Before his hair went grey he married a girl. She was from Wisconsin, we was from Minnesota. They met at an airport on his way to California to see his family. She was working as a stewardess and offered him double shots on his Bloody Mary on the plane awaiting take-off.
He worked at the steel mill and she ran a small day care from her home. Life worked for the two of them. They had developed a team at home...avoiding the things that triggered anger and focusing on the things that produced satisfaction. This was the American dream before cameras could exploit it.
At night they prayed at the bedside with their kids. They ate every meal together and mom and dad listened as the kids told jokes they had learned at school and shared stories they all would laugh at for completely different reasons. Every night, dad would sit on his knees next to their beds and tell them stories about when he was a kid and compare to when they were kids. Obviously their lives were easier.
His son sat directly in front of his casket when he died. He just stared at the face of his father and wondered how he did it so easily. His wife in the back of the room talking to family and friends. He has been sitting on that chair all day looking at the past and present of his father and she never stops talking. She hasn't even asked him if he's ok. It's his father that's dead and she has nothing to say to him now? After all of this talking?
Weeks later, they sway with the waves as he holds the vase that holds his father in tiny particles. He pours them onto the surface of the water off the coast of Normandy, the place his father always spoke about. He looks over to his wife who isn't holding his hand and saw nothing. She isn't there. She is with someone else in her mind. She had left long ago, but had no real offer strong enough to convince her to leave him. She does now and they both know it.
She leaves the day after they get home. She stands face to face with him. She was an idiot, but never a coward. She says, "I don't love you, I love someone else. I'm sorry for your father and I'm sorry I've lied, but I'm leaving." No goodbye. She just opened the door and walked out into the sun and out of his life.
He just stared like he did at his father as she walked away. He knew he couldn't change any of it. They were always going to go. He wanted to stop her. He wanted to ask his dad what to do because his dad always knew what to do. Instead he stood there looking at a shadow until it became sunlight.
Thanks for reading...Z