Monday, September 22, 2008
She found the place by accident, needing to sit somewhere, and even though the place was deserted, it looked warm; something she was not. She scoffed quietly to herself when she read the name. The only heroes in this world were sandwiches. The ones she saw on the worn pages of the crumpled, dusty, comic books she found when cleaning out the attic in her parents house didn’t count.
They were her brothers’ old comic books, boxes of them. Next to the boxes of his clothes, school papers, trophies, and all those damn pictures.
If you didn’t know the family, you’d think he was an only child.
She may as well not exist.
She was the one left, the one who took care of the final arrangements for her father last week, saw to it that the bills were paid, cleaned out the attic, and the rest of the house, and finally, today, turned the keys over to the realtor.
After staring stupidly at the blurred words on the laminated menu, the gum-cracking, saddle shoe tapping waitress took her order for ‘just coffee, please.’ She didn’t even drink coffee but it seemed the only way to make the waitress and her scent-shroud of menthol cigarettes and hairspray go away.
The coffee came and she mindlessly dropped a sugar cube in to the cup, stirred.
She watched the street hoping for something to happen.
Something that might tell her what to do next.
She thought about the little pistol. It was weird, discovering her father owned a gun. Why did he have a gun? It wasn’t old, clearly not an heirloom of any kind. Yet, there it was, clean and well protected in its little case.
She took it home the day she found it. The pistol and its pretty little bullets.
Since then, she’d caught herself day dreaming about it. In her mind, the steel glowed, almost too bright to look at, like the face of watch caught in the sunlight.
She could sell it. She should turn it in to the police station. One of those amnesty things. It would be less trouble that way. No questions. No explanations. No admitting that she really might not have known her dad.
She wiped a stray tear away.
She heard someone come in and sit order coffee, like her. She glanced over her shoulder and their eyes met. He smiled, then nodded at her. She tried to return the smile and turned back to her cold coffee.
The waitress returned; asked if anything was wrong with her coffee. She shook her head, and ducked her gaze, as the waitress tucked her bill under the saucer.
She rose to leave, glancing at the newcomer. She avoided his eyes as she passed, but felt him graze her sleeve with his fingertips,
“Young lady? His life is over. Not yours. Get rid of that thing”
His gentle words propelled her out to the street and the tears came.