Where did they go to?
Mom and Dad. When they left here where did they go to?
All kinds of places. All over.
Well tell me. Is it some big secret?
They went to Ohio. Down around Youngstown. Dad got a job down there. Then he got fired from that one. Got another one in Mississippi. Tuepelo. Making parts for something. Some kind of gadget.
And the old man got fired from that job too?
Why are you so suddenly interested? Where have you been all this time?
Been around. Out West. Iowa. Nebraska. Got a job on a ranch in Oklahoma. I covered my tracks.
Don’t worry about it. I always keep one step ahead of them. It’s been a hero’s journey. Like the Iliad or something like that. Homer’s Odyssey.
Wouldn’t hurt you to have called a couple of times. Let the folks know where you were. Safe and stuff.
I left here a long time ago. When I left, I left. I turned my back on it all. Spent time in Chicago. Spent a long time there. Long enough to get a reputation.
What kind of reputation?
I did some things.
You’re too weak for it. Couldn’t stomach it. Found it in my best interest to leave. That’s when I really took off. Threw myself away. Took on a whole different life. Sometimes you have to do that. Forget where you come from. Cut yourself off. It’s in everybody’s best interest. No more communication. Comprende?
You had so much promise. Smart. What made you come back here?
Just wanted to see the old town one more time. The bar I used to sneak into when I was a kid. Movie house on Main Street where I got my first kiss. That old church we used to go to out on 30. The minister and the elders were screwing everything in the flock. Women. Young and old. A big lie. Still. Dad made us go there.
He didn’t know what was going on.
He knew. The old man was smart. He could sense bullshit.
What are you saying?
I just think the old man knew more than he let on. Didn’t say anything. Kept quiet. He always kept quiet. He’d put a stop to any rumors he heard. Said it wasn’t Christian like.
He was miserable. Gave up his belief in God. So have I for that matter. Said Christ was just a man. Told me this one night when he got drunk. Sitting right there in that chair. I was a kid. I think that’s when it started.
What started. What are you talking about? H
His downward spiral. Going from one job to the next. Quitting or getting fired. He stayed drunk most of the time. You just never knew it. Too young to see it. And mom just put up with it. ‘Cause she loved him. She loved him more than anything. Anything in the whole world. I’ll say this. She stuck with him.
So you come back here. Bad mouthing pop. Saying this and saying that. He had faults. We all have faults. But, you don’t have to point them out. It’s not Christian like. The old man was right about that.
Oh he was wise. He was. I’ll give him that. But, in the end. We’re all fools. All of us. Mississippi huh? That’s where they died?
No. They died here. Came back here to live off social security. He went first. She died a few months later. They never wanted to be apart.
They’re buried out on Paulding. A little place. Headstones right next to each other. Bought ’em for them.
You paid for it?
Somebody had to.
Sorry I didn’t contribute.
I didn’t expect you to.