The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 58

What Rich Misses

Dennis and Peggy were fun to visit. Dennis was brusque and cranky at times, but always made up with it by his concern and interest in what others were saying. Peggy on the other hand was buoyant, happy, and always interested not in what was said, but how you felt.
Dennis was passionate about his writing. He worked a few days a week on the ferry from Rockland to Vinalhaven to help pay the bills. He sold some short stories, but not enough to make a living. Peggy was equally passionate about art, whether is was sculpting or painting. She helped support themselves with her art and had a charming little shop attached to their home full of paintings, sculptures, plates, vases, and urns.
While Rich worked on the scandal story he drove out to their home to get refreshed. Dennis was like a volcano just waiting for someone to ask him about plots or character development. He spoke at length and a look came over his face like a child describing a circus. Rich spent several pleasant afternoons in their backyard.
One Saturday afternoon in mid July Rich sat in the back yard of Dennis’s and Peggy’s relaxed in a lawn chair. Dennis sat with him. The grass around his property was waste high. The breezes from the bay skipped along the top of the grass and swooped down on them. Insects, crickets, and frogs chirped and croaked. Birds tweeted softly and melodically and small butterflies fluttered above the top of the grass.
Rich closed his eyes as Dennis was speaking. He blocked out his voice.
“Where are you? Dennis said.
Rich did not respond.
“Where are you?” he said with a bit more force.
“Oh, sorry,” Rich said.
“No, really. Where are you?” Dennis said.
“It’s nothing,” Rich said.
“Ok, who was she?” Dennis smiled and leaned in as if expecting something salacious
“This could be Ohio,” Rich said, “until you look over the grass and across the road and see the bay.”
“You miss Ohio?” Dennis said.
Rich said nothing.
Dennis paused and asked, “What do you miss most?”
Rich turned his head to look at Dennis. “What I miss most is what I never had.” Rich said. “Do you know what I mean?”
“I think I do,” Dennis said. “What is it?”
“I’m not sure,” Rich said. “I wish I missed things enough to want to return. You ever wish to love something because you knew you must and you struggle with that, thinking there is something wrong with you? I just think there is something wrong with me.”
“You know what I think?” Dennis said.
“What do you think?” Rich said.
“I started as a psyche major and I know enough that what you just said makes you a healthy person. Most don’t even give thought to that,” Dennis said leaning closer. “But here lies the key; since you are taking up sailing, you can use your feelings as a crutch or a sail. It can keep you anchored rather than tossed about driven by waves and currents and move you through the waters. If you use it that way you won’t have to be charged a fee or lay on a couch talking to a neurotic. But, Rich, I strongly think at this point in your life it is both an oar and rudder. You are on a good course.”
“I miss my dog,” Rich said. “I should miss people. That’s wrong.”
“Don’t make this anymore complicated than what it is,” Dennis said. “Your dog, what’s his name?”
“Duke.”
“You and Duke had nothing but good times together. You miss the good times,” Dennis said.
“Makes sense,” Rich said.
“You know something,” Dennis said. “If you should ever see a dog that even slightly resembles Duke will you take me to him so I can see what you’re missing?”
“I sure will,” Rich said.

You know that is an inspiration for a story,” Dennis said standing. “Go keep Peggy company for a while. I’m going to jot some notes down.”