She sat in the front room knitting a sweater while he watched Wheel Of Fortune. Both of them, sitting in their Lazy-Boys with old feet propped in the air as Vanna turned letters and Pat was wittier than ever.
Buy a vowel, the old man said. I said, buy a vowel you idiot, he took a sip from his iced tea.
He can’t hear you dear, she said. It does no good to yell at the television set. You think they can hear you?
Should’ve bought a vowel. That’s all I’m saying, a commercial came on, something about life insurance. The cat jumped up in his lap. He pet it. Stroked it’s tummy. It purred.
The sweater was almost done. Orange and blue were the colors. She was making it for their grandson who lived ‘cross town with his mother in a trailer park called, A Thousand Dreams, on the west side of the city.
You like it? she held it up for him to look at. He nodded his head. You think orange and blue go together? again, he nodded his head. Well, I just hope he likes it.
Come on spin that wheel, the old man cried out. Spin it, took another sip of iced tea. You got the address?
I bought him a ball glove. I wanna put that in there before you close the box.
The boy was almost seven now. Seven years. Long time since they’d seen their son, took off the night the baby was born. He was never one to face responsibility. Started at a young age. Never did what he was asked. Had a wild streak in him. Used to run away from home at the drop of a hat. Quicker than you could say leave. He’d be gone. Taking Greyhounds, hitchhiking, walking down the highway at two in the morning. Always left a note though. Told his parents he was leaving. Must’ve left a hundred times. Phone calls from New York, Chicago, Amarillo, Texas. He always would call late at night. And, he was always asking for money. Always.
Here, put this in there, the old man pulled out a twenty. Spend it on candy or pop. Whatever they spend it on, Grandma nodded her head.
Sure would be nice if we could see him. I’d like to watch him grow up. You think some day she’ll let us?, the old man just shook his head.
There’s a lot of hurting going on there. She’ll never forgive him. And, she don’t need us around to remind her, he turned the sound up on the tv.
They both nodded and watched as the contestant hit BANKRUPT.