Well, most of you know that I usually don't write Enos nor do I typically write one-shots but this one seemed to just jump out at me and nearly wrote itself. I hope that you enjoy it. A bit sad but I figured that I'd write it anyway. A different take perhaps on romance and everlasting love.
An old withered man made his way to his room at the Hazzard County Senior Retirement Center from the commons area. The staff had arranged a huge party to celebrate his one-hundredth birthday today. He had grinned and let them have their fun since he knew that not many folks had the good fortune to live an entire century like he had. In fact, everyone that he'd known when he was younger had already been dead and buried for a couple of decades. A fact that he always seemed to be reminded of when he celebrated yet one more year of life alone.
Alone. Truth be told he felt alone long before he was the last of his generation to survive. He had once held out hope that in his golden years he would have kids, grand kids and even great-grand kids to help him through the end of his long life. He had loved the most beautiful girl in town from the time that he was in the seventh grade and had never truly even considered marrying another. But, it was not to be.
While the love of his life was one of the most confident and out-spoken women that he ever knew there was one subject that she would always stay strangely silent about. He never completely knew how she felt about him. Some days it would seem as if she loved him as deeply as he loved her while others she would lose her heart to nearly any new fella that blew into town. Then once her heart was broken he'd still be around to pick up the pieces until she was ready to try for love once more; she just was never to try it with him.
Oh, they had not just one but two wedding days but they never made it to the honeymoon. The first time he was convinced that she had agreed to marry him first in order to protect him against a bogus charge and then out of pity. She didn't want to admit to him, or herself, what her true feelings were (whatever they had been) and been willing to go through with the ceremony but he wasn't about to have folks whispering about him condemning the Hazzard Beauty to a life without love for the rest of his life. No, when they married he wanted it to be blemish free. Which he had thought would happen years later when they planned a second wedding. Alright, blemish free wouldn't have exactly described that wedding either but at least he truly believed that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him that time. They had come SO CLOSE that time. One look at her ex-husband though had been enough to scare her away from matrimony once more.
Picking up a picture of the two of them that he kept on his dresser he thought back to all of the times that he'd painted on a silly grin to cover the pain and the hurt that he felt with each slight that had been cast his way. It had become second nature to him. Just grin and giggle at the comments that folks didn't think that he understood. What most didn't realize was that just because he hadn't had the opportunity to use it often in Hazzard he possessed a steel-trap mind. Along with that he had excellent hearing. It had really been a curse since that meant that he could hear every single sneer, heckle and joke that had been at his expense. Still, he'd never let on since he knew that if folks knew just how much it hurt him to be the joke of the town they would never let up. Nope, he'd only send them his trademark grin and act as if there was nothing wrong.
Grinning. He'd grin when she would flirt with him just to serve as a decoy when her cousins were in trouble with Boss and the Sheriff and let her believe that she had slickered him. He'd grin when the fellas would talk to him as if he was a child that couldn't see that they were shuckin' and jivin' him. He'd grin when the Sheriff called him a Dipstick. He just kept grinning. After all, what else was there to do? True, he'd had enough and moved back out to L.A. and had a successful second half of his career of serving the public but his heart was always in Hazzard. When he retired from the L.A.P.D. he knew that there was only one place that he wanted to spend the rest of his days. Right in the land of his birth; even if it barely resembled his childhood stomping grounds by that time.
It was funny how once both of them had returned to Hazzard they had slipped back into the constant push and pull of their long-time relationship. He loved the summer afternoons that they had spent on the porch's swing but he had never been able to convince her to take another chance on a more meaningful relationship. To the day that she died he never knew what she really wanted from him. Once more she had left him dangling; wanting what he couldn't have. When she died he'd been so certain that he'd die of a broken heart. Only he didn't die. For a long time he wondered why but he finally came to the conclusion that his heart had been broken so many times by the same woman over the course of their long lives together it just wouldn't break anymore. The pieces were just too small for even the tiniest of fractures to take hold when she had left to meet her maker. Now decades later he was still carrying a torch for the woman that in many ways he never really knew. She'd hidden the most intimate part of her heart while carrying what was left of his away with her each and every time that she walked away. Especially that final time.
Sitting on his bed he felt incredibly tired. At least here alone in his room he no longer had to wear his painted on grin. Here while left alone in his thoughts he began to wonder, if given the chance, would he have changed anything knowing what he did now? Would he have cut his losses and tried to find love with another woman; one that would have loved him in a way that he'd always wanted her to do all along? Would he have settled down and had that mess of youngens that he'd always pictured himself with? Would he have found happiness that way? Knowing that she was the one that held his heart even while he was with another? No, that wouldn't have been right neither. Yes he wanted a family but it had been a family with her. Instead he would have still chosen the brief glimpses of what his heart desired with the woman the he'd loved.
Leaning back on the bed still holding the picture that had represented so many possibilities he decided that he'd spend the rest of his milestone birthday imagining things that had never been. He closed his eyes knowing that one of the nurses were bound be in shortly to check on him. That meant that he'd be forced to plaster on another grin. For now, however, he didn't want to be the grinning fool that had wasted his whole life waiting on a woman that could never make up her mind. He just wanted to remember better days; even if he did gloss over some of the finer details and alter some that he hadn't cared for.
Drifting off to sleep he dreamed of having her meet him as if she'd been waiting on him since she had last seen him. In the dream she looked just the same way she had shortly after they had both graduated from high school. Beautiful enough to make his whole world stand still. Just as it always did when he saw her. Just looking at her in the prime of her life was enough to make his heart skip a beat; and then another, causing it to flutter. Here and now she was letting him know that they could at long last finally be together. While life with one another itself had always eluded them both, in death they could never again be parted. It was now that his false grin at long last became a genuine smile.
It was that smile that was still on his lips when the nurse finally came in to check on him. A smile that would forever remain in place.