It was the second Sunday of April when the wife comes up to me and tells me that wants the attic cleaned out. Me being me of course I try to argue with her to get out of it but she wasn’t having it. She said that we have so much crap up there and either I go up there and chose some things to go or else I go. Now I know that she could never kick me out but she could definitely kick me out of bed and onto the couch. She’s done it before and I’m sure that she would do it again. And to be quite honest I’m not a fan of sleeping on the sofa, especially ours because there’s damn bar that sticks out and jabs at your spine. So after our bit of harmless arguing I relent and head up to the attic. I have to say that she was right, there was so much stuff up there that it might seem that we’ve saved everything we ever bought since we first met. The first thing that came in my eyesight was a bunch off boxes so what better place to start then there.
The first box that I opened up was a box labeled “memories”. It was this medium size cardboard box that by the looks of all the dust over it hadn’t been opened in years. I cut the duct tape that kept the box close that there at the very top above everything else was a picture of my parent’s friend Terry. It was a picture of him leaning up against the old kitchen wall in my parent’s old kitchen in their old home in Maine. He had a cigarette in his hand; he always had a cigarette in his hand.
The way I remember Terry is a skinny 30 year old man who always had a cigarette. His face was always because he would always smoke so much that he never ate anything, or at least when I saw him he never ate. My parents were good friends with Terry, especially my dad who had known him since they were both little kids, they even let him stay with us for a year when he was down one his luck for a year. That must have been when the picture was taken.
When he was living with us Terry was always writing. From the early hours of morning to the late hours of night that man would be writing, all the while you could the click-clack of the old type writer that he would use through the paper thin walls. The sound that it made was like music to my ears, I know it was anything more then the keys being hit, but there was something magical in that sound to me. Some nights I would stay up all night, lying in my bed in the dark of the night just listening to those keys until finally I just fell asleep. He was the man that made me want to be a writer.
“Come on kid, its time to go to bed”. The dark haired skinny man said as he got out of the arm chair.
“But I don’t want to Uncle Terry, I want to stay up and watch TV with you” said the little kid in that whiny voice that all little kids use when they’re trying to get something they want. You know the one with the high pitched voice and the one were the little kid always makes the last syllable longer then all the rest. They probably think that somehow that if they hold that syllable long enough that adult will give in.
The man looked down at the kid with the saddest, most reluctant eyes. “I’m sorry kid but your parents are out and they told me to watch over you. They told me to have you in bed by 11 o’clock, no ifs, ands or buts.”
The man bent down and turned off the TV. Then the kid stopped the whiny voice and began to throw a miniature tantrum until the man said with a weak and sad smile and chuckle “it’s not the end of the world kid. Whatever show it was will be on again tomorrow. There are a lot worse things in the world then not being able to see that show. Trust me, I know”. And then he led the kid off to his room and got him all ready for bed, and then finally closed the door and went to his room which was next door.
The man went into his room but left the door open just in case the kid happened to get some type of nightmares and then he could hear them and intervene if they got to out of control. He went to his desk and started writing on his typewriter. There was already a half way written piece of paper in the typewriter with a story on it. The story was about this woman who had dumped her boyfriend but after a while she comes back knocking at his door, hoping that he would take her back.
Right now the furthest that he had gotten was to the part where the women shows up to her ex-lovers apartment. She shows up ready to try and reconcile their differences because during the time she was apart she discovered how much she really loved him and how much she really wanted to be with him. When she gets to the apartment though someone else opens the door, a man she had never seen before in her life. She asks the man if her ex-lover lived there anymore. The unknown mans says no and slams the door right in her face.
The part that he was about to write goes like this. The girl goes on living with her life and at first she isn’t affected her ex-lover vanishing because as she say they were already apart so it wouldn’t be any sort of change. As time goes on however she starts to work herself more and more and more, and she starts to jump from lover to lover. One day she comes to the conclusion that all this burying herself in work and jumping from lover to lover was just a way to occupy herself so she wouldn’t have to think about her ex-lover that left. Eventually she gets severely depressed for quite sometime. I can’t tell you the end though or else that would spoil the ending. The man was toying with the thought of making this into a novel, but as of right now it’s just a collection of scattered pages.
