|Photo Credit: Danny G.|
I met him in 2001 when the "tractor supply" store was a grocery store , I don't remember the name of it , I always called it "IGA" like the name Alan.... I was introduced to the store as "the" IGA and that is how it remained. He walked up to me and noticed two things... #1 that I had a badge on that said I worked as a "social worker in Chesterfield county and #2 that he "liked my sweater."
He wanted to know if he could talk to me sometime about a personal situation and I gave him a card. He called me right away at the office and wanted to talk over lunch, I agreed.
We went to Applebees for lunch , we both only had an hour...we talked about his "situation" and became friends.... not friends that saw each other or talked on the phone but the type of friends that when you saw each other out and about you gave each other a hug and asked how you were and went on your merry way.
We almost always ran into each other at the grocery store in the town we lived in. My boyfriend worked the same place he did and they saw each other more often that we did. They knew each other but not well.
So time passed ... and my boyfriend and I split up for a short time period. During that time, I dared to venture to a local watering hole.... Frisbys..... I had not EVER gone there before to "go out" and my girlfriend from high school said that she would be there and I should come....so I did. Alan was outside in the parking lot.... he asked me what I was doing , and then joined me inside to dance with me and buy me a drink. We had a great time....we danced with each other and with others that night we stayed out really really late .... and he kept asking me "are you having fun yet?" we smiled at each other and nodded yes.... we did dance to a slow song and with his height and bad back....I stood in a chair for that one... there was not any talk of anything personal... just two people who normally don't frequent the bars out having a good time.
The next day.... was a different story.... my boyfriend came to my house and we talked. I had not been "available" the night before and he had called several times. He came over for dinner. There was a knock at the door....it was Alan..... his girlfriend had "gotten wind" of him out dancing with me. Yes, news travels quickly in this small town I live in. He had gotten in trouble and wanted me to talk to her and explain that "nothing" happened. My boyfriend was taken back by his arrival and wanted to know , "how did he know where you lived?" This was a mystery to me....I did not know..... and Alan told him that he had done "yard work" for me...which was not true. He found out some how ? where I lived ...but it wasn't through yard work.... UGH WHAT A MESS.... was this worth a night out? well... yeah it was.... because we both forgot for a night , our troubles of the world and just reminded each other of who we really were despite everything else.
I talked to his girl friend on the phone and assured her that nothing happened to breech her trust , but she insisted that Alan , did not drink. Well.... he did have a few that night that was for sure .... I felt bad for him ... but ... I just told the truth, like he asked me to do. Little did I know that my boyfriend would get with Alan at work and ask him a bunch of questions later, but he did. Apparently both of our significant others knew that we were acting out of character by being "out" and questioned the intensions. Alan called me and told me about it and we laughed as I asked him "are you having fun yet?"
He was a big old cuddly guy....we genuinely liked each other and shared a few good times....
The last time I saw him a couple of months back, my GF (Debra) and I went to the Fresh to Frozen market in Richmond. He was outside... he looked like he had been working... he told me as he was eating a banana that he had retired from his job at the factory and was doing yard work / landscaping full time and had bought a camper. He was smiling with his mouth and his eyes as he said "hey anjie , how are ya girl?" and gave me a hug.... I know he wanted to ask me if I was having fun yet... but he didn't ...we ventured in the store and he left.....
I heard ...online that Alan passed away ....he was found a couple of days after the fact.. He had had some type of surgery on his kidneys and didn't go back to the Dr. for a follow up and bled to death...that is what one of his closest friends told me. He was in his camper. It is so very sad.... the time of his life that he was waiting for all of those years ....what he told me on our lunch visit .... "retirement, camping and financial freedom from child support" was what he lived every day for..... was "short lived."
He made it to that time....what he strived for ..... but he was only 59 years old and it was over.... he did not get to enjoy that freedom for long... not long at all.... I mourn the loss of Alan.... running into him here and there... and taken way to early for his 4 children I know they will miss him desparately... he never enjoyed the joy of grandchildren... which we all know is WAY BETTER than having children.
They buried him a few weeks after he died. In a place that is not close to here... Victoria VA? I am not sure why... with very little notice and I had to work that evening.... I am sad that I could not go and lay a flower on his grave that day..... and say that I was glad to know him... even as limited as it was... it was meant to be ... for what reason I don't really know