The Flaw

Going through the morning’s triple S activities – shit, shower, shave – he was thinking about his parents and their health. They’d divorced when he was a little boy. Each had contributed to that mess, he decided while conducting his retrospective. Mom forced issues and seemed to thrive on confrontation. Dad shunned conflict. Throwing himself into work, he’d held several jobs simultaneously. He did each well, and they paid well.

After their divorce, Mom had remarried six or seven times – he wasn’t sure – and Dad had several live-in girlfriends besides two other marriages. He thought it was remarkable that he’d married and managed to keep it together for over forty years.

Of course, he’d never been close to his parents. Splitting time between Mom and Dad’s households, he’d struck out on his own after graduating high school when he was seventeen, and then married at eighteen. Neither parent had made an effort to stay very close outside of birthday and holiday cards. Mom visited him and his wife one time, after he’d bought the round-trip airline ticket for her, after they’d been married thirty years. Dad had visited once, dropping by their first apartment for a grinning, goofy fifteen minute visit. Two visits between the two parents in more than forty years.

He sighed. Both parents, in their eighties, were in declining health. He knew he’d miss them once they passed away – everyone told him so – but it was hard for him to generate compassion for their situation.

He hated that he had that flaw and couldn’t seem to do anything about it.


The Joke

“There’s a Dairy Queen. Want to go there for dessert?”

“Okay.” She sounded pleased.

He’d been joking but he made the right turn, found parking, and they went inside. It’d been a long time since they’d been in a DQ, and the menu was different from those days, requiring a study of offering, ingredients, and calories. Finally choices were made. “Do most people take a long time like I did?” he asked the young cashier.

She smiled. “Yes, most do.”

His wife said, “We used to go to the Dairy Queen when we were dating. Not this one, but I mean, another Dairy Queen. It was the only place around.”

“That was literally almost fifty years ago,” he said. He and his wife laughed.

The cashier smiled. “Your orders will be up in a moment.”


For Her

The house was always silent except for his quiet and her cats. He was aware of how much he sighed, and the cats…the cats were always darting underfoot, jumping up onto the furniture, counters, and tables, and peering around corners.

Flowers and plants were everywhere. He’d told everyone to send money to her causes in lieu of flowers and that shit, but…well, here they were. Here he was.

She was always trying to get him to eat healthy. The ‘frig was lousy with salmon and salad ingredients. Sighing (but what else?), he prepared the salmon per the instructions, sharing some with the cats, who were enthusiastic in their enjoyment, and made a salmon Caesar salad and poured a glass of wine for himself. Eating, he told himself, for her, chewing and swallowing the despised flavors, washing it down with wine.

For her.

Monday’s Theme Music

Looking for some keys this morning, I started mumbling, “They’re never there where they’re supposed to be.”

Naturally, Cake answered the call with “Never There” (1998).

I enjoy the lyrics’ playful rhyming.

On the phone long, long distance
Always through such strong resistance
First you say you’re too busy
I wonder if you even miss me

Never there
You’re never there
You’re never, ever, ever, ever there

A golden bird that flies away, a candles fickle flame
To think I held you yesterday, your love was just a game
A golden bird that flies away, a candles fickle flame
To think I held you yesterday, your love was just a game

You tell me that you love me so, you tell me that you care
But when I need you baby
Take the time to get to know me
If you want me why can’t you just show me
Were always on this roller coaster
If you want me why can’t you get closer?



He came into the kitchen and watched her as she flitted from counter to counter, cupboard to pantry, collecting ingredients and utensils.┬áThe oven was on. He wondered what she was baking. “What’d you say about Roberferghen?”

She flashed him a quizzical look. “Who? What?”

“Just now. I was in the other room and you said something about Roberferghen several times.”

“What’s Roberferghen?”

“I don’t know. That’s what I came in to find out.”

Picking up a measuring cup, she sifted flour into it and shook her head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“What were you just saying?”


“Just now, before I came in here?”

Shaking her head, she poured the flour into a bowl. “I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

Her tone made it clear that the topic was closed. Turning, he sighed and left.

Now he’d never know what Roberferghen is.


Travelin’ and unravelin’

leaving miles of web behind

tangled up with sticky notes

caught flat on my tongue

I see you in my mind’s mirrors

through a complex lens

hearing you

with jaundiced eyes

missing you

until I overflow

and crash

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