99. When I Retire, We Will See the World
It was 10 p.m. Fritz said good night
his wife. She was watching TV. He went
bed. Tomorrow was a big day. It was
last day of work. Thirty years with the
government. Thirty years of flying out of town
weeks on end. Thirty years of interviews, meetings,
heavy briefcases. Tomorrow it would all be over.
that he didn’t like it. He had enjoyed
Fritz felt blessed. His father had had
tough life as an unskilled laborer. Whenever Fritz
a bit discouraged or upset, he thought about
overworked and underpaid father. He thanked God for
own good life, and for the fact that
had been able to make his dad’s last
His two children were married and had
own careers. His wife Paige kept busy with,
other things, her bridge club. She had tried
get him interested in bridge, but without success.
was content with his own Friday night poker
Friday morning, he went to work for the
last time. Those who knew him well would
him. Fritz was a genuinely nice guy. He
had a bad word to say about anyone.
people might have thought he was a little
, but he was intelligent, a hard worker, and
team player. He had taken only three weeks
sick leave in 30 years.
A small group
him out to lunch. When he returned from
, the whole office gathered around for cake, ice
, a farewell card, and a few short speeches.
presented him with various going-away gifts, including a
, paperback US atlas. It listed all the motels,
, national parks, tourist spots, and other information to
guide a leisurely traveler throughout the good old
. He had told his friends that he and
were going to spend a couple of years
all the places that he never had gotten
explore while there on business. As a final
, his supervisor told him to take the rest
the day off.
Paige’s car wasn’t in the
when he got home. She was probably shopping
some traveling clothes. Maybe she was out arranging
dinner at a restaurant that evening for just
two of them. That would be nice.
was wrong. When he hung up his jacket,
saw that the bedroom closet was half empty.
’s clothes were gone. Her shoes were not on
closet floor. Confused, he looked around the bedroom.
saw an envelope on the lamp stand. Inside
were two pieces of paper. One notified him
a divorce proceeding. The other was a hand-written
from Paige. “I’m so sorry,” it began. She
that her lawyer had told her to wait
today. If she had sought divorce a year
, like her boyfriend had suggested, she would not
been able to qualify for 50 percent of
’s pension. She hoped that he would find it
his heart to forgive her. She felt terrible
this, she wrote, because “you’ve been so good
me. But I can’t ignore my own heart.”
sat immobile on the edge of the bed.
note was in his hand; her words were
in his brain.
Maybe an hour later, the
rang. He picked it up on the fifth
. It was Bob, wondering if Fritz was going
play poker later that night.