How Oswald Ruined His Day

Crickets sang in the dark. Pitch black. Just sound. Night time. No stars were out. It was a quarter moon. He could hear the rattle of old pipes in the basement. Tap water dripped. The old man turned the faucets tight. Looked in the mirror. New wrinkles had forged in his face. The thought of getting old.

He’d lost his wife a few years back. She died of heart complications. Didn’t take care of herself. Ate whatever she wanted. Never exercised. She’d just sit in her recliner all day watching soap operas. All My Children, the one with that Italian woman in it; that was her favorite. The mother of three also took naps all the time. Some said she was sleeping her sadness away. She would just get more depressed, then eat more, then watch more television; this was her life. He loved her more than anything.

They met on a blind date back in ’63. It was autumn in Dallas and the city was humming. Everyone was talking about the president coming to town. Crowds lined the streets. He was to pick her up that afternoon for a mid-day bowling party. Shined the Chevy up real good. Made sure there wasn’t a speck of dirt on it. He was so proud. Paid for it by working at a grocery store. It was all his. No one could take it away.

The young man was so nervous on his way to her house. They’d talked on the phone, but, never in person. A mutual friend set up the date. Decided they would double just to make things easier. The friends sat in the back seat with the windows open. Fresh air blew their hair. The radio was turned on. They sang along. He was shaking in his boots. Bought her flowers. Hoped she liked them.

And then, there she was. Wearing a pink dress with a dark tan. Looking back on it, the old man thought she looked Mexican, exotic. He nearly tripped over his wing-tip shoes. Presented her with the flowers. There was a stutter in his speech. He was far from smooth.

They drove through town talking and humming along to the radio when a news bulletin had come on the station. President Kennedy had been shot. Again, President Kennedy had just been shot. Silence. None of the kids said a word. Just a quiet drive back home. There was no kiss good-night. They hugged each other. The air got colder.

Crickets sang in the dark. Pitch black. Just sound. The old man made coffee and read the paper. Thought about his wife. Soon he’d be with her.

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