David stood outside of the house, shirt off and sweat pouring down his body, as he looked at the front lawn, freshly mowed with the smell to confirm it. His forearms rest upon the mower, the sun determined to bake David alive on the first warm day in Buffalo in many months. As he stood there, though, his thoughts were far from mowing the lawn, but on the changes, he wanted to make to his childhood home.
He stood there for far longer than he intended and was surprised by the voice behind him.
‘This is weird,’ Lorelai’s voice broke through the mindlessness David had been suffering through. ‘I’ve been standing here for like, five minutes? And you haven’t moved. I thought you erected a statue on the front lawn in your honor.’
David looked over at Lorelai, home from her school day, and shook his head. ‘Do me a favor and never say erect around me, ever again.’
‘Erect, erect, erect,’ she responded mockingly. ‘Anyways, erect, what were you thinking about? Erect.’ She figured she should throw in two extra ones to ram the point home.
David rolled his eyes at her as he began to push the lawnmower back towards the shed next to the garage. ‘Actually, thinking about remodeling this place.’
‘Oh, really? I was getting used to this moving around business, just figured we wouldn’t be here for long.’
‘I’m surprised people at school don’t stuff you in the locker sometimes.’
She shook her head. ‘People actually find me endearing; you would be surprised by how many boys can’t seem to get enough of it, actually. Or is that the slutty shirts I put on after I leave here? I can’t quite figure out the order yet.’
David sighed as he pushed the lawnmower into the shed and closed the door before looking back at Lorelai. ‘You’re a treat, you know that?’
‘I do know that, actually. I’m one of the few teenagers that have reassured confidence. It’s a gift, honestly. At least you don’t have to worry about me slipping into a depression or doing drugs like some kids at school.’
David cocked his head to the side. ‘Oh really? Care to give any names?’
‘No, I wouldn’t, narc boy. Do you mind putting on a shirt, though? You have no idea the completely inappropriate comments I have to hear from the single MILFs in this neighborhood. ‘Oh, I would ride him in the middle of the street for everyone else to see.’ Makes me want to vomit every single morning.’
He chuckled. ‘Fine, fine. Get in the house, let’s go.’ She happily obliged as the two made their way through the front door and to the kitchen, where Lorelai dropped off her backpack, and David grabbed a bottle of water.
‘Don’t you have like, homework or something?’ David inquired, and she simply shrugged her shoulders.
‘Meh, later. Tell me more about your grand plans to turn Casa Noble into Le Mansion de Noble. I hope my room has a moat and a drawbridge and everything.’
David chuckled. ‘Careful; you might get your wish if you don’t stop making jokes about your slutty behavior.’
‘Just the slutty clothes. Do you think the slutty behavior would get me more attention from the boys? Because I’m looking for anything to give me a leg up. Pun intended I guess.’
David grabbed a hand towel and threw it at her, Lorelai cracking up in the process. ‘Anyways!’ she exclaimed. ‘Tell me about your remodel idea.’
‘Just need to modernize this house. My Dad, he didn’t put shit into this house. Thought it was beneath him to do so, I guess. Anyways, update this kitchen, have an island, knock down some walls, and open it up. Re-do your bedroom and mine. Update the bathrooms. Do something to the backyard—‘ he continued on before Lorelai interrupted him.
‘Lazy river, that’s what you should do.’
‘No,’ David frankly responded. ‘Trying to increase my property taxes or something?’
‘Look at you, growing up before my very eyes. My father,’ she said in half jest, half love. At that moment, the front door opened, and in walked Andrea, who saw Lorelai doubled over in laughter.
‘Well, I like this welcome. What’s so funny? What are you two talking about?’
Lorelai shook her head. ‘Nothing serious. Just making jokes and talking about remodeling the house.’
Andrea, her hair tied into a tight bun, looked over at Lorelai and then David. ‘A remodel? Don’t you think that’s something that we should discuss?’
David rolled his eyes. ‘This house doesn’t belong to you. You’re moving out, remember?’
‘Eventually,’ she murmured. Lorelai looked over at Andrea.
‘Oh, come on, don’t be a spoilsport. You’re still going to be welcomed over for the cookouts. I promise.’
Andrea looked at David. ‘You should teach her some fucking manners. How about invest in that instead of some shitty remodel that you’ll half-do?’
Before David could react, Lorelai spun around and looked Andrea square in the eyes. ‘Maybe you should take a moment to remove the stick from your twat before you come into our house?’
David opened his mouth and quickly shut it as Andrea took a step back, clearly offended.
