By Timothy Gager
When the phone rang in the darkness,
Frank grunted and his body moved as if he were shocked. His immediate thought:
annoyance at the loud ring tone and The Smiths, How Soon is Now. Then
his mom said an ambulance was taking his father to the hospital. It was 2:00 AM.
“Should I come right away?”
“No, come in the morning,” his mother said. “You can't do nothing.”
The next time he woke, it was his work alarm. Frank fumbled it off the nightstand onto the floor. His mother had waited till 7:05 to call. His father was dead and Frank was naked; headed to the shower.
As a boy, on a cold night, Frank would sleep with his mother.
She was like a furnace and Frank would wake in the sweat of several fevers that
broke . “I’ll be right over,” he said but he took fifteen minutes to rub soap
into the washcloth and another five to rinse it out. The water formed a puddle
on the tile floor. His eyes felt like balls of sand.
On the way to the hospital Frank had a minor accident. It was on a side street, speed limit thirty-five but he was driving thirty. The other driver hurried from the scene because Frank said something odd to Cynthia Johnstone, 153 Current St, Amica Insurance, Registration OOU-545, “I'm strong... I never cry.”
At the hospital, Frank first stopped at the nurse’s station.
“Take as long as you want but could you hurry and sign some forms?” She placed a pen in his hand. Certain things couldn’t wait. His mother sat on a chair next to the bed, her head rested in her hands. He signed.
About Timothy Gager