please eat with me. I would love it." Stacy replied eager to have conversation.
"I haven’t seen you around here before.” Nancy said as she placed her napkin on her lap.
"I just moved in today." Stacy replied. "So Nancy how long have you lived here?"
Nancy placed her hand on her chest before she spoke. "Let me see six years," her eyes rolled up as she mentally counted, "Yes that's right six years now?”
"Do you like it here?" Stacy asked.
Clearing her throat Nance replied. "I do indeed. I love the activities."
Stacy sipped her tea and then asked, "So do you live here alone?"
"Yes well now I do. My husband passed away two years ago. I live in section 12 B. Do you know where that is yet?" Nancy asked.
"They did give me a tour, but no it was too much information at once." Stacy grinned.
Nancy cocked her head, "How about you do you live alone?" Nancy asked.
"Yep all alone and loving it? Stacy replied. She wondered if saying this was a good thing. “But I do have a killer parrot. He’s the love of my life.”
Nancy's face dropped saddened by her news. “Ah a parrot,” she shrugged.
The waiter appeared and recited their orders both deciding on the night’s specialty of spaghetti.
Stacy was good at reading people and Nancy’s facial expression considered Stacy at a loss. "Motherhood just wasn't my cup of tea. How many kids did you two have?" She asked biting her cheek.
Nancy hesitated at first; feeling embarrassed especially knowing how Stacy felt. She then whispered, "Six."
Stacy laughed. "Congratulations, did you ever figure out what caused your pregnancy?"
Nancy laughed her eyes narrowed not thinking Stacy was a bit funny not at all. "My you are the funny one aren't you. We are devoted Catholics, we don't believe in birth control. And he blessed us with half a dozen children. And I cherish each and every one of them." Nancy dipped her tea bag in the small kettle.
"So let’s see how many grandchildren do you have now?" Stacy grew curious.
Again Nancy raised her eyes to the ceiling as she counted, "Eighteen, I hope I didn't forget anyone."
"I won't tell." Stacy replied.
Nancy chuckled again. You are such a comedian. Once a week we have card night. Do you like pinnacle?" Nancy changed the topic of conversation.
"No always wanted to learn though. Maybe your group can teach me?"
"Maybe." Nancy replied coldly.
Suddenly Nancy’s attitude grew cold. It was like she was a different person. Stacy was too familiar with personality issues over her line of work. Her speech was stilted. Luckily the waiter appeared serving their food. Stacy decided to order a bottle of Pinot red wine, her favorite. Thinking the wine might loosen Nancy up somewhat.
"Nancy what type of work did you do before retiring?" Stacy felt it would be safe to ask work related questions with this one.
"Once the children moved away, I was an accountant for a small firm. I don’t believe in these working women today. We struggled but managed to get through it." She traced her finger around her wine glass. "How about you since you didn't have kids. I mean just what does one do with their time. I can't imagine."
"I bet." Stacy laughed. "I had my career as doctor of psychology." She certainly slammed me. Why again do I want to meet people?
Again her face dropped as she stared into Stacy's eyes. "Really." She stopped dead silence for a while. Her fingers tapped her knife against the table.
Stacy felt like an hour had passed before Nancy spoke again. She kept busy with her spaghetti wrapping it around her fork and buttering her bread.
Nancy then spoke. "So tell me about your clients?"
"The usual marriage issues, children, finances. Oh and for two years I worked at the county prison." Stacy replied. The room didn't feel so cozy anymore. Nancy’s cold vibes continued. She so wanted to retreat back home. . She felt safer at the prison than she did at this moment. But she didn't dare show it if there is a piece missing to Nancy’s puzzle, she wanted nothing to do with it. Stacy didn't want to upset Nancy in any way.
"Weren’t you scared dealing with the prisoners? I could never do that.” Nancy shuddered.
"The guards were always posted around me. I found them interesting, very interesting." She stared into Nancy's cold black eyes. No emotions, she has no emotions at all. It’s just a feeling I've got from her, but she is definitely off.
The waiter appeared asking if anyone wanted dessert. Stacy replied immediately, "No thank you. It’s getting late.”
Stacy treated Nancy for dinner telling her next time it’s on her. Stacy knew there would never be a next time. But she didn't want to alarm Nancy in any way whatsoever.
The woman scooted out from the table and they walked outside together. Once out into the cool crispness of the night, Nancy turned to Stacy. "It’s been fun. We should do this again.” She waited as if Stacy was to invite her over. Nancy handed her a slip of paper with her phone number. “Call me for that card game. I'd be glad to teach you first, before we join the others. Oh, and thanks again for dinner.”
"Sure that is great.” She tucked the slip of paper into her pocket. Have a good week." She turned and briskly walked toward her house. Stacy couldn’t get inside her locked doors fast enough. I'll bet she wants to get me alone.....