Regardless of Marion’s medical history, she’d always been resilient. Hank had been afraid he’d lose her but he’d never been surprised when she’d rallied. She was strong. Over the last few days since she’d been discharged, Hank had seen her with fresh eyes. Marion was frail. In seeing her frailty, he acknowledged his own. She didn’t want him to leave her.
She’d asked him once, about ten years ago, if he’d please retire so they could spend time with each other. They’d just returned from The Grand Tour. They’d flown to Jackson Hole to visit Elliot and David for a week. Marion had been in her element. She’d remarked on how relaxed he’d been, how much she loved his company, on the drive from Jackson Hole to Memphis to see Addison and Katherine. He’d been wrong about Katherine. She’d proved to be a stabilizing influence in Addison’s life, keeping him focused, creating a sanctuary in their home where he could compose and play without disturbance. He finally finished his degree at The Royal Danish Conservatory and taught jazz studies at the University of Memphis. Hank wished they’d had children but Katherine confided in Marion that she didn’t want to change the dynamic of her marriage to include children.
He should have retired completely. Neither of the boys wanted Foster Shaw. They’d discussed its future and agreed that the firm would go to the employees with all of the associated business property including an initial lump sum for operating capital. Hank had done well over the years. The boys would inherit enough money to supplement their own retirements with travel and modest leisure. He assumed they’d sell the family home. The shore camp would go to the Bay Conservancy as part of the Land Trust. Marion had used the money she’d saved to save the land from “subdivisions and sameness” to buy the shore camp. Once she bought it, she wasn’t ready to part with it as quickly as she’d intended.
He’d had no reason not to retire. No reason other than work had become a habit. He’d allowed routine and apprehension to keep him from the person he loved most. Being home with Marion, in her delicate state, had given him incentive.