Just as he got into the groove of writing his bedroom door creeks open. The man glances over his shoulder to find the little boy standing there underneath the door frame holding his little blanket and still in his pajamas. “Uncle Terry, I can’t go to sleep in my room” said the kid with a hint of sadness on his face.
“Come on kid get in here” the man said understandingly. “You can sleep in here tonight. We’ll just have to make sure you’re back in you bed when you parent come home in the morning” The man tucked the kid into bed and said “All good to go kid?”
“Yes” the kid said meekly.
“Alright” the man said with a smile. “I’ll be here all night, right next to you so there’s no reason to worry. Now get to sleep will ya kid?”
“Goodnight Uncle Terry” the little kid said.
“G’night kid”. The man waited until the kid was asleep until he started writing on his typewriter again because he knew that the keys pounding would keep him up and the last thing that he wanted to do was to keep this kid up.
About thirty minutes after he put the kid he started to right again. He hadn’t got that much further then when he started a little while ago. He had just started writing the point where the girl was dealing with shock of learning that her ex-lover up and left without saying a word to her after the man slammed the door in her face. It was as if the door slam had thrust the woman into some comma like psychosis where accusations and delusionary thoughts were flying every which around her mind. Her body was psychically there but her mind wasn’t, her mind was thousands of miles away on some distant shore which nobody knew the location besides for the girl herself.
For minutes the girl would stay in the same exact stance with that same exact dumbfounded expression on her face as if her whole world was crumbling down and she could nothing but look at the flaming embers as the ashes were smoldering right at her feet. Then the elevator reached the floor she was on and when the bell run she just snapped out of it like nothing had ever happened.
He was just about to start writing the part where she steps into the elevator and has this conversation with the elevator attendee about how people just come and go when he heard something. “Uncle Terry”. It was the kid again. He turned around and there was the little guy lying on his side looking at him wide eyed.
“Awh, kid I thought you were asleep, what happened?” the man said with a little bit of disappointment because he felt like he had finally gotten the kid to go to sleep.
“I just couldn’t get to sleep. I keep on waking up” said the little kid. “What are you doing over there Uncle Terry?”
“Who me? I’m just here writing this story kid.”
“What’s the story about Uncle Terry?” said the little kid.
He knew that he couldn’t tell the little guy exactly what he was writing because it was too sad for him. You don’t tell a child a story about some heart broken women whose lover had just vanished out of nowhere never to be seen again. You don’t tell a kid a story about some woman who is self imploding underneath the weight of her own creation. You don’t tell a kid a story that is devoid of hope. You tell a little kid a story that shows him that there’s something to hold onto in life, a story that shows him that life is worth living and that in the end that every dragon is slain and every princess is saved by some knight in shining armor.
“It’s a story about this woman” the man said. “It’s a story about this woman who had left her husband” it was easiest to say husband to a little kids instead of lover because little kids don’t understand the concept of “love”, all they understand is the concept of “mommy and daddy”.
The man continued “it’s not really clear why she had left him. One day she realizes how much she loves him and goes rushing across town in the middle of the night to meet him at his house. When she gets to his house she knocks on his door all out of breath. When he opens the door and realizes that it was her they jump into each others arms and give each other the biggest hug that either of them had given. He invites her in and they sit up all night and just talk and talk until both of them fall asleep. Lets just say that they fall back in love again kid” the man said with a smile on his face.
A smile appeared on the little kid’s face, the kind of smile that everyone gets when something goes right. “Why do you write Uncle Terry”? The kid was curious about why anyone would do ‘work’ if they didn’t have to.
“I don’t know kid”. The question had crossed his mind but the man had never thought much about it before but now was the time to come up with an answer. “I guess that I write because it just comes naturally to me and I enjoy it. I enjoy being able to create something out of nothing, out of nothing more then a faint thought and idea that you have in your head. I love being able to create people and places and things, and to decide what happen to all of them. Writing basically just allows you to do things and make things happen that would never happen in the world. Its freedom kid, complete and utter freedom.”
