Sock, Graduation, Football
I am an old man right now. I will be young again in a minute or two, just wait. There are times where I can see what I am becoming, when I remember who I am. But I lose them as quickly as the hound wolfs down his kibble when he’s been outside hunting all day. Just, gone in a second.
Losing memories, one at a time is like a punishment except I don’t remember to worry about it most of the time. I live with my daughter and her family; now I’m the child and she’s caring for me. Am I a burden? What about her life? I look down at my feet, confused. Where is my other sock?
“Barbara?” No answer. “Barbara! Where is my other sock?” I call to her, irritated. Stupid sock. Barbara pokes her head into the room and then nods.
“It’s in your hand Daddy,” she says quietly. “Here, can I help you?” she comes into the room, tossing our coats on the bed. I nod, by now she’s already down there reaching out. I hand her the stupid sock.
“Where are we going?” I ask for the third time. She pauses and looks up at me for a second. She does that a lot lately.
“To the store Daddy, we need some groceries. You always liked going to the store. Remember Mr. Dukes, the owner? You used to give me a nickel to buy candy with.” Barbara speaks with a soft and soothing voice while she gets me ready. It never fails to calm me. She gets my shoes and socks on then stands and reaches for our coats. “Alright then, let’s get!”
Instantly I’m thrown back in time, as I follow her out the door and get into the car. Did I used to say that? I did. I used to say that to her and the kids when they were growing up. We went to the commissary once a month and it was a real treat for the kids. Barbara buckles me in, I forgot to do it. Well honestly, these contraptions. You didn’t used to have to mess with these things and I don’t like it. I snap it off again when she isn’t looking.
Barbara stops at the end of the driveway and looks my way. She sighs and reaches over to do the buckle again. As soon as she looks forward, snap. I look straight ahead. My daughter scolds me as she reaches over again. When I move to hold it down we both laugh. Barbara wins, this time.
The next thing I know we are going past my old high school, the one I met my sweetheart at. It’s a terrible mess now. Windows are broken, weeds sprout from the playground. Trash blows in the yard and graffiti sprawls across the doors.
“Barbara, what happened to the Colton school?” I ask, horrified.
“Daddy that school closed twenty years ago. They moved the kids over to the new one they built on North Adams Street. No one goes here anymore.”
“Oh,” is all I can think to say. I went to that school when it was new. I was in the photography and yearbook club. There is a big auditorium where the old football field used to be. Didn’t we have our graduation there?
“Where do they play football games at?” I ask.
“Over on North Adams Street.” Barbara answers, grinning.
“Alright, Miss Smarty.” I pretend to slap the seat beside her. Within a few minutes we have arrived at the store. I unsnap the seat belt again and Barbara laughs.
“Go right ahead Daddy; you can unsnap it all you want now.” She comes around and straightens my shirt.
“Have you got my pocketbook?” I ask and she nods. I don’t always remember what to call my wallet. I turn and look, the store is different too. No, that’s right they built a new one because the old one burned. Old Freddie Castor’s house burned too, back in ‘97. What a time that family had. I look at my daughter, with her coat and pocketbook.
“Barbara, where are we going?”