Ironically, Jim Brewer had worked at the very bookstore Clive Lockwood would one day frequent, or at least call repeatedly, but like Clive, Jim was now happily retired, though sometimes he would visit the store, look into a few areas of interest.
In a previous life, as he sometimes thought of it, the store was also the last place he ever worked, but he enjoyed it, loved the comfort of being surrounded by the books and DVDs that had given him so much pleasure. He had never been an assertive personality, but he made his way with a genial attitude, a calm awareness of the way things worked, which was something he always took pride in. He had once been a mechanical engineer, and that was still his first love, but he now savored the simpler pleasures more freely. Unlike Clive, he was happily married, or had been, until the world came to an end.
He might never tell Clive or Ray, assuming how much they would end up needing him, about Judy. There really wasn't any reason. He had already grieved, privately, and there were great challenges ahead, and a good chance that he would still join her shortly. He hadn't lost his general optimism, though he found a little harder these days. He was more than grateful to have proven some use again. But he much preferred to sit calmly with the rest of the passengers, trying to let it all soak in, maybe let time pass slowly, more slowly than even retirement had allowed him to experience it. He had entered an uncharted void in his life. Wasn't that enough?
The truth was, it wasn't. Jim was always a little restless. He could remember, as a boy, taking apart his parents' toaster, and that was probably the first of many such adventures, the impetus for the rest of his life. His father had asked, calmly, if he would kindly put it back together, and to his surprise, Jim really didn't have much of a problem doing so. Thinking of that now only made him wish there was some toast. The flight attendant didn't look like she could handle requests at the moment.
Instead, Jim sat back quietly, and attempted to take a nap.