It Beats Working For A Living

Tabitha Wilson once heard someone say that if you want to get more out of your community, then you have to be willing to put more of yourself in to your community. It had a bit of a JFK feeling to it that she liked, so she took the plunge and volunteered with her local cancer society. She now wishes she could remember who it was that said those words because she would like nothing more than to thank them for changing her life. Playing an active role in her community absolutely did make her feel a bigger connection to it, and it felt good to be able to help those in need. She met some pretty interesting people as a result too, including her new friend, Serena.

Within minutes of being introduced to Serena, Tabitha could tell that she was someone who enjoyed the finer things in life. Her clothes were definitely new and designer, the jewellery was real, and judging by the way her wrinkle-free skin glowed, she had to be on a first-name basis with the estheticians at the town’s most expensive spa. So it came as a bit of a surprise to Tabitha, an ordinary looking girl if there ever was one, when she found herself invited over to Serena’s for dinner. Aside from a desire to help those battling a life threatening illness, she couldn’t think of anything else they might have in common.

“Wow, you have a beautiful home,” Tabitha said upon stepping into her host’s foyer.

“Thanks,” Serena said. “I got it in the divorce. I got this cocktail ring that I’m wearing, too. It used to belong to my ex’s great grandmother. Come, I’ll give you a tour of the rest of the place.”

There were fifteen rooms in total and Serena made a point to show Tabitha each and every one.

“Here’s the media room,” she said. “The chairs are from some landmark theatre that went under years ago. I think the place was once a big deal in Hollywood. Or was it New York? I don’t know, my ex could tell you. Here’s the first of four bathrooms. Across the hall is the gourmet kitchen. Please don’t get me started on what a pain it was to have that professional grade oven shipped here from France. And that’s the door that leads down to the wine cellar. Name your poison. I have twelve hundred bottles.”

Tabitha couldn’t help but to then feel embarrassed by the ten dollar bottle of wine she had brought for a hostess gift.

“Do you live here alone?” Tabitha asked Serena.

“No, my son lives here as well. It’s his weekend with his Dad, so whew! Freedom!”

Tabitha wasn’t quite sure if Serena meant that in a ‘we single gals need a break every now and then’ sort of way, or in a ‘I never should have had him’ way. Her host answered her question without her having to ask.

“Kids are the secret, you know. Spit out at least one and you have a guaranteed income for eighteen years. I would have had another one but my ex – the second one, secretly had a vasectomy before we got married. In one way it was a relief because, you know, kids – yuck! On the other hand, it meant having to stick around for ten years in order to get half of everything.”

Hoping to change the subject, Tabitha then tried to steer the conversation to their volunteer work.

“I heard that today’s 5K walk raised ten thousand dollars for the local chapter. That’s nice, huh?” Tabitha said.

“I have paintings that are worth more than that,” Serena said in return.

“Oh. So um, what made you want to help people with cancer?” Tabitha then asked, thinking that Serena would then say something honourable.

“It took me awhile to settle on cancer patients. At first I thought about signing up to help one of those international aid organizations, but then it hit me that I might be expected to actually visit one of those horrible places. Plus everyone I know who volunteers for them is a tree hugger. And often a vegetarian or vegan. Then I tossed around the idea of helping kids with special needs, but usually the people you meet through that are the parents of those special needs kids. There’s no money in that, but cancer? Oh, there’s plenty in that my friend. You’ll either find yourself talking to a well-off business person, preferably single, who knows that dropping cash on cancer charities just makes you richer in the end, what with all the good will it generates. Or you’ll find yourself talking to someone who lost a loved one to cancer. Someone who would give everything to have their broken heart mended, including half of their money if you’re smart enough to get them to avoid asking for a pre-nup. What made you volunteer?”

“I guess I just wanted to do my part,” a stunned Tabitha said.

“Aren’t you sweet?” Serena then said with a sarcastic tone. “What do you do for a living anyway?”

“I work for an automotive supply company,” she humbly answered.

“That does not sound like it pays very much,” the always calculating Serena said. “I prefer my way. It so beats working for a living. You know, there’s a guy named Charlie you might want to work over. I’m now officially too old for him, but you look to be about the right age. Besides, I already have my sights set on this guy named Carlton. He’s as old as Moses, but that’s okay. That just means I’ll be a widow that much sooner. Bacon wrapped water chestnuts?” she then asked while presenting a tray to Tabitha.

Tabitha took a few of the bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and, realizing how tired she was of living paycheque to paycheque, she then took Serena up on her offer to introduce her to Charlie. Their wedding is set for November.

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