The man waited a while and then got up and walked to the bed where the kid was at. “It’s time for you to go to bed though kid”. He pulled up the blankets to tuck the kid in and kissed him on the forehead. “Now get to bed already kid” the man said with one of the biggest and genuine smile on his face. Maybe he wouldn’t write that novel after all.
Terry lived with us for a couple more months. One day during the summer I was in the front room watching some Saturday morning cartoon and I could hear Terry and my parents talking. Terry told my parents that he had to leave and that he was going to go live in California for a little bit. My parents asked him if he was sure. He said that he was (by this time I wasn’t watching cartoons anymore and was peeking in to see what was happening in the kitchen) and then he gave both of my parents some of the most loving and sad hugs that I have ever seen and then walked out the door with a pair of raggedy old suitcases. And just like that he was gone, just like that I would never see him again.
My parents would always tell me that he was rambling from place to place. They told me that he was in California, New York, Seattle, Chicago, small Midwest farm towns, southern towns, and everywhere in between. The last I heard of him he was settled down in a small Michigan town with this girl, Laura I think her name was. He ended up dying of lung cancer from smoking to much. It was one of the saddest days of my life when I found out.
I dug through the box some more, keeping the objects that I wanted next to me, and tossing aside the things that weren’t worth keeping anymore. While I was digging I found another picture of me, this one was a younger picture of me. It was a picture of me when I was maybe 18 or 19 and I was with this blond girl whose name was Ashley Kissinger. She was an old girlfriend of mine that I went with quite a while. We started dating each other in junior year of high school and were with one another for 7 years, up until I was 25. We even lived with one another in this shitty one room apartment for five years.
I have to say that she was the only other girl that I ever could say that I loved besides for my wife. When we lived together we would just sit up all night and talk. She would tell me things and I would tell her things. WE would talk about things like God, politics, growing old, our fears, our dreams, our hopes, but mostly we would tell stories. She would tell me stories about her crazy Italian family, about how her uncles would get into fights in the strangest of places. I never had any real good stories to tell her so I just made up some hoping that once I was done that she would tell me another one.
There they were, sitting in their bed sitting side by side with the sound of the TV filling their ears, today it was the voice of some old news reporter that was bouncing off the walls. They weren’t paying attention to each other though, they were sitting there just talking and the TV was only on to fill the silent moments were neither of them were talking with some sort of noise. The old alarm clock on the beaten up wooden dresser in this shitty one room apartment said that it was one o’clock, one o’clock in the morning that is.
The man was holding the girl on the bed. She was a blond, not one of those horrible plastic blondes that most men go crazy after because they were 5’11” with a tan and sandy blond hair. She was different. She wasn’t “attractive” by traditional standards but there was something about her that made her appealing, a “way” about her. It was a subtle and faint thing like the heart beat of a dying man but it was there, it was definitely there.
“Babe, could you tell me a story?” The man loved the girl’s stories. Sometimes she would make up stories off the top of her head, or she would just tell obscure stories from little known authors but with her own twist on them. The stories that the man loved the most were the stories were that the women told about her family. Those stories were the most interesting to him because they were actually things that people really did, and not some fictional creation of someone’s mind, that gave the stories some type humanistic appeal that the others just don’t have.
“Is there any particular story that you want really want to hear babe?” The girl said in a soft, loving voice.
“Not really” the man said. “I want to hear something that you haven’t told me before though babe”.
“Let’s see if I can think of a story that I’ve never told you before babe”. They sat their together in the silence, her thinking, and him waiting. She was trying to think of a story that she hadn’t told him before, she knew that she could tell him a story that she had and that he wouldn’t remember because he didn’t have the best of memories, but she didn’t feel like cheating the poor guy.
“Alright babe I think that I have one that you’ve never heard before”. The man was almost asleep but when he heard those words he jolted up and began to listen to the girl.
