Tickets To Gary, Indiana

Notes laid on the wooden desk. A candle, old bus tickets to Gary, Indiana, a coffee mug with a picture of an old Victorian house on it, some torn up Gatorade bottle with water in it, a small stone he held in his right palm during times of stress, all laying out on the desk in front of him. The old man examined each object.

The candle smelled of chocolate when it burned. A Mr. Goodbar to be exact. That was his father’s favorite candy bar. He used to keep stacks of them in the desk drawer. When he died the old man found three or four of the peanut filled chocolate a quarter way eaten. The yellow wrapper torn down the sides just a bit. He sat in his office all day long drawing blueprints and eating chocolate bars; as a kid and as a young man, the old man was never allowed in his father’s office. It was a secret place. The wife was never allowed in there either. There was a sign on the door that said, DO NOT DISTURB. And he meant it.

When the old man took over the house, he did not move an item from his dad’s office. He kept it just as it was when he died on that day back in 2017. The old man kept looking at the tickets to Gary. He wondered what there was in Gary. As far as he knew his father had no connection to Gary. But then he remembered a fight his parents had one night. The dad said he was going to be gone a few days. Said he’d be back the following week. Told her it was business. Funny thing, he never took the car on these business trips. Always took the Greyhound. At least that’s what all these old tickets said. And, why would he hold onto them?

The fight between the two parents went on till three in the morning. The mother cried most of the time. She was convinced he was having an affair. And, maybe he was. All these tickets to Gary, Indiana. The old man let em sit there. Didn’t touch them. He regarded them as holy; the last thing the father was looking at before he died. The last thing he touched.

In his will, there was nothing made out to anyone from Gary. Nothing was given away to anybody outside the family. The old man got the house and all that was in it. Being the only son and the mother dying years before, it seemed like the logical thing to do. And even though the house had four rooms in it, the old man spent all his days and nights in his dad’s office; eating Mr. Goodbars and looking over tickets to Gary, Indidana.

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