Saturday, August 13, 2005

FFF #3: "I Promise"

"You thought I forgot, didn't you?” Roddy’s eyes sparkled as he grinned at me.

“Yeah. Hell, I forgot… well sort of… I guess it was… still in the back of my mind,” I said awkwardly as I sat down on the couch across from him. The last time I’d seen him he was in a hospital bed and practically at death’s door. But here he was, looking strong as an ox and cancer-free.

“You look good, Roddy. Healthy.”
“I feel good,” he beamed at me, “My new place is cool. Just up the way from your dad.”
“Yeah?”
“He misses you. Talks about you all the time. You should talk to him.”
“I dunno. It’s been so long. I wouldn’t know what to say.”
“Just say hello, Neecee. Just tell him you’re thinking about him.”

It was funny to hear Roddy use my childhood nickname like that. Something about his voice wrapped around the name just took me back. We talked for a long time. I pulled out my old photo albums and we went through them remembering and laughing. We talked about Malcolm, my husband; and Simon, my son and the namesake of my father. Simon was back in rehab and I didn’t know if he would stay clean this time either. Malcolm’s knee was mending slowly but it would be a while before he was back to work fulltime. My lousy job was our main income. Roddy listened to me vent. He was always good at that.

At one point I heard Malcolm yell up from the basement, “Denise, honey, who you talking to?”

“I’m on the phone, babe!” I hollered back not even flinching in the lie. I mean what was I supposed to say? I couldn’t very well tell him that I was pouring my heart out to my childhood sweetheart. Should I have said that the handsome man who shared all my secrets since kindergarten and from whom I’d gotten my first real kiss was sitting in our living room with me even though he wasn’t supposed to be there? I just don’t think that would have gone over well.

We talked a little more and then a clumsy silence fell over us.
“I’d better be going,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said.
I walked him to the door.
“Neecee?” he turned to look at me one last time, “Don’t worry about things so much, okay? Everything’s going to be alright. I promise.”
“You promise?” I said smiling.
“Hey, I kept this one, didn’t I?” that mischievous grin I knew so well flashed back at me
“Yeah. Yeah, you did.”

And then he was gone.

I picked up the photo album and stared down at a photo of us taken over forty years ago. His arm around my shoulder and mine around his; two ten-year-olds just goofing around. It was taken by my father just days before the accident. I remember after my dad’s funeral, Roddy and I sat on the back steps of my house and he’d put his arm around me as I cried for my father.

“Don’t cry Neecee. You’ll be together again in heaven,” he’d said softly.
“What if there’s no heaven?” I’d sobbed, “What if he’s gone forever? I’ll never see him again.”
“Look I tell you what,” Roddy said, “If I die before you, I’ll go see your dad and then I’ll find a way to come back and see you. That way you’ll know we’re both okay.”
“You promise?” I squeaked, though I hadn’t really thought it was possible, I’d just needed to believe it.
“I promise.”

***********

14 comments:

Girl With An Alibi said...

And I wave my magic wand... *zing*

anonymoron disappears...
TaaDAA!!!

Impulsivecompulsive said...

That was really sweet. Made me well up, course I'm sappy like that. (Wouldn't know it from my blog, though!)

yournamehere said...

I liked your story.

Let me guess. anonymous was either spam or someone talentless douche who can't create shit so he has to belittle those who do. Fuck the both of 'