Posted on November 9, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair11.9.2014 Journal Prompt Image from The Fast Show November 9, 2014: He called her Sweetheart. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
3 Replies to “11.9.2014 Journal Prompt”
I catch him sometimes and he’s staring into nowheres and he’s breathless still and his mouth is open like he’s catching flies. That’s what my momma would’ve said, bless her cotton socks and resting soul. I shake him and I ask him where he’s at and what’s he about thinking. For a moment he don’t know nothing, not his name or me or the world he’s been born into. His face is a picture of confusion, like I’ve asked him a difficult question in math. I seen mad people look like that, or people who are so old they have lost their way and lost their understanding of who they are.
‘I ain’t been sleepin,’ he says and he blinks like there’s a full light in his eyes, or blowing grit, and he straightens in his chair or stands a little stiffer and a little taller. And he looks around him to get his bearings and he checks the watch at his wrist for the time.
I ask him, ‘What was you thinking?’
He shrugs and says he wasn’t thinking at all, not a single simple thought in his head. He says he was resting his thoughts and that a man can be too busy in his head these days and it do pay a man to take the time to not be thinking. ‘I was just being,’ he says. ‘That’s all and enough.’
I laugh then. I don’t know why, but I laugh.
His name’s Frankie and I guess he’s getting on some in years. ‘No spring chicken,’ my momma would’ve said if she was not laid in the ground these past ten years. ‘No fresh lettuce.’ And he walks crooked, like he should have a stick or like his shoes are always pinching his feet. He walks the same whether he’s wearing shoes or he’s barefoot, so I know there ain’t no pinching. It’s just the way he is.
He’s got blue eyes that are faded to almost grey, and the hairs on his head can just about be counted, and he’s hard of hearing in one ear or he pretends to be. Sometimes Frankie smells of pee, a little. He says I’ve got a sensitive nose, which I have, but if you get up close anyone can smell it. That’s on account of his age, I reckon, and I make him change his underwear more than he did before and his trousers too. He rolls his eyes and he puffs his cheeks full of wind and he blows air through his nose; but he does what I say he should.
‘I don’t understand why men don’t just sit down to pee, then there wouldn’t be no splashing everywhere and the toilet seat wouldn’t be left up all the time.’
And Frank’s always clearing his throat, like he’s got something to say and like it might be something important and in need of the fanfare of the clearing of his throat. I’m all ears then, listening as hard as stone, holding my breath and not moving, maybe not even my heart beating, and Frank, he don’t say nothing, and he don’t look like he’s holding anything back. I ask him what it is and he looks at me like I might be daft or like I might be speaking in another language.
‘If he was a fish on a line, you’d throw him back,’ my momma would have said. I can hear her voice sometimes, like something carried on the air. ‘But I suppose beggars can’t be choosers,’ she says, too.
I laugh then. Again I laugh, for the thing is I think I love Frankie. He calls me sweetheart some days and that ain’t something I’ve heard for the longest time. He says it real easy and natural, and it makes me feel like I’m something special to him. He maybe aint much of a catch, like my momma says, but I reckon he’ll do for me and I don’t reckon there’ll be anyone after Frankie.
Oh Lindsay! You do tell a wonderful story! I am very partial to the name “Frankie” as my son adopted a stray Pittbull mix, years ago, having just moved into his new house, the name of the street? Frank Avenue in Peoria, Arizona. Frankie had followed him for days, as my son enticed him with treats, trying to get him into his enclosed back yard. He succeeded and the rest is history. So as I savor your story, for me, too, there will be nobody who will ever touch my heart like our Frankie!
Cellosusie – thank you for reading this piece and for taking the time to comment. And such a warm and positive comment too. Glad you liked it. Nice addition to the piece in your own Frankie story.