The train wailed into the night. And, he sat there, listening as other sounds came in from the neighborhood; a car radio playing a rap song, a wooden door being slammed, some woman’s voice calling out; there is no response.
It is quiet for a brief moment. A truck goes by. He listens as the sound of the train whistle blows again. Slowly, a car drives down the alley; brake lights blink every few feet. His coffee pot has piss stains in it and empty packages for cold medicine pile up on his desk. It’s the desk his father gave him; a man he barely knew.
And, he asked himself, why didn’t I know that man? Why didn’t I know that man who was my father? Was there talk? There was talk at times. Coffee was drank on the back porch. Sunday rides were taken. He bought me cheeseburgers at McDonald’s. There was talk. Specific communications about things, he stopped as another truck rolled down the street, shifting gears, getting louder; that sound too vanished into the night.
What did he know,? he asked about himself. He was a kid who followed pop around town. Quietly hiding behind bushes as dad made his way to his office. Watching the old man in the window of the town diner eating scrambled eggs and hash browns. Hanging out downtown at the fountain store waiting for him to leave each day and see where his path would take him. And, it always took him to the same place; a bar called Broadway Joe’s. I’d hide behind cars and see him sitting at the bar drinking . I’d watch him as he came out of the bar and stumbled a bit. Looked to see what decisions he would make. Past porno houses, paint stores, massage parlors, gas stations, insurance companies. What did I know,? he asked himself. What did I know?
The train whistle wailed some more. He listened. Looked outside his windows that faced the alley, looking down on St. Pat’s church. He said nothing. He said nothing.