“This is a story about my grandfather when he was a young man” she began. “It’s a story about my grandfather back in the 1920’s when maybe he was about twenty five or twenty, and it has to do with a friend that he had at the time named Lucille. Him and Lucille had been really good friends ever since they were little kid, it wasn’t anything sexual as far as he told me, they were just really good friends. At the time you see she wasn’t doing well, she had been sick for a while but now she was layed up in a hospital bed.”
“What was wrong with her?” the man said.
“I’m not exactly sure what the problem was babe” the women said. “I don’t think that my grandfather ever told me, or he might have and I just might not remember what he said” she said with a look as if she was searching the catacombs of her mind for this inconsequential fact”.
“It’s alright if you can’t remember babe, its not really important” said the man. “What happened next, what did your grandfather do?”
“Well on day he went up to the hospital to see her. When he got to see her he sat in her room for hours telling old stories of when they were kids together and trying to cheer her up. They stayed up talking for hours just talking to one another about everything under the sun. When it was close to closing time she said something that my grandfather remembered to his dying day, she said ‘I’m sick of this place Bob. I’m sick of all these relatives as they call themselves, which I haven’t seen in years coming in and pretending that they care about me. I’m sick of this food, I’m sick of these doctors, I’m sick of EVERYTHING! I don’t think you know what a horrible place this hospital is, but I really, really, really, don’t want to die in this hospital”’.
They both just sat there for a long time in the bed thinking about the sadness in those words, neither of them were tempted to go to bed, they just sat there. Then the man spoke sadly “what happened next babe?”
“So him and Lucy, Lucy is what he called her, planned to leave the hospital and book themselves a room in some cheap hotel, then invite all their friends over and have one last big party.”
“Did they manage to get out of the hospital babe?” asked the man.
“It took a couple of days but they finally got out of the hospital” said the lady. “As soon as they get out of the hospital he and Lucy book a room in a cheap hotel in the middle of the city. They set up the room and start to call everybody that they knew telling them that there’s going to be a big party and that they’re all invited to come. About an hour later everyone starts to show up with cases upon cases of alcohol. Once more people started coming and the needle hit the record player the party sped off”.
“How did the party go babe?”
“He always told me that it was the wildest party that he had ever been to in his life. He said that every inch of that room was packed to the point where you were constantly rubbing elbows with the people next but nobody gave a damn because everyone was having such a good time. According to him the hotel had sent someone up to tell everyone to quit down or else they would be kicked out. My grandpa answered the door and when he heard the complaint he grabbed the guy by the arm and dragged him in. The attendee got so drunk that the next morning they found him curled up in a ball under the bed with his shirt off. My grandpa told me that they looked for that shirt all morning but they never found it”.
The girl and the guy both laughed. “What happened next babe how did the party end?” the man asked the girl.
“They all partied until the break of dawn and then some time after that too. The last two people that were awake in the room were my grandfather and Lucy, they stood in room dancing with one another until record they were listening to ended. After the record ended they went downstairs paid their bill and took a cab home together to both of their house”.
“They left just like that?” the man looked confused.
“Lucy was the first person that the cab dropped off because her house was the closest to the hotel. When the cab got to her house my grandfather told the taxi driver so that he could walk Lucy to her door. He always told me that the day was gray and overcast and that it was starting to drizzle. He walked her to the door anyway; he didn’t care if it was raining. They stood there in front of her door talking to each other but eventually he had to go. When he left they gave each other a long hug and she said ‘always keep dancing no matter what happens Bob, remember that’. He told her that he wouldn’t, gave her one last hug, and went back to cab. He waited until she was in her house to tell the taxi driver to go. When the taxi driver started to go it began to rain heavily. My grandpa leaned over the back seat while the driver was pulling away and staring sadly through the rain streaks, he kept on looking until he couldn’t see her house anymore.”
“What happened to Lucy and your grandpa babe?” asked the man. “Did she ever get any better?”
“They were together with each other for a couple months. One day during the winter Lucy got sick and…and the next day she was gone”. The man grabbed the women tight. “Every time my grandfather would get to the point in this story some gear would click in his mind and his face would just be blanketed in sadness. He always regretted that he never got to see her before she passed, he knew that there was nothing to do but he still felt bad despite that.”
“Wow” the man said in shock. He knew that there was nothing else that he could say that would be fitting for this moment.
“When my grandpa heard that she had died he sat there thinking about, he sat there thinking about Lucy, about friends, family, gladness, sadness, life, death, mortality, and what he should do next. Then it hit him. He picked up the phone and called everyone that he could think of and told them that there was going to be a party in Lucy’s honor. He knew that she wouldn’t want him to sit inside and mourn; she would want him to go out and live. And that’s exactly what he did; he lived enough for the both of them. He always said that was his goal because he knew that was what Lucy wanted”.
By the time that the woman was done with her story the man had already fallen asleep at her side. Now the old alarm clock on beaten up wooden dresser in the shitty one room apartment said that it was three o’clock as the white noise continued to pour from the TV.
By the time I was 25 things with Ashley had gone straight to hell. I don’t know why or what sparked it but everything just took a turn for the worse. All I know is that we both just got really sad and started drifting apart. Things just weren’t the same like the were before. She did her thing and I did my own thing, we barely did anything together. All we ever did together was stay in the same house, we barely ever talked anymore. By the time that the following spring came we forgotten how to love eachother. We ended it there because there was no feeling left for the other. She kept the apartment, and I moved back in with my parents until I could get back on my feet.
After we broke up she started this guy named John from Florida who I can’t remember the last name of. From what I heard they were really happy together and about a year later he moved back down to Florida and took her with him. Once that happened she just dropped off the face of the earth and I never heard about her again. Sometimes I wonder where she is and how’s she doing. I hope that she’s doing well.
By this time I was halfway done cleaning out the box when I found another picture. This picture was a picture that I took of my friend Tom O’Hare while we were in college. It wasn’t any good like the two other pictures, it really wasn’t good at all actually, but I kept it because every time that I look at it the stupid expression on Tom’s face leaves me on the floor laughing uncontrollably.
I met Tom in the first year that I went to college. I think that I met him in my prerequisite biology class that every incoming freshman had to take. He was actually sitting next to me and we started talking. He told me that he was from Chicago and that he had come to New York just for the simple fact that it was a change of scenery from where he was living. I gave him my story and he gave me his. We instantly became friends and by the time housing came around for the second year we decided that we would dorm together.
“Why won’t you just tell me what happened when you went over to her house last week man? We’ve been roommates for about a year and you still won’t tell me some of the simplest shit that goes on in you life”. Said a voice that came from a bottom part of a bunk bed.
“You really want to know what happened bro?” said an agitated voice from the top from the top bunk.
“And once I tell you you’ll get off my back and let me finally go to sleep?” said the man from the top bunk just as agitated as before.
“Fine, I’ll tell you…just as long as you promise to shut up and go to sleep after it”.
“I promise you that after you tell me I’ll shut and I’ll go straight to sleep. I promise”. You could hear the rising of his voice so you could tell that he was getting excited to hear the story.
There were a few moments of silence after that. “I don’t really know really were to begin though”. The man said like he was a bit disappointed by the fact that he didn’t know where to start.
“Start from the beginning, that’s always the best place to ‘begin’ from” the man on the bottom bunk said with a snicker.
It took a few seconds for the sarcasm of the man to register in the brain of the man on the top bunk. “Don’t be a smart ass. That must have been one of the smartest things that you ever said so I guess that I’ll start from the beginning of it all”. The man paused “well you know how I was going out with that one girl Deborah?”
“Yah, I remember. How could I not remember her, you’ve only been going out with her for practically the whole time that I’ve known you”.
“Well you know that we were quite serious then. I spent time with her family and friends, and she spent time with mine. I ate dinner with her and her family at her house, and she ate dinner with me and my family. I took her out all the time to see movies and all kinds of other stuff.”
“What was the problem then? I mean it sounds like you two were doing pretty well together” said the man from the bottom bunk.
