“We have to stop meeting like this.” Cowgirl said to Kurt, who was nursing a beer, when she came up to him a week later at that same bar. “I’m ravenous, let’s get some food.” She announced. She downed the water sitting on the bar.
“Let me cook you dinner.” Kurt suggested.
“You cook, too.” She gleefully responded. “Wow, Okay, cowboy, but I’m not a meat eater.” She coyly replied as her hand found her way to his crotch and she giggled again and said, “I do make exceptions, though.”
Again Kurt left the change of a ten on the bar and they ambled out.
They stopped at the market on the way to Kurt’s house and picked up fixings for dinner. They picked up a salmon fillet and some asparagus. Kurt had the rest of the ingredients he needed at home. He put the salmon on a bed of spinach covered with some halved cherry tomatoes and sliced onions in a wine and vegetable stock in a baking dish and cooked it at 400 degrees for thirty minutes. He quick steamed the asparagus just as the salmon was cooked and cooling. He served that with previously made cucumber and tomato and red onion salad in red vinegar. Cowgirl was impressed and appreciative and she was ravenous in more ways than one that night.
As they were eating, Kurt discovered her name was Hope, and she learned his name as well. Hope was a dance major for no reason at all except she liked dancing. Kurt came from money, but not enough that he didn’t have to work, but he did for a local landscaper so he could get practical knowledge for his theoretical knowledge in his botany classes. His parents were not happy he was working because they feared it would interfere with his studies. Hope on the other hand didn’t work and would never work a day in her life. She was a trust fund baby. She was rolling in money and would for the rest of her life; she thought or was made to believe. Kurt didn’t see this as a red flag, why should he? He should have is what he learned later.
Kurt shared his dreams with Hope about working in the forests of the national parks. She shared her experiences of visiting the national parks with her uncle and aunt, and not with her parents who were busy making money so she wouldn’t have to work. Her folks traveled first class to the best places in the world, while her uncle and aunt preferred camping in the national parks and took Hope because they didn’t have children. She didn’t have dreams. She was a sad hopeless child.
During the last two years of college, they lived together, and Hope was still dancing, but was neither interested nor involved with Kurt’s landscaping or even concerned with his dreams. Instead of applying for national park service, Kurt found a science-teaching job nearby and soon, Hope was pregnant. Her dancing career was over, but then she never had plans for one, so she wasn’t disappointed. Her parents were ecstatic and so happy at the prospect of becoming grandparents. All of a sudden her mom was in her life like never before. Either the mom was at their apartment or they were at her house in the Virginia suburbs during the pregnancy. Before Kurt knew it he was sucked into their family and saw little of his own. One day when Kurt came home from his menial job, which he was growing to hate, Hope told him she and her mom found the cutest little house in Virginia for them to move into. Kurt and Hope had never spoken about this move nor of getting a house. This was her mom’s idea and she did it because she could and just assumed Kurt would go along with it or didn’t care if Kurt liked it or not. Once they moved in, Kurt had a bad commute each day and was getting less and less happy. Every day he came home, Hope’s mom was there and the house was changing into something he didn’t recognize. As Hope got into her last trimester, Hope’s mom turned from a constant visitor to a permanent fixture in the guest room. Kurt was living with his wife and mother-in-law. Kurt had done his job; he had gotten Hope pregnant. He wasn’t needed anymore. The last time Kurt and Hope were alone together was when she gave birth to Sarah. After Sarah was born, Kurt was looking in from the outside as his mother-in-law took over everything.
Kurt started coming home late as he found himself stopping at his watering hole on the way home, where he ran into his old boss, Hugo, from the landscaping business where he worked during college. Hugo was shocked to see him still in town and asked about what happened to his national park plans. Kurt explained how he got a woman pregnant and was now a middle school science teacher so far from his dreams he forgot what they were. Hugo, too, had his problems as his son was not interested in the landscape business and Hugo’s business was struggling. As the two continued talking Hugo asked, “Hey would you like to come back and work with me during the summer?” Kurt immediately declined but after another beer, turned to Hugo and told him that the idea might be good since he realized being in the house all summer with three generations of women might not be healthy for him. He told Hugo he would and maybe they should start as soon as school let out which was in a month. Hugo suggested some work on the weekends since spring had already offered him good contracts that he was afraid he couldn’t fulfill.
Kurt wasn’t sure if it was the extra beer or the idea of rejoining Hugo that made his return home so much more enjoyable since the birth of his daughter. Kurt ate alone because the women ate at the regular time and he wasn’t home. His mother-in-law said they had to keep a schedule for the sake of the baby and the mother. All the fun of bathing the baby, feeding the baby from extracted breast milk, changing diapers and calming a crying baby had ben taken away from Kurt by his mother-in-law. It was then that Kurt realized how unhappy he was and was elated at the prospect of rejoining forces with Hugo and being out of this mad house in the summer. That weekend he began to retake his life back when he rejoined Hugo.
(to be continued)