Power outage leads to Bonnie exposure.
Only the grey hairs which had turned his thick, dark hair to mostly salt in the "salt and pepper" look he sported in a close-cropped style gave away any hint of his true age. Even then, most people took him for around 45 and were shocked when they learned they were off by more than a decade. That gave him precious little consolation as he powered through one of the hardest chest workouts he'd done in years as though he could push away the grief by pushing up a heavy barbell.
When he left the gym, he decided to have breakfast for dinner, something he and the girls used to do every now and then. "The girls." He'd only let himself cry twice since that night and as he blinked back a tear he vowed not to let there be third. As he pulled into the Denny's where they all used to go, he felt that now-familiar lump in his throat that appeared when he thought about them. He was determined not to let memories keep him from living his life even as he thought again to himself, "What life? This kind of life isn't life. It's just...existing." But like any good Marine, he soldiered on because giving up wasn't an option. It wasn't in his DNA.
He'd been sitting there staring at his food for what was probably ten minutes even though he had no idea how long it actually was before the voice registered. "Are you okay? Mister? Are you all right?"
He flinched slightly as her voice startled him back to reality. He turned to see a young, disheveled woman about Kara's age in the booth across from his. She had large, beautiful "doe" eyes and smooth skin. Her eyes reminded him of the actress who played Debra Morgan on the hit TV show Dexter. Beyond that however, she presented a rough exterior. Her nose was swollen and too large for her thin face, her hair was greasy and matted down, and she was wearing a pair of mismatched sweats with a huge hole in the right leg. He'd caught a brief glimpse of her teeth and his heart went out to her as he realized she was probably too poor to afford orthodontic care let alone something like a rhinoplasty. Still, she seemed genuinely concerned and that, plus the warmth she exuded, somehow made him feel good for the first time in two years.
"I'm okay. Yes. Thank you. I was just thinking. That's all."
"I didn't mean to stare. It's just that well, you sat there for like ten minutes and never moved. I only saw you blink a few times. It's really none of my business but I guess you kind of remind me of my dad a little bit. I mean the way he looked when my mom was still alive. Before he started drinking..." She stopped mid-sentence then added, "I'm sorry for bothering you."
"No. That's okay. I appreciate your concern. I tend to find myself doing that more often than I'd care to admit the last couple of years. But I'm fine. Really."
"When someone says it like that it makes it sound like something happened that changed things in their life. I know because...I just lost my dad a couple of weeks ago and now I catch myself saying stuff like that, too. Do you mind if I ask what happened?"
Clint sat there in silence for a few moments. Her comments put his own loss in perspective and he was genuinely moved. He faced her and said, "My wife and daughter were killed in a car accident." It sounded hollow and his voice was so low it was hard to hear.
The young woman got up, slid in across from him and said, "I'm sorry. My mom died when I was about six and my dad was all I had. He started drinking after she passed away and it finally caught up with him." She fought back tears of her own as she bowed her head then wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her sweatshirt.
Clint was shocked out of his grief for the first time since he'd learned the news.