‘You really are your father’s daughter, aren’t you?’
She then held up her hands and walked away.
‘That might be the nicest thing she’s ever said to me,’ Lorelai murmured. David walked over and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
‘She takes a lot of getting used to.’
‘When do you plan on getting used to her?’
David chuckled softly. ‘Never,’ he whispered before he kissed her on the top of her head and noticed the sweat transferring from him to her.
‘Yeah, gross. We both need showers now.’
David shrugged his shoulders. ‘Hey, my house, my rules. I’m gonna get a shower in. Want to head to Home Depot with me?’
Lorelai snapped her fingers. ‘Sounds like so much fun, father!’ She then paused. ‘But, yeah, I don’t want to be alone in this house with her.’
David laughed as he made his way to the stairs. ‘Sounds good. Maybe do some homework?’
‘Yeah, yeah,’ she moaned as she grabbed her backpack, and David ran up the stairs, feeling something in his chest he hadn’t felt in quite some time.
* * *
As David slammed the door to his truck door and walked through the front gate of Home Depot, the pair stopped dead in their tracks and looked around at the vastness of it all.
‘Well, fuck,’ David muttered.
Lorelai turned and looked at him. ‘Wait a minute, you’ve never been to a Home Depot before? Isn’t that like a rite of passage for men? Or is there something you need to tell me…?’
‘Hush,’ David began. ‘No, I’ve never been. Do you think my father took me out on a bunch of… fatherly… trips to places? Come on now. And the past decade of my life has been holed up in bars, not exactly the homeowner type. So you’ve never been?’
‘Female. Have that genitalia to prove it. If it’s not Ulta or Target, you can count us out.’
‘Well, fuck,’ David responded again.
‘What were you coming here to get anyways?’
David looked at Lorelai, clueless.
‘Get the fuck out. You came to Home Depot with no plan or agenda at all? Why are we even here?!’
‘Well,’ he began. ‘I was just thinking of remodeling. And I thought, well, when you want to do a remodel, where do you go? Home Depot.’
‘Why not Lowes? I feel like that’s an infinitely better decision. You know, the opposite of some of the fucktards running our country?’
David took a moment and then nodded his head. ‘Good point, let’s go there.’ So the two hopped back into David’s truck and drove across the street to Lowes, parked, and waltzed inside before their jaws dropped.
‘This feels like seventy-two times worse,’ Lorelai sighed.
‘It does, right?’
Lorelai shook her head. ‘No, you don’t get to be that kind of Dad! You have to be the Dad that like, scratches their crotch, spits in a canteen, and knows their way around here. What kind of lessons are you going to impart upon me?’
‘That’s a fair question, one that I hadn’t given a lot of thought to.’
‘Much like our trip here in the first place,’ she muttered.
‘What’d you say?’
‘Just how much I’m thankful for you.’
David shot her a look, and she simply smiled before she shrugged her shoulders. ‘Okay, where should we start? Kitchen section?’
‘That sounds like a great place to start.’ So the two began wandering around the store, utterly clueless until they stumbled into a section of Lowes with cabinets and granite counters. Hence, they automatically assume this has to do with kitchens.
‘So, what do you want our new kitchen to look like?’
David stood there, utterly silent at the question.
‘Oh, come on, you don’t even know what you want it to look like.’
He looked over at her again. ‘Look, I just need fresh memories in that place. How about you design it?’
‘Because I don’t even know where to begin, which seems completely irresponsible for a sixteen-year-old to design a home. Do I look like a Kardashian? I might have the butt of one, but this is not my forte.’
David cocked his head to the side. ‘What is your forte?’
‘Witty one-liners, clearly.’
David shook his head and began to run his hand over the granite counter.
‘Look, I’m going to find some help then,’ Lorelai chimed in. ‘Someone who might be able to tell you what to do or maybe even inform me that you’ve completely lost your mind.’
David simply nodded his head as he looked at the various counters. Lorelai had been gone for just a few moments before he heard a voice behind him.
He turned around and found Madison, dressed in a pair of blue jean shorts and a black tank top.
‘Hey,’ David started. He told himself that he was a good conversation starter and immediately regretted the decision.
‘What brings you to Lowes?’
David looked around. ‘Counters? I’m remodeling my house.’
‘Oh, that sounds like fun. What are you thinking of doing?’
David slowly nodded his head. ‘You know, things. You know, modern deco, Spanish tile, those kinds of things.’
Madison chuckled. ‘You have no idea, do you?’
‘Not the slightest fucking clue.’
‘That’s how it starts, and before you know it, you have lumber strewn all over your garage, and you have to park your truck outside.’
