The Flanagans of Fairfield County, Connecticut - Chapter 4
Outside the headquarters of JPMorgan Chase at 270 Park Avenue, Terry Flanagan lit a cigarette and began walking towards his apartment in Yorkville. With Terry’s arthritis, it would take him nearly an hour to walk home, but it was sunny outside and he hadn’t yet decided whether to go back to Darien or stay in the city this evening.
He had forgotten his laptop at home on this particular Monday, and after two text messages to his wife went ignored to ask her if she would mind bringing it to him in the city, he had been forced to work from a spare that was older than his and didn’t have the same admin privileges that he had grown accustomed to.
He had run into a couple of problems throughout the day trying to get access to documents that he needed, and as he continued walking towards his high rise he knew that eventually he would have to go home tonight, if for nothing else to get that laptop.
But work hadn’t really been on his mind as of late. Where just a year ago Terry would have taken a train back to Connecticut after realizing he had forgotten his work computer and simply operated from home, now he was content to use a loaner at the downtown office because he knew there was a chance that he could see Rosie at the end of the workday.
Ellen had grown distant the past few years as had his daughter Denise, in large part because Terry had been forced to take on the role of disciplinarian in the house. Ellen would dote on Denise when she was in high school, and went out of her way to mock Terry at the dinner table and when the two of them would go shopping with his credit card.
When Denise would ask for money to go into the city on a Friday night with friends, Terry would, as most parents do, ask where she was going and who would be joining her.
Denise would give her mother a look - one that said “Is this guy fucking serious?” - and then Terry and Ellen would get into a screaming match. Denise would worm out of the house with cash taken from her mother’s dresser drawer and the husband and wife would forget what it was they were even arguing about in the first place.
Terry laid down the law with his daughter because if not him, then who? Ellen would then overrule him and let Denise do whatever she wanted with the expectation that her daughter would show her more affection and attention. In this humble narrator's opinion, Denise loathed the both of them, but the daughter knew that a text or a phone call every so often to her mother would keep her in her good graces and not disrupt the cash infusion that she saw once a month into her checking account while away at school.
Terry had taken up smoking in the pool house out back when Denise entered high school, in part to get away from his wife for a few minutes, but also because he just flat out enjoyed smoking. Here in the city, he didn’t have to be secretive about it, and walking back to his apartment from work made him feel young again.
He yearned for his twenties, and often thought about what his life could have been like had he not married Ellen at 27. They were kids back when they had tied the knot, and whenever he would have a rendezvous with Rosie he really, truly felt like a kid again.
Terry and Rosie would drink in bathrobes inside of his apartment. They’d rent out a room at The Plaza on West 59th sometimes on a whim just because they could. Terry and Rosie did not make love, they fucked. And every time they met up with one another, Terry dreamed of a world without Ellen - a world where he could live tether free with Rosie in the greatest city in the world.
He wasn’t sure why Ellen hadn’t gotten back to him about that laptop, and the closer he got towards his apartment the stronger his anxiety about the entire situation became. He was no longer able to think about Rosie. The laptop and his wife consumed his thoughts. She should have texted him by now. Had she fallen? He knew she drank during the day but surely she hadn’t drank to the point of hitting her head or falling in the shower, no?
Now arriving at the underground garage which was connected to his apartment, Terry didn’t bother going up to his place. He opened his briefcase upon entering the parking garage, retrieved the key for his 2015 Mercedes CLS-Class and got in. Terry’s mind was racing now as he started the car. He thought about Denise at school. He thought about his job. He thought about his marriage. What had they become after all these years? What had they done to each other?