He was crazy in the head. That’s what most folks said about old Jake. He had grown up in a small town south of Chicago. He had worked in his father’s fields until his dad died. His dad discouraged him from dating. He said, he was needed more at home and besides, girls take and take, and ain’t nothing but trouble.
Myself, I believe old Jake was just plain lonely. He never even kissed a girl. After his parents were both gone, Jake didn’t want the farm anymore; so with help; he sold it. He took the little bit he got and moved himself into town.
He got an apartment and paid for the next three years ahead of time. He picked out a room that had a big window in the front yard, and that is where the old, crazy man sat most days. He would stare out the window at all the people walking by. He eyed the ladies and wished one of them was his.
He wondered what it would be like to touch their hand, or get close enough to smell their perfume, let alone sneak a quick kiss. Jake didn’t go out much. He had never learned much in social skills. He was shy and knew if he went out, he would only make an ass of himself, just as his dad said he would.
He didn’t have any bills to pay since they were included in his room and board. His mother had taught him how to repair clothes, so when he got a hole; he just quickly repaired it. About the only time he went out was the once a week when he popped into the grocery store two doors down. He mainly bought peanut butter, some jelly, bread, cookies. He bought a quart of milk and a jug of juice. He kept these items in the little apartment size refrigerator he had in his room. The landlord did his laundry for him.
One time when he was in the grocery store, a person bumped into him, about knocking him straight down on his face. Old Jake didn’t know what to think when he composed himself and turned to see who had done it.
He looked straight into big, brown eyes, who stared back at him. She was giving him the biggest smile. Bigger than his own mother had ever shown to Jake. She said, “Scuse me sir. Me didn’t mean to run straight into you. You see, my shoestring came undone”. She pointed down at it and Jake followed her look.
He saw the shoelace was undone and without thinking he knelt down and tied it for her. When he stood back up she stood on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his cheek. Old Jake’s face turned warm, and he raised his fingers to where the kiss remained. He touched his cheek and looked at her and his face glowed with delight.
The two felt an instant attraction. He told her his name was Old Jake. She told him her name was Sally Sue. For weeks after that meeting, Jake made sure he went to the store on the same day that he had met Sally Sue.
She would be there, doing her own grocery shopping. One day Old Jake asked her if they could share the cart. She nodded and smiled big for him. The two did their grocery shopping and once they were checked out; he carried her bag outside for her. Jake asked, “Are you hungry Sally Sue”? She nodded and said, “I am starved, Old Jake.”