“Good morning,” Jim said cheerfully without turning from the stove. “Sleep well?”
“Very well, thanks.” Feeling totally relaxed, she stepped into the kitchen. “I can’t thank you enough.” Her mind was on what he was doing though. How can someone who is blind flip an omelet over without breaking it? Or doesn’t that matter to him?
“That’s quite all right.” Jim slid the blade of a spatula around the cast iron frying pan’s inner side to free the omelet. “Speaking of sleep, why don’t you wake sleepyhead up? Breakfast is just about ready.”
Holding the hot handle with a potholder, Jim lifted the pan from the burner and rested its edge on the far side of a paper plate while keeping it on a sharp angle. He slid it to the opposite side and allowed the omelet to drop in one piece before inverting the frying pan over it. With a twist of his wrists, the paper plate was on top and someone’s breakfast was ready to be cooked on its raw side.
“I was wondering how you were going to flip that over.” Wanda shook her head admiringly while smiling. “You are amazing.” She wondered if there was anything he couldn’t do.
Not flattered by praise like that, Jim turned to face her and forced a smile. “There’s absolutely nothing amazing about me. You just have to learn how to do the same things you did before, but a slightly different way.”
Wanda wasn’t aware she had offended him, even if mildly. Nevertheless, she was still amazed. How many people with disabilities would feel sorry for themselves? “Can I help you with anything?” she asked softly.
“Nope,” Jim responded cheerfully. “The rest of the stuff is keeping warm in the microwave. Just get Cindy, unless you’d rather she eat later.”
By the time she returned with her yawning daughter, breakfast for three was on the table. “Isn’t Jessica going to join us?” Wanda watched him add two more slices of toast to the stack on a paper towel.
Jim sat and wished Cindy a good morning before answering her mother’s question. “Jess is in school already. I fed her earlier. Hope you don’t mind paper plates. Most bachelors don’t like to wash dishes. And it’s so easy to cook in the microwave with them.”
Cindy waited for him to finish before speaking. “Good morning, Jim. Thank you very much for allowing us to sleep here and for allowing me to play with Jessica.” She had the serious face of a child who was speaking to an authority figure. If there was one thing Wanda had always drummed into her, it was the importance of good manners.
“That’s quite all right, sweetheart.” Jim smiled at her warmly. “We enjoyed the company.”
“And we don’t mind paper plates,” Wanda assured him, feeling warmer than she had in a long time, or maybe warmer than she ever had. What would make a total stranger be so kind when there are so many cruel people in the world? she asked herself. Maybe it’s because Jim is older. No, lots of older men had hurt her in one way or another. It has to do with the loss of his wife and the loss of his eyesight. He knows what pain is and is probably a better man because of his hurtful experiences.
While the adults were sipping their coffee and Cindy was methodically dunking the whipped cream into her hot chocolate with a spoon, Jim thought of something. “So what are you going to do now?”