Welcome back to another Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt is “real”. Let’s see what I’ve got for that.
*This follows after this other piece I wrote a little while back.
“I can’t believe you’re really here.”
Lora looked across the table at Gabriel. She could say the same to him. But, she did believe it. He’d told her, and so had Aaron, how close he was to his family. So it didn’t surprise her that he’d ended up back in his hometown. “Well, I am,” she said. What was her problem? She made a living speaking, and yet she was having trouble stringing more than a couple words together around him. It’s not like she’d never spoken to him before. But, it had been different with a computer screen and thousands of miles between them. And the last time they’d spoken face to face had been at Aaron’s funeral.
She could still feel that grief hanging between them.
They were supposed to go over the projected plans for the housing project, but she couldn’t bring herself to put that between them right now, too. “What have you been up to, Gabe? It’s been a while.”
“Almost two years,” he confirmed. And they hadn’t talked much then. He’d held her, comforted her. But, they hadn’t spoken many words. She’s used up most of hers for the eulogy. “And there hasn’t been much,” he admitted. “Designing projects for Dad and Chris to work on.”
“Do you miss actually being on a job site?”
He shrugged one shoulder, but she sensed something under it. “I like the design work,” he said. But, he didn’t deny missing working on construction sites. That told her more than his words.
“And is that all you do? Work?” God, she needed to shut her mouth. His personal life wasn’t any of her damn business.
The corners of Gabriel’s mouth twitched, though. “No, it’s not all I do. No serious relationships, though. I did recently get a roommate when his dad kicked him out of the house. He served with us, too. Erik Morrey.”
Her mouth turned down. “Aaron mentioned him. Said he was a bit of an asshole.”
That had Gabriel laughing now. “He’s got his moments. But, he really is a decent guy. If you knew his father…” Gabriel shook his head. “Best you don’t. Now, he really is an asshole.”
Lora wasn’t quite sure what to say about that. Aaron had told her a lot of things about Erik Morrey. She wondered if Gabriel would still want him as a roommate if he knew some of them. Maybe he did know, and it didn’t bother him. It had bother Aaron, which she’d lectured him about enough times. But, despite only being a year older than her, he’d had an “old-fashioned” way of thinking. His words, but she’d had others for it.
“You okay?” Gabriel asked, reaching across the table for her hand.
“Yeah,” she said, coming back to he present and him. “I was just thinking about Aaron and how he wasn’t so perfect.”
Gabriel’s eyes were sad, but his lips lifted a little. “No, he wasn’t,” he agreed. “But, we loved him anyway.”
Yes, they had. She and Aaron hadn’t had much of a family, but Aaron had always said Gabriel was like his brother. So, she didn’t doubt that love.
“So,” he said, “I guess we should start going over the proposal.”