The room was very bright. Clean white squares of ceramic tile, the big one foot square tiles, made up the walls and the ceiling. Frankie put those up himself when he and his wife bought the house in the late 1940s. Now he was sitting on a stool with my sister's four year old daughter in his lap. "Frankie" was what my sister called him. She was making tea. She took a mug out of the cupboard. The doors were painted, pale green. They were the only thing with any color. The mug was my coffee mug. I told her not to put tea in my coffee mug.
She said, "What's the difference?"
I gave her some explanation about how tea and coffee have different tastes and that the tea flavor would taint the coffee mug. I asked Frankie if he agreed.
"I don't see where it makes any difference." he said in his soft gentle voice.
I was disappointed but not surprised. He and his wife spoiled the hell out of my sister, the baby of our family
. They lived across the street
from us when we were growing up. Frankie had been dead for years but here he was sitting on a simple wooden stoll in his clean white kitchen. Imaculate.
I asked my sister if she would mind not using my coffee mug for tea. She stopped and just stood there. Frankie sat there serene and smiling. A true gentleman. He and his wife never had children. When my youngest sister was born she was named after Frank's wife. They were so pleased that they practically adopted her. She was their surrogate daughter and could do no wrong.
I left the room which was long and narrow. There was nothing on the rest of the walls. The only way out was a narrow path on the edge of a cliff. It was impossible to pass but if I went back I was giving in to defeat. The farther along I went the narrower the path got. I couldn't understand why I didn't remember this path and the 300 foot drop. I was in great danger of falling and looking for something to hang on to. Just as I was about to succumb to the pull of gravity, everyting got fuzzy as I was gripped with intense fear and then woke up. Safe. All quiet. The image of Frankie still vivid before me.