“That’s what I thought too. I thought that we were happy, I mean I was happy at least, I don’t know how happy she was now. I thought that she was ‘Miss Right’ you know? I guess that she wasn’t though”. The man from the top bunk said sadly.
“So what happened, why did you two break up?” asked the man from the bottom bunk.
“Like two weekends ago we went out and had dinner and saw a movie like we usually do. The food was good and the movie wasn’t half bad either so I thought we were having a good time. We get back to my car and I drive her back to her house. I get out of the car to walk her to the door to be polite and all, I don’t want to just force her out of the car and speed off leaving her in the dust. We get to the door and I can tell that something’s wrong, she was quite the whole car ride home and that’s not like her at all. I ask her what’s wrong and she won’t say anything, she keeps on saying that there’s nothing wrong at all. I keep on pressing though and eventually she spills. She tells me that she wants to break up because she doesn’t think that I’m going any where with my life and that she needs someone with a future, someone who can support her later on in life. Now I’m just dumfounded by this whole situation, I can’t believe what the hell is happening. I ask her what she means and she that she just doesn’t see me going anywhere in life because she thinks that I’m too complacent with where I am in life and that she can’t be with someone who isn’t going anywhere. After that she told me that it was over and walked into her house. I have to say that when I heard that door slam it was the most hurtful thing ever, it killed me man. I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t say anything I was so surprised by what just happened, so I just walked back to my car and drove away. I guess sometimes you never know whether a person is really happy. All you can do is rely on what you see and hear until someone proves you wrong. I have to say that she was smart to wait until the end of the night because she got a free movie and dinner out of it all, that’s the girl that I fell in love with” the man chuckled to himself. He wasn’t talking to the man on the bunk below him anymore. He was talking to himself. Talking in hopes that the words would bounce of the ceiling and come back down entering his ears. His own private realization and confession of everything that had happened in the past couple of weeks.
“So what did you end up doing man?” said the voice from underneath the bed. “Did you just stop seeing her after that? Come on man; don’t tell me that you went crawling back to her”.
“I didn’t go back crawling to her. I went to her house a couple of days later to talk to her. I was going over there to reconcile anything; I wasn’t trying to get her back. All I was trying to do was figure out was what she meant and why she thought all that.”
“Sure man, all you wanted to do was just go over there and ‘talk’ to her” the man said with disbelief. “So what happened when you go over the man, did you guys just ‘talk’?”
“Well I went over to her house a couple of days ago to talk to her but guess what happened when I got over there.”
“I knock on the door and wait there for a couple of minutes hoping that she answers the door”.
“Alright” says the man from the bottom bunk.
“So I’m waiting at the door for a bit and then finally someone comes and answers the door. It’s not her though, it’s her sister! Just my luck right? I ask her where her sister and she tells me that she doesn’t really know where she is. I tell her that she had just basically kicked me to the curb to the curb for some fucked up reason which I couldn’t really understand. I have to say that she was a hell of a lot more sympathiec then her sister. We keep on talking for a bit and eventually she invites me in to sit and for something to drink.”
“Ooooh, she invites you in eh?” The man said like he was some pubescent teenager in high school”.
“Keep it in your pants man. We didn’t do anything” Said the man from the top bunk. “After she invites me in I go in a sit on the couch and she goes to make some coffee. She comes back in with the coffee, I say thank, and we start to talk again. Simple”.
“You’re not any fun” the man said from the bunk disappointingly.
“God, you are so immature sometimes. We sit there talking about there talking about Deborah for quite some time. I swear that I must have looked like the most hung up person ever. I must have made it seem like I couldn’t live without her. I’m talking and she’s listening and then she comes out and asks me the most random question I have ever gotten. She asks me what I want to do with my life”.
“So what did you end up telling her?”
“I told her that I wasn’t to sure what I wanted to do really. That I was still and that I hadn’t really decided on what I wanted to be. She said there must be something that I want out of life. I thought about it, it’s not like I hadn’t thought about it before but this time I really sat down and thought about it. I told her the one thing that I wanted out of life was just to keep breathing and to be happy, and that if I could do that then it doesn’t matter what kind of job or how big of a house I have or anything else because that’s all I really want out of life”.
