Submitted by John L. Lincicome.
He set his left hand on the table. It was wrinkled, brown, borne of the sun yet void of age spots, strong hands, big hands, workin’ hands. A nice enough fella, he was talkin’ story ‘bout his use to be’s.
In his other hand was a double scotch, rocks. Condensation from the glass flirted with his forefinger as he drew the glass to his weathered face to draw one. Somehow I felt the cool of the condensate on his hand, as his story spilled from his lips. He was a…
Workin’ class guy, a tradesman/carpenter. We’d been workin’ together for a time and one day in the last minutes of the work day we got to talkin’ & stuff, and lo and behold we decided to go to the neighborhood bar for a drink. It wasn’t “our” neighborhood, it was a waterin’ hole in the vicinity of the job site.
The man’s skills as a carpenter were excellent. He was the sort of guy that gives a hoot about the stuff he produced. The “real”, gives a hoot sort of fella. One of the “good guys” eh? Yes.
Some of the other fella’s on the job site thought him to be a primidone, a perfectionist. To some extent they were correct. At the end of the day the guy’s worx stood proud and warranted merit. It was work that most all the others admired, and he did it with a flavor borne of old school class and dignity. He’s also the guy the others went to for advice when confronted with a work related obstacle. As a general rule, he…
Was a quiet sort of fella. Until he had a few…
“Another round?” asked the pretty, 20 somethin’ waitress.
She was young, pretty, hard on the outside sort of gal with sharp features. Her brunettish hair cascaded down beyond her shoulders, parted on the right. Her smile intense but somehow faux. Her brown eyes pierced the dark of the bar, and went through me like a lazer. Her figure was impeccable. She didn’t carry a notepad to take orders, her mind was sharp as a tack. I figured she had stories to tell, but knew I’d never hear them. Envied whoever did get to hear them.
I looked the question at my buddy, and he looked the answer back. I nodded in the affirmative to the waitress. The waitress emptied our ashtray into something she carried with her, wiped it clean, then turned and went off to the next table. Rote precision comes to mind.
He continued his stories. It was one of those times when something in my deep down told me to listen more, and speak less. I polished off the third double whisky rocks as he spoke, rarely breaking eye contact with him.
It wasn’t so much that his stories were good and noteworthy, it was more about the fact that he trusted to share them with me. I liked and respected him. Honored comes to mind, on the way to hammered.
He talked story through six or more rounds that night as I listened. Learned a lot about the guy, and by the time it was time to go, I felt I made a friend.
The drive home was akin to the one eyed thing. Thoughts of how my gal at home was probably wonderin’ why I didn’t come home at the usual time, pestered me.
Back then there weren’t no cell phones. There were pay phones, and all I had to do was find one and call and let her know what was goin’ on, but I didn’t. Inconsiderate fool, comes to mind.
I struggled to find the key that fit the lock on the front door when I finally got home. I stood there swayin’ to & fro in the clumsy of my drunk. Finally found the right key. Slipped it into the lock, and oila!
Over the years I’d been a crummy sort of fella. Stayed out late drinkin’ and bein’ a young man, fool, sort of fella as a matter of routine. Thought I was smart, no idea how dumb I truly was. Strayed a time or two, too. Full time wretch comes to mind. The gal at home behind the door knew it…
She knew it. I denied it whenever it came up. But…
A woman knows that stuff. All she had to do was look into my eyes to know. Can’t tell ya how many times I ran into the darkness after lookin’ in her eyes on night’s similar to that one. But…
I didn’t stray that night. Broken clocks come to mind…
The house felt empty. No television on, no dryer hummin’ in the background, no family chaos stuff goin’ on. I shut the door behind me quiet like. The sound of the doorlatch betrayed my drunken stealth.
In the kitchen there was a note on the counter. “There’s a plate for you in the oven’, Love, ….
I opened the oven door, then leaned to take a peek. Inside was a plate wrapped in foil. I peeled back the foil to take a peek. Just then…
A hand laid upon my shoulder. It startled me. It was a soft hand, a warm hand, a lovin’ hand. I steadied myself on the oven door as I stood and turned.
“You okay?” she asked as her eyes pierced the depths of my rascal soul. Then..
“You been good?” she asked with soft words and that look of love and fear both at the same time, searching my deep down with her eye.
I took her hand in mine.
“Yes dear…” I said.
John L. Lincicome lives in Tacoma and you can read more Kid Life stories on the You Know Your From Lakewood, WA If… Facebook Page.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.