Strange charity service in the Neighborhood door – 01

Greetings Everyone, I hope you guys are well. Today here I am here with a great romantic story strange charity service in the Neighborhood door

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year.

I married young, and had two perfect daughters, but my marriage was far from perfect. We had been young and in love. I was entering the community college and Alice was starting her senior year when we decided to tie the knot. Her family’s ready acceptance of me was a huge factor – the family I’d never had, making me feel like a real member of theirs. I can admit it now; I probably loved being a part of the family as much as I loved Alice.

Our split up was inevitable, two teenagers who knew nothing about life thinking their infatuation with each other would make everything else workout. I wasn’t an all-star, super jock, Rhodes Scholar with a 12″ swinging dick. I was just your average student, A’s and B’s, spending some bench time on the football team to get my letter, and losing my virginity at 18 to the girl I’d eventually marry.

When times got rough, we didn’t know how to handle it, and struck out at each other. Her family often stepped in and helped out when they could, but time after time, the great sex wasn’t enough to make up for the difference in our wants, needs and ambitions.

In the end, we gave up. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle we made it through 5 years. Our devotion to our children allowed us to finally see past our own issues, and work out a remarkably amiable truce, with our girls at the center. Even though Alice and I couldn’t live together, it turned out we got along a lot better divorced. We shared our daughters’ time, lived only one neighborhood apart, and worked together as a team to make our personal differences have as little impact on our girls as possible.

I had initially shared an apartment uptown, but eventually bought one of the smallest houses in the same school district, just to make things easier. It was a lot more than I needed most of the time, but when the girls stayed with me it felt like a home. And we only lived a couple of miles apart.

The neighborhood was nice, predominantly younger families, in older, smallish homes. Most of the people were cordial, kept up their property, and after a few years I knew many by name and would exchange greetings at the grocery store, or when out shopping. I had become suburbanized.

This was our fourth Christmas since the divorce. Alice was living with Eric, who I wish I could despise, but he was a decent guy with a great job and lousy taste in sports teams. He doted on my girls without trying to take my place. It had taken a while, but we’d developed a friendship, which wasn’t a bad thing.

My child support was pegged at just over $1500, with the kids on my health insurance. Even though we weren’t married long enough for alimony to kick in, I was paying another $500 a month just to make the kids’ lives better. And for me, that was all that really mattered.

The expense had been rough at first, but with little to concentrate on other than work, my performance skyrocketed. Two promotions in three years had made the financial aspect much less problematic, but increased travel had made the ability to be available for the girls less guaranteed. Alice was good about it, and worked with me. In return I picked up some more of the girls’ expenses, including music lessons and a piano.

Christmas was special. We celebrated Christmas with an extended family. I’d come over early, and we’d have a big family breakfast and open all the presents together. I really went all out to make sure the girls got their favorite items. At six and eight years old, they were still young enough to have simple wants, and the magic of Christmas was as real as it gets. The in-laws would come over in the afternoon with more presents and we’d have a good old fashioned Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. It was nice to be part of something.

I got a Christmas shut-down at work and Alice didn’t, so we agreed that they’d stay with me from Christmas to New Year’s, and any time she could get off, we’d usually work out something to get her time with the kids. It was understood that I wouldn’t leave town, at least not for more than a day.

Summer was great with the 2 weeks I got to spend with them, and we’d usually spend it on the beach. Christmas was still different. Christmas was magical.

I was always given the girl’s wish list, but I’d also start my shopping in late November for the must-have items of the season. And I wasn’t stingy; I’d buy them all up, just to make sure I didn’t miss any. Stores, online auctions, Craigslist, I’d use any way possible to get my hands on the hottest presents. The first two years I’d caught hell from Alice for buying everything on the list, leaving nothing for them to get. Now I received a separate list of things I wasn’t allowed to buy.

So it was that I had just finished wrapping my forty-fourth present, all in glitter Barbie paper for Rihanna, and in Hannah Montana paper for Alida. December 5th, my earliest date so far to finish the bulk of my shopping. Sure, I’d pick up a few more things, including something for Alice and Eric, but my girls were taken care of. The presents were carefully spread around my living room, where they’d remain on display until just before Christmas, when I’d bring them over to Alice’s in a big ceremony.

