Call Me – another scene

Garth won’t let go of the porch.

Wally’s coaxing, “C’mon, c’mon,” waving the broken man to the steps.

“What about Randy?” Wally glances, tilting his head towards the twelve-year-old perched on the back bumper of a tired GMC.

“I was too cheap—he could only afford to text, thank God,” Garth looks back to the veranda, “but Sylvia—all day long—she just wouldn’t stop.”

“I know buddy. Same. The very same. It hurts.”

Wally’s staring at him, drilling through, but Garth could have been punched in the stomach. No tears, just carved out and empty. I figure the only reason he’s still alive is because of Randy—otherwise he’d of found the nearest doorknob and cinched it all.

“Was she in the hospital?” I had to ask him. I know it was stupid, but he’s spinning in the same groove, just standing there.

“No, no,” Garth sighs, then he takes a good five seconds to look up at the second floor, “she was in her room.”

“That’s OK, better at home. I don’t think people wanted to go to hospitals.”

Randy catches my eye, he’s pointing past the side of the house, at a little glen in the corner of the yard. The patch resembles a garden. A few blooms make it look peaceful—an outdoor nook. The flower beds are trim, but the vinyl kitchen chair doesn’t fit; somebody’s spent a few hours sitting and contemplating their little scrap of nature.

“She’s there.”

Damn, that’s one tough kid. I feel like an idiot.

Wally refuses to get bogged down, “Look, Garth, we’re driving up to Perno. Supposed to be a mall up there stacked with camping supplies—I dunno—ten skids of propane, briquettes, lot’s of stuff. Whatta ya say we go shopping. I’ll buy.”

Garth looks back at us, the bags under his eyes are ready to fall off.

“Are you getting any sleep?” I ask.

“Not much.”

“Go with us. Even if you just crash in the car. Randy, too. Let’s go for a road trip.”

Garth’s hesitating, his hand’s firm on the porch rail. I can see his scratched knuckles, bony fingers—they’re shaking. I doubt Garth or Randy are eating much.

“I just don’t—” he turns his head to Randy, but the kid won’t look at him. No support there. “I don’t want to leave her,” he finishes.

Wally’s running out of delicate, switching to forceful, but out comes something Garth needs. Or, maybe, Wally is finally admitting to himself that Karen won’t be coming back, either.

“Buddy, she’s not here anymore.”

Garth clicks. His shoulders go back and he lets go of the rail. Four months of melancholy suddenly crack. He peers straight into Wally’s face and speaks firmly.

“Randy, grab your stuff. We’re going.”


Read the first scene here…

One Response to “Call Me – another scene”
  1. curly says:

    … reading… another scene… please

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