Sarah Timmons had had a terrible day. Her tall, lanky frame slouched. Her blue eyes twitched. Stress had quirked the corner of her lips. Even her light brown hair let her down, with an impression from her taco bell visor over the crown of the head. Out of control curls from the bun she had worn all day streamed off the rest of the length.
“Tired,” she muttered, slamming the driver side door to her 1980 Ford Pinto.
Her heart lifted a little when she saw her husband, Chads, ’85 Chevy truck on the curb in front of the house. The wrinkles on her forehead smoothed out, and her unconscious tooth-grinding stopped momentarily. In spite of her mental fog, the spicy gumbo smell from the house snapped her to attention, her stomach growling loud enough for the neighbors to hear.
“Payday,” she told herself. If they were indulging in something more expensive, like shrimp, it normally meant they actually had money. She had forgotten it was the beginning of the month. That meant she would be paid in a week, and they could knock out bills.
“Let’s see… Electric, Phone, student loans…” she trailed off. They kept their bills to a minimum, so there was no cable or other extras to worry about. In spite of the dull, exhausting hours they both worked at their minimum wage jobs, their marriage was wonderful. Sarah enjoyed the transparency, and genuine like and love toward each other. Not having money actually seemed to add to the romantic atmosphere. They worked, went to a .99 theater occasionally, and ate a lot of Ramen Noodles.
Sarah attempted to turn the handle, but the knob wouldn’t turn. She pulled her keys out of her khakis to attempt to unlock it but heard Chad’s voice.
“Don’t unlock it! Give me a second.”
Puzzled, she complied.
After a few minutes, the door lock ground a little, then the door swung open.
The sight of the dim, candle-lit living room greeted Sarah, as well as the clear smell of gumbo. Chad had filled two bowls, placed them on two TV trays pushed together with a pillowcase and a single, blue, lit candle.
“Is some of it for me?”
“Of course.” He scratched at his short red hair, green eyes looking clear and happy.
“Smells awesome.” She smiled.
“Yup. Something else, too.”
“Let’s sit down and eat a little, then I have something to tell you.”
Sarah plopped onto the faded gold couch and untucked her shirt. She rotated her ankles, then pried off her faded running shoes. After a quick blessing, they both started eating with zeal.
Sarah only had a bite or two left, when Chad drew a deep breath.
“Like I was saying, I had something to tell you.”
He never took his eyes off hers. She didn’t react, so he went on,
“I’ve been offered a job, and I took it.” The words tripped over each other as he explained.
“You know Tweetsie railroad? Well, they need a special effects artist for their costumes. One of my friends hooked me up, and they want to interview me next week. I gave my two weeks notice at Aldi today.”
He sat back as her face froze.
“Well, what do you think?”
She searched for the words, and finally plunged in;
“Chad, you never asked me about this. I had no idea this was coming. You can’t just give notice without another job lined up. We need both of our incomes if we are going to stay debt free. Why didn’t we discuss this? It’s ‘we’, right? ”
“The thing is,” he answered, looking puzzled at her reaction, “He texted me today. I had to make a snap decision, and you were at work. I couldn’t call you for that. You are emergency calls only, remember? I would have called your cell, but you turn it off when you are there. ”
“I could have had some notice. Could you not wait until I got home today to talk about this?”
“He said he needed a decision now. I thought you would be happy.”
“I mean, I know this is something you wanted. Right now, we have to make sacrifices, though, to get where we want to go. Remember our goals? Is it at least as much money as you normally make? We have everything planned for to the penny. Will this throw us off?”
“I didn’t think of that.” he admitted.
” You didn’t think. “She could feel the heat creeping up from her collarbone to the top of her skull.
(Part 1, part 2 coming)