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Stands Alone

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He had been watching me from a balcony.

I had know Gene and Ellen Abrams most of my life

Gene was a friend of my father's.

" Did you see the Rams play last night?

Can I Borrow a wrench? Type of friend

Days walking home from high school -- my mother at

Chemotherapy. Crossing the coast highway, a short cut through

The Little Shrimp Bar. Dark, and stale with cigarettes -- kind men saying h


Out of bars back door, to my alleyway. A long row of garges, one of them

steps down to the front of our house

Her voice a whisper against the noise of the day.


motioning along with one hand, out of a small back door.

The invitation always for, Anderson's Split Pea Soup.

Ellen. and Gene Abrams, 'They, ' The childless couple'

My mother's empathy for all the unusual behavior.

Was due to Ellen's inability to have a child.

This revelation uttered in rare candid moment of Ellen's.

Only made possible by the visable fragility of my mother's deteration.

Ellen's dark brown eyes, averting all eye contact. Gene's

vacant initiations for a Sunday afternoon barbuque, never quite materialized.

Gene became owner of Ellen, and her childhood home by

default. Marriage - leaving Gene a scholar of sorts. No reason to work.

Conversations based on being the eyes and ears of the neighborhood.

As he reffered to himself. The faggot bars. Under his breath.

Most of Gene's normal vocabulary was not tolerated by my parents.

Gene was careful. Finding more alike minds, in others.

The Litttle Shrimp was for the elder man. The Boom Boom Room was

More the younger men.

I always felt peace in seeing the red neon sign of

The Boom Boom Room at the end of the alley way.

I loved it there, the safety.. Dancing with men, feeling safe.'

Our alley gave a safe place for couples to hold hands.

In the afternoons sitting in quiet of Gene and Ellen's home. The dark

wood furniture, the loud tick of the Grandfather clock, only illuminated

the houses silence. Ellen sitting quietly with me as I ate my soup, breaking

silence only to ask, " How is your soup Mayanne? Is it to hot? Would you

Like an ice cube?" All in the same breath. Never leaving time for a reply.

Not that I would have said anything, other than it was fine.

Ellen seemed to fragile, for any answer.

"Thank you, Mrs. Abrams for inviting me in, the soup was great."

The crackle

Of my chair against the hardwood floor, as I made my way to leave.

Right on cue, Gene always around but not s

Gene always around but never seen. Coming out of some unknown part of

the house. "Say Hello to your Father Maryanne"

" I will Sir "

No word mentioned of my mother.

My mother had been died a year to the day. No intent of making my to

School. I was finished in weeks. I had been held back for lost days - while my mother was sick. The principal found my attiude disrespectful.

Instead walking through steps of familiar places both our feet had

touched. Store fronts of where she'd browse.

When I was little, holding her hand.

Reapting step on crack break your Mother's back.

your mother's back. Pulling, tugging twisting her arm, as my

Saddlefoot shoes tried to avoid the unforgiving cement. Panic when

The impossible was not accomplished.

Entering into, The Sacred Place

The book store. Books. The familiar old wood floors. Smells..

As I ventured

up to the childrens section. Small wooden chairs, brightly painted in reds

The light pink chair, ladder back. Yellow and purple flowers, at the top and

seat, green leaves as vines, winding down the legs.

It now looked old chipped it faint outlines, I doubt

No longer fought over at story time.



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