Ethan had already been married, and Cynthia wasn’t big on traditional ceremonies, and so they opted for a courthouse affair. While all of his kids didn’t make it to the ceremony, they did all come by for a family photograph afterward.
Ethan didn’t expect to feel emotional during this ceremony, but watching Cynthia’s face as she vowed to love him, touched a cord with him that hadn’t been struck in many years.
It was chilly for the family portrait, but Ethan felt elated that all of his children and grandchildren had made it a priority to arrive. Colin wasn’t particularly impressed with Cynthia, but it wasn’t personal. He found her to be more tolerable than his own Dad, but as they were united, he worked to avoid both.
They snuggled into bed on their wedding night, and Ethan felt contended to share the apartment with someone. He hadn’t known he’d be so affected by Caitlyn and Aidan growing up, but the two bedroom apartment felt immaculate and bare without them.
Cynthia had never been a maternal type of woman, not for lack of enjoyment of children, but just no experience. She had avoided responsibility for her entire life, and while she tried to relate with Caitlyn, she didn’t know how to actually be a Mother.
They got along fine enough, as long as Cynthia wasn’t trying to give advice on parenting Thomas.
For a few short weeks, they enjoyed being newlyweds. Ethan left for this third shift job, while Cynthia prepared herself dinner. He had more days off a week than on the job, mostly out of preference but also slightly due to his age and a new younger boss that was trying to squeeze him out.
Every year there seemed to be an announcement of a new super-bug. There wasn’t a person who hadn’t heard of the different animal breed flu epidemics, and it had never had any affect on him. So when the news announced with mad hysteria about another new super-flu, one that was immune to medicine; neither he nor Cynthia paid it any mind.
Cynthia got sick first. She worked at the pizza place down at Trout Pointe Lake, constantly surrounded by grimy kids, and the public at large. This wasn’t their first time being sick, and so it was not alarming in and of itself.
Ethan quickly followed suit, and they both took time off of work. None of their bosses wanted them coming in anyway, but they weren’t kind enough to give them paid time off.
Ethan had recovered quicker than Cynthia, and was back to work before his boss could fire him. It would be nearly impossible to get another job at his age. He had left Cynthia in bed, well-fed, and tucked in. By the time he returned early the next morning, she had already passed away.
The doctors explained that the super-bug had gotten her, sometime in the middle of the night. They chided that they she might have survived if she had gone into the doctors, but she had been feeling better just that night. She had discussed returning back to work the following day. Nothing had seemed that dire when he’d left her sleeping the night before.
Bills started piling up after he stopped checking the mail. He’d continued in a fog until one day, he found two letters from Cynthia in the mail. The repoman didn’t hesitate to reclaim some of his possessions, they had a long history, one that Ethan had thought he’d never rekindle.
Caitlyn started taking a taxi back home to help her Dad. Luca tried, but he had a full-time job, a family, and a wife heavily pregnant with twins. There was just only so much one person could do, and Caitlyn felt the obligation. She had always been closer to him, she could tend to him with only compassion in her heart.
Thomas loved coming to his Grandpa’s house, and just his smile helped to brighten Caitlyn’s spirits. She hoped that he would help her Dad too.
He barely got out of bed, and only managed to keep his job because his cousin, Cole had taken care of it. They didn’t have much of a family relationship, and Caitlyn had been surprised by his initiative.
Caitlyn took care of all his bills, and prepared food for him, that she then forced him to eat. She was upset about the passing of Cynthia, but was more afraid that her Dad would get ill again from his depression. She couldn’t imagine losing her Dad on top of everything else the past year had brought.
Elias would come out and spend time with her, keep an eye on Thomas who was overly fond of eating Bazooka’s kibble. Mostly they just snuggled on the couch, not doing much of anything at all.
Near the end of the month, Ethan ventured out of his bed. He came upon Thomas playing in the doggy bowl, and found himself less suffocated by the grief.
Though Thomas was quite upset to be removed from the dog dish.
He sent Caitlyn and Thomas back to campus, and told them to not return until the weekend. Of all the terrible things to happen that year, he was anticipating the day that Caitlyn graduated from Eastborough. He couldn’t allow himself to be the reason why she failed.
He found himself at his sister, Kenzie’s house just to talk. They’d always been close, with Kenzie helping him out after the divorce, and to get himself in order to have custody of Aidan and Caitlyn afterward. He knew that her husband, Tyler used to think he was a lousy drunk, but if Kenzie had ever though that back then, she hadn’t ever let it on.
There wasn’t much to say, so they sat, and drank coffee. Now and then he would remark on a memory that flitted into his mind, and Kenzie never offered empty condolences.
Kenzie never told Ethan he couldn’t come by, and they began to meet regularly after her workday to just be together.
When he finally found the courage to visit the graveyard, he felt overwehlemd with grief over the two wives that he’d lost that year.
Though Meredith hadn’t been a happy marriage, they had shared a large portion of their lives together, and she had mothered his children.
He was grateful to have had her in his life, and mourned the lack of time with Cynthia. She had been a bright light, a comfort for his elderly years ahead, and he felt much more alone now than he ever had before.
Notes: Well, that happened. Originally she died the morning before my bunny Flynn died, and I felt so sad to keep her dead. Poor Ethan. 😦 I went to a back up, and tried to save her within their means, and she still always died. I tried three times, I was concerned that Ethan might not make it, but he always did, so I guess his wasn’t as bad off as her. I didn’t speak to the Grim, but I did maxmotives her butt on the last attempt. It just didn’t matter.
This was especially cruel, these letters arrived after her death. I didn’t even know she had mailed them.
I feel bad for Ethan.