“What did she end up saying to that?”
“She just said that it was a good and simple way to go through life way. And that it was really the best that anyone could hope for, to just keep on living and be happy.”
“What did you two end up doing for the rest of the night?” The sexual inclination was gone from him voice now and it seemed like he was asking now because he was actually interested in what the other man was saying.
“We just ended up staying at her house late just sitting around talking about everything. Eventually it got late though and I had to leave”.
“Have you seen her anymore after that day bro?” asked the man from the bottom bunk.
“Yeah, I actually have been. That’s where I’ve been this whole week. I’ve been spending time with her almost everyday this week”.
“So that’s what you’ve been doing all week and why you haven’t been around that much lately?”
“Yep, that’s where I’ve been for most of this week. Now that you got your answer can I go to sleep now?”
“Of course you can man. I told you once you told me what happened this week that I’d let you go to sleep without anymore questions”.
“Thank you, and good night.” The man said from the top bunk.
“Good night” said the voice from the bottom bunk.
A few months after him and Deborah broke up he started to forget her. It just goes to show you that no matter what happens to you life goes on. Me and John remained best friends until the end of college and we had plenty more good times. College had to end though eventually and we both had to leave. He went on to become some kind of electrician and from what I remember him saying he was pretty happy with it, it pays well and he likes to do the work. He became an electrician and well here I am.
After college he moved out to the Midwest and I stayed in the East. He took Deborah’s sister out there with him and after a couple of years they got married and they had a couple of beautiful kids. I guess things work out in the most unexpected way. I’m really happy for him though, she’s an amazing girl and his kids are the sweetest things in the world. We see each other a bit from time to time. He usually stops by when he comes back with the wife and kids to visit his parents for Christmas. Christmas is always one of my favorite times of the year. It’s just nice to be able to be around an old friend and talk about old memories from when you were kids.
I was almost done digging through the box; I was getting pretty close to the bottom. I was digging past little knick knacks from both my life and my wife’s life. There were baby things from when our children were little. There were books in all shapes, sizes, and conditions. There were old movies. There was everything you could possibly think of.
At the very bottom of the box was on last picture frame. The frame was old and rickety wood. The glass holding in the picture was cracked at certain points from the weight of everything else that was piled on top of it. The picture was of me while I was at college in New York. It was black and white and looked quite old. The color was fading which gave it the aura of joyous boyhood days long gone. The edges were beginning to crack and disintegrate just from the simple fact that it was so old. I looked down at the photo and something odd hit me. Who was the man standing next to me?!!
In the picture it was me and a man next to me looking and smiling at the camera. He had his arm around me and I was smiling to. I could sense that at one point he was a good friends but I just couldn’t remember who he was. Who was this man and why couldn’t I remember who he was? I know that we were in New York because I could tell we were in Central Park, I could tell Central Park anywhere. But I couldn’t recall who this man was. I mean my four years in New York were some of the best years of my life. It was place where I discovered the world and the place where I met some of the best people that I ever have the pleasure of knowing. But why couldn’t I remember who this man was?
I sat there for a long time trying to figure out who this man was, looking for a little something that might set off a spark in my mind, a characteristic of the man or something in the background that might make remember who he was. No matter for how long I sat though I could just not remember who this man was. I usually have a good memory when it comes to things, especially things like friends and family but that skill had failed me and for the life of me I could not figure out who this man was! Right now this man could be anyone; any story could be attached to him if I wanted to. He could have been my best friend who I went escapading with through the dark street of Manhattan with. He could have been my mentor, my urban messiah who took me under his wing when I first came to the city as a naïve small town boy. I doubt that anyone will ever know who he is though; all he is now is some poor lost soul whose only grip on this physical world is a black and white picture in a dusty old frame. I guess sometimes, no matter who they deal with or where they take place that memories don’t always last.
© Copyright 2016 Bill Schultz. All rights reserved.