‘Dad, can I have five dollars for book fair?’
‘No. Not right now buddy.’
‘Come on, what’s five dollars?’
I can answer that, but won’t. Not tonight, letting the twist spread along my intestines. My shoulders knot. The spoon delivers another load of potatoes to my mouth, salt & butter lost to my tongue. Peas. Potatoes. Peas. Until the plate is clean.
‘Thank you,’ I excuse myself, cross the kitchen, placing dishes in the sink & continue to the porch, closing the door behind me.
Cold assaults my face, pinching any exposed skin in its grip. Night is as silent as all the little things allow. Leaves rustle. Something moves in the shadow of the tree . Stars, in all their vastness, look back from the black. Boards creak beneath my weight. I wait.
Eddie Vedder, unplugged, plays Pearl Jam songs at a concert on the radio. Another day. The same road winds through farms. Cows. Horses. Deer cross the road around several bends, frequent enough to keep me conscious of speed and distance. The color palette in the trees is brilliant.
Gravel. The car door makes a solid thunk as I close it behind me. My cat runs full tilt toward me from the bottom of the back yard, slowing with approach to saunter the last couple feet. We talk, climbing six stairs, to the door. Teeth grind as the key enters the lock, twists.
‘Hey dad, guess what?’
‘My friend Maurice bought me a book at the book fair. He used his money.’
The cinch in my stomach returns. Palms to the face, I work finger bones around eye sockets, push back along the temples. His friend did what I could not, and this makes me---
‘Did you thank him?’
‘Good,’ I won’t argue with what’s given, in this ever humbling existence.
Kiss my wife. A pot steams on the stove. A few minutes before dinner is ready, they run play in the other room & I sit to study – Autism Strategies. Peel back the first page. Begin to read, running my finger along the sharp edge of the paper.
Put it down, deciding, instead, to go play.
writing just to write...happy sunday & do take time today to remember those that served.