Ever and Always
Chapter 5: Outside - May 28, 2021

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

They walked out the door, and both Rick and Marsha came to a halt. How many years since they were outside unaided? It was at least eight years for both of them. It felt both wonderful and scary at the same time.

It was a sunny spring day in Baltimore with the temperature around seventy eight degrees. The air had that big-city perfume of automobile exhaust, garbage, the smell from the Chesapeake Bay and a Baltimore special, a mixture of spices from the large spice company located at the docks.

All in all, it was wonderful to the shut-ins. It smelled of life.

"Times a-wasting there's ice cream to be had," said Peggy. They turned right out of the door and walked one short block and across the street to a McDonald's.

Needless to say Rick and Marsha were thrilled with the ice cream even though it was plain vanilla.

As they sat eating their dishes of ice cream, Rick noted. "Things have changed. The menu is different and it shows the calories on every item."

"The food police are out in force now days," said Emily. "Pressure was being brought on companies to do this. In New York City, the mayor got into the act. Now the federal regulators are talking about linking your outside dining to your health records. If you eat the wrong foods and have related health issues, they don't want to cover you."

Emily continued, "The federal budget is in such bad shape, they are doing everything they can to deny benefits. At the same time, they cheerfully add to the dependency roles to gain voter support. It is a mess."

"Why Emily," said Rick, "You sound like a Republican."

"Oh no they are just as bad since they rebranded themselves to get the Hispanic vote," she replied.

Rick said, "The strangest thing about that is most Hispanics I know are hardworking conservatives."

Emily went on, "I am not sure if I have a political home in America anymore."

Marsha broke in with, "That is sad. You are so young and cynical already."

Emily then laughed with her funny little sound, which sounded like she was going Hut, Hut, Hut. There was no real way to describe it, but it was a pleasant sound.

"It's too nice of a day to be sad and serious. The world will go on," she said.

They trooped outside but on the way Rick picked up a job application.

Peggy joked, "I can see the old geezer now. Do you want fries with that?"

Rick replied, "Have a nice day." For some reason, this broke the group up.

On a more serious note, Rick brought up the fact that both, he and Marsha seemed to be well on their way to a real life.

"The only problem is we are dead broke and have no idea how we got to where we are, much less what happened to our funds and who to talk to about getting them back and how to get out of the rest home." Rick brought this out all at once, and it left him gasping for some breath.

Peggy thought for a moment, "You both should check your Schaefer records. They should have some sort of a trail. I would do it for you, but I am out of here in less than an hour."

Emily added, "So am I, but I will be local so if I can help I will."

They strolled back to the rest home. Both Rick and Marsha were showing the strain of their longest journey yet. They hugged both ladies good bye one more time and went to their respective rooms for a nap before dinner.

When they went to dinner, Marsha said, "Let's sit separately tonight, we have a few things to discuss."

"I agree," said Rick. "Besides it will give those old ladies something to talk about."

Marsha giggled as she replied, "The rumor mill will be going crazy. However, we need to have a serious discussion about what we are going to be doing."

As they sat down, Rick brought up the elephant in the room.

"We are different aren't we? Our minds are clear, and we seem to be in exceptional good health for our ages. Then there is the fact that we both have a mystery of how we got here in the first place."

"Right Rick, now what are we going to do about this?"

"Well I don't think either of us wants to spend the rest of our life in this joint. We can't predict our future so let's plan our lives like everyone else, that things will be fine until life tells us differently."

"That works for me. That means we need to get out of here. We also need to find out what happened to our money. I suspect if we can find how we got here we will be well on our way to getting our money back if it is still there."

"Marsha you had to say that, but I worked awful damn hard for that money."

"So did my husband and I but we have to be realistic? So our long-term goal is to get out of here and retrieving our money if we can. I assume we are doing this as a team."

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