David looked perplexed. ‘Personal experience?’
‘My Dad, that’s what he did. Drove my mom crazy. Literally, committed to a hospital, all that jazz.’
‘Oh shit,’ David spoke before he could stop himself. ‘Sorry to hear that.’
‘Nah, it’s okay. Just leaves me wondering which I’m more like my hoarder father or my mentally insane mother. Great choices for me, if you ask me.’
‘I know that pain,’ David responded. ‘What brings you to Lowes?’
She then held up a showerhead. ‘Just need some better water pressure in my apartment, is all. The landlord is scum and kept offering to adjust it while I was taking a shower. Perv.’
‘Sounds like it.’
‘Look, I know the other night—‘ she began before pausing. ‘I do bartend at another place if you want to come to a place where you won’t be harassed.’
David slowly nodded his head. ‘That sound like fun. Whereat?’
‘Drink It on Main? Ever hear of it?’ David shook his head. ‘It’s kind of new, so you probably haven’t. Anyways, I’ll be there tomorrow night. So first drink on me.’
She smiled. He smiled. ‘Yeah,’ he responded.
‘Great, see you there!’ she remarked excitedly before waving at David and walking away. Before Lorelai returned with a store associate, David stood there for thirty seconds, wondering what just happened.
‘Dad, talk to him. He’ll talk guy shit with you.’
David turned and looked at the stocky associate with a name tag that said ‘Earl.’
‘Hey,’ Earl started. ‘What are you thinking of doing?’
David shook his head. ‘Not a fucking clue,’ he spoke as he looked over at Lorelai, whose head shot back in dismay. David looked over his shoulder for a moment, hoping to see Madison one last time, before looking back at Earl.
‘Trying to do a remodel. Talk me through your options.’
Earl looked confused and nodded his head. ‘Sure,’ he responded uneasily. ‘That’s not vague at all.’
‘You’re sounding like my daughter right now, and I’ve got enough of that shit on the daily.’
Lorelai exploded with laughter as Earl explained the various options before them. David wrapped his arm around Lorelai and pulled her into him.
A new life, indeed.
* * *
Night fell, and David stood on his back deck, stars bright above him. He cradled a glass filled with bourbon in his left hand and brought it slowly to his lips. As the amber liquid disappeared into his mouth, he felt its gentleness as it found its home in his stomach.
A moment passed before he heard the door behind him open and knew without a doubt in his mind it was Lorelai.
‘Hey,’ he offered before he took another drink. Lorelai walked across the deck and stood next to her father, looking at the glass.
He looked over at her. ‘How could you tell?’
‘I just have figured out your drinking patterns. Totally normal for your teenage daughter.’
David smiled briefly and then looked back at the stars.
‘What’s bothering you?’ she asked. David sighed.
‘Just trying to figure out this whole wrestling thing.’
Lorelai took a step back. ‘Wait, hold on. You don’t have this thing figured out yet?’
‘Funny,’ he responded before taking another sip of the liquid. ‘I just haven’t had the best luck of late, you know? Lost at March to Glory. Lost against Conor. Lost against Bobinette. What am I doing here?’
She slowly nodded her head. ‘So what are you trying to say?’
‘That I think it’s time I hang it up. Call it a day.’
She paused, trying to find the right words. ‘Do you think that’s the best choice ahead of you? You’ll let a few matches dictate if you can hang or not?’
‘What is the alternative, Lor?’
She shrugged her shoulders. ‘You’re in there, losing by a mere fraction. You’re not losing badly. Others aren’t lapping you. It comes down to who finds the right opportunity in the right moment and capitalizes on it.’
He nodded his head. ‘You have a point. Yet, what if the fire isn’t there?’
She shakes her head. ‘I think the fire isn’t there because you’re doubting yourself.’
He sighed. She wrapped her arm around him.
‘You’ve got Hollywood next, right?’ He nodded his head. ‘Then, wrestle, and then you can take some time off. You’ve got a month off. We can focus on the house and let your mind take a break from wrestling. Then you can decide if you’re truly done or not.’
He paused before taking another sip of his drink. ‘That sounds fair.’
‘Are you going to be okay, though, walking away from dealing with Conor?’
He didn’t answer. He didn’t have an answer as of yet. So instead, he emptied the contents of his drink and stood up straight. Lorelai looked over at him, waiting for a solution that was never to come. So instead, he turned around and walked towards the patio door. She followed behind him, and the two disappeared inside, certain about what the next month held but further uncertain of what laid beyond that point.