The call came from Alice’s mother, Sophie. It took me 11 minutes to get to the hospital. I was still too late. Alice and Rihanna had both died en-route. Eric had passed away only ten minutes before I’d arrived. But Alida, my perfect little Alida, was fighting for her life, in critical condition. She’d always been a fighter, and would never back down from any challenge. She’d beat this too, I just knew it.

It was a freak accident, with a car dodging out of the way to miss a coyote on the road. An 18 wheeler behind the car did his best to avoid the car in front of him, but ended up fishtailing, and taking out a suburban in the next lane over. That vehicle crossed the median and hit my ex-wife’s family van head-on. Six dead already and one little girl still fighting hard for her dear life.

Sophie and I kept a vigil over the little towhead, and when the doctors came out after 6 hours and declared the worst was over and she was in stable condition, we fell into each other’s arms and cried like children.

We stayed by her side, one of us always present, and Sophie called me when my baby woke up and spoke. For three long days we watched her slowly heal in the hospital, the worst of her bruises, cuts and contusions blossoming on the second day, and only just starting to fade again. I’m not a religious guy by nature, but I found myself on my knees beside her bed, praying to God to take care of her, and giving thanks for pulling her through this horrendous disaster.

At 4:18 pm on December 7th she passed away.

No warning, no reason, she was there, and then she wasn’t. The doctors suspected a clot. I suspected incompetence.

I finally understood how a person could get so down on themselves that life might not even feel worth living.

I went home and shut myself off from the world. After a while I took the phone off the hook. Hell, let’s be honest, I ripped the fucking wires out of the wall so I didn’t have to listen to one more bleeding heart tell me they were “sorry for my loss”. The cell phone was easier. I just turned it off.

Several people from work came by and assured me that I could take as much time as I needed. They’d bring me food, and news, and would leave as soon as they felt they’d spent the minimum time required socially by the situation.

Alice’s family took care of the funeral arrangements. They attempted to call, and even stopped by for my input. I gave them a check for $10,000 to take care of the girls, nearly wiping out my savings. What was I going to spend it on now? I couldn’t bring myself to go to the showing but I did take a shower and put on a suit for the funeral. It was a bleak day, gray skies, 20 mile an hour winds threatening to tear the top off of the outdoor tent. The ground was soggy from rain the previous night. Just perfect.

“Thanks, God. Piss on a guy when he’s down. Well, fuck You too.”

I shook the required hands, and kissed the offered cheeks until I just couldn’t take it any longer. All these fake people. Fake emotions. Tell me how sorry they were then go home to their perfect little families and eat meatloaf. Fuck’em. Fuck’em all.

Fourteen days. Two solid weeks in that dark house. I wouldn’t turn on any lights. No TV. I didn’t bathe, I didn’t shave. I sat in my chair or I lay in my bed and wallowed.

I had a few visitors after the first couple of days, but I’d rarely let them in, and before long they had the decency to stop showing up. Only Paisley from next door wouldn’t let me sink into complete oblivion. Every day, at least 3 times a day, she’d check in on me. I wouldn’t have let her in, but she had a key to the back door for emergencies and wasn’t afraid to use it.

She’d open the windows a crack, and goad me into getting out of bed and at least sit in the living room. She’d bring food, which she’d set in front of me, and refused to leave until I at least tried it. I insisted on getting my key back, and she handed it over willingly enough. And showed up again the next day. She’d made copies. Meddlesome bitch. Again, she badgered me into eating her breakfast.

And she’d talk. God, how that woman could talk! I got tired just listening.

All the neighborhood gossip, town gossip, political gossip, school gossip – she was plugged in everywhere and knew it all. Who was doing what, or whom. Griping about people who still had Thanksgiving decorations up, or had Christmas blowups in their front yard. Church fiascos and neighborhood vendettas, she would sit there, drink her tea (or bourbon and coke if the sun had set) and fill me in.

I didn’t care.

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