"All I ask for is a little peace and quiet. Just for five minutes." My father was pleading patience with me and his eyes looked cloudy behind his heavy glasses.
The Saturday sunbeams trickled through the milky curtains and made windowpane stripes on his legs. He had just mowed the lawn and the August day was swoonin' dogs, yeah. I was running around in my tightie whities trying to bust the heat out of my skinny, eight-year-old frame. A box window fan sat in the doorway to the porch humming the stagnant air. My father wanted me out of his hair so he could attend to man business, like reading the paper. He wanted to spend time with me too. He jumped off the couch all monster like and swooped me up into his arms, spinning me like a propeller. He told me to get dressed so we could go outside to play catch. I flew up the red carpeting and heard the oak boards creak under step, they sounded like muffled-out of tune piano keys.
Dad put the oversized softball mitt on my left hand. My thin fingers felt the soft wet insides of the leather and let the tips of my fingers wriggle into the respective slots. The mitt wasn't broken in and my dad had a stigmatism in his left eye that f-ed up his depth perception. Kid couldn't catch a ball. Our catch game was a disaster. We never played catch again. I don't know if baseball just hiccuped out of my childhood, but we never went to a ball game as a family. I learned to love the Cubs later and even the White Sox too. I grew up on the West Side, I got WGN and I love ball. they are in different leagues. But I was angry at him for never taking me to a ball game after he died, and I was angry that he never took me fishing. I felt wronged.
His patience with me never swayed. People loved him, and his job as an trainer for mentally challenged adults made us a constant target in any public place. Dad always referred to them as 'Clients'. Well, these clients would come up to us in restaurants, movie theatres, grocery stores and pump my dad's hand up and down, smiling and introducing him to people. My sister once wanted to joke, but never did, that he was "King Of the Retards". Really,my sister had nothing to do with this joke that is not even a joke, but the real culprit was some mean spirited kid that had dirt behind his ears. I even found it amusing underneath the gulping embarrassment I felt when one of the clients came boisterously bustling up to my father. My father jostled their hand and introduced us like we were all real people. My father treated everyone that way.
When he used to drink, he said it was "To take the edge off."
He was right that booze dulls the edge until it falls off. I always laugh when people talk about me being from Frank Lloyd Wright land. They think it all panache and fluffy. I just laugh at the cantilever, prairie style overhangs that are crippled just like the engineers said, and how they are sagging and ready to fall, just like me.
I fold up into the sheets and kiss the memories as they flash forward through the blinking abyss before sleep.
"Ask me no questions, I'll tell you know lies." Dad winked like I knew.
I've read in the old cheesy children's novels that not saying anything is just as bad as lying. It hides, covered in the top sand of a timeless wake. This is where my memories go when I don't smother them.
I sigh and breath deep, letting the edge roll, knowing Sisyphus will roll it right back up tomorrow and 'morrow.