‘A River in the Ocean’ Backstory: Maggie And Gilmer Try Part II

Maggie came in the house with groceries in her hands. Gilmer was right behind her. He kicked the door closed as Maggie made her way into the kitchen. She put her bags on the counter and started sorting them out.

Gilmer put his bags on the table and went to the cabinet when Maggie turned to him with a curious look on her face, “What are you doing?”

“Getting ready to make some coffee,” Gilmer answered.

“No. I’ll do it,” Maggie said.

“What? I can’t make coffee,” Gilmer asked.

“Yours is too strong. I can stand a spoon in a cup of yours,” Maggie answered. “Move! I’ll do it,” Maggie pushed Gilmer out of the way as she reached in the cabinet for the coffee and filters.

That’s when the phone started ringing. They both looked at it amazed. Gilmer whispered, “Already? Could it be them?”

“It’s them. Who else would be calling us,” Maggie answered.

Gilmer’s eyes grew wide. He looked at Maggie, “You want me to get it?”

Maggie looked at the phone and then looked at Gilmer. She wrung her hands and then wiped them on her jeans. She was hesitant. The look of anxiety on her face pained Gilmer. But Maggie finally shook her head, “No, I’ll get it.”

She walked over to the phone and pulled it off the wall, “Hello.” She listened and then answered, “This is her.”

Gilmer took a seat at the table and listened patiently.

Maggie twirled the phone chord in her fingers. She nodded her head as the person on the other line kept talking. Gilmer strained to hear. With Maggie’s back to him, he couldn’t even tell from her expression if it was good news or bad news.

“Yeah,” Maggie said. “I understand. Okay, thanks for calling. Bye,” Maggie put the phone on the receiver. She stood there for a second and put her head against the wall.

“What’s the news,” Gilmer asked.

Maggie slowly lifted her head and turned around. She sat down at the table and looked at Gilmer. Then, tears came to her eyes. She shook her head and covered her mouth.

Gilmer got up and walked over to Maggie. He stood behind her and wrapped his arm around her, “What in the world did they say?”

Maggie patted Gilmer on the arm, “They said a whole bunch of nothing. But, we’re not going to…” Maggie paused and rubbed Gilmer’s arm.

She stood up and went back to making coffee. As Gilmer watched, he had no idea how bad the news could possibly be, “What?”

Maggie started putting coffee in the filter and then slowly turned to Gilmer, “They said I’m all broken inside. My stuff ain’t right.”

“Look just fine to me,” Gilmer said with a quiver in his voice.

“Gil,” Maggie said, “We’re not going to have any children.”

Gilmer stood silent for a moment. He took off his hat and started walking toward her, “When you got off the phone, I didn’t know what I was going to hear. A lot of things went through my head and none of them were any good.” Gilmer put his arms around her, “I know you wanted a child. That’s what I wanted too. But, I couldn’t think of a world without you.”

Maggie cried into his chest. She rubbed his back. Gilmer pulled away and gave Maggie and long, hard look. He wiped hair out of her face and put his hand on her cheek. Then, he leaned into her for a soft kiss. Maggie understood that Gilmer didn’t always have the right thing to say. But, he did know how to do the right thing.

* * *

Maggie was relaxing on the front porch with a glass of tea. She often enjoyed the calm of the front porch when Gilmer was gone. Who knows what he was up to this time? Gilmer would get these ideas in his head and nothing could knock them loose.

As she sat sipping her tea, she suddenly saw the truck. Gil was driving kind of fast. The dust was flying and the tail end was fishtailing around the turns. Maggie knew he was excited about something.

Gilmer pulled the truck up into the yard and immediately saw Maggie sitting in her chair. That’s when he showed her what all the fuss was about. He picked up a puppy and held it in the windshield.

Maggie squinted and then shook her head. She stood up and put her hands on her hips as she walked down the porch steps and into the yard.

Gilmer got out of the truck and put the puppy down. At first, the puppy stayed by Gilmer and smelled his boots. Then, he started making his way through the yard toward Maggie.

Maggie squatted down as the puppy approached her. She reached out for him and he came right to her. Maggie had the biggest smile on her face as the puppy’s tail wagged and he licked Maggie’s face from ear to ear.

Gilmer knelt down beside the two. He stroked the puppy’s back, “Thought we could use an addition to the family.”

“Oh yeah,” Maggie asked. “Well you picked a perfect one, absolutely perfect.” She grabbed the puppy up as she stood to her feet. Then, she carried him in the house.

Gilmer watched her walk up the porch steps and in the living room door. He scratched his head, “Worked better than I thought it would.”

* * *

Gilmer came in the living room. Maggie was putting down a bowl of water, “I don’t imagine you got some food for him.”

“Oh yeah,” Gilmer nodded. “It’s in the truck.”

“Thought of everything,” Maggie said.

Gilmer nodded again, “I tried.”

Maggie looked up at Gillmer, “You did good.” She stood up and walked over to Gil. She put her arms around him and looked him straight in the eyes, “See? This is what I mean. Your brain works pretty good. I like the way it works.”

“Well, that’s a relief because I was only window shopping,” Gilmer admitted. “I got attached and couldn’t walk away.”

Maggie laughed. Then, she looked at the puppy who was wandering around the living room making himself at home, “Got a name?”

Gilmer nodded, “Well, I was thinking Jake.”

“Jake huh,” Maggie asked. “Jake will do just fine.” She looked back at Gilmer and shook her head.

Gil leaned into her for a long, passionate kiss. Gilmer knew he hadn’t fixed the problem, but he had definitely thrown a curve ball through it. Sadness in the house just might be lifted for a minute.

That kiss lasted for a good sweet while until Maggie pulled away and stared at Gilmer, “Jake’s already making himself at home.”

“What do you mean,” Gilmer asked.

“He found your shoes,” Maggie answered.

Gilmer looked around the living room and spotted Jake treating his shoe like a chew toy, “My shoe Jake? Couldn’t find something else to gnaw on?” Gilmer walked over to Jake and picked up the puppy. Guess he hadn’t thought of everything.

Read the novel that made Maggie and Gilmer famous. It’s free online now at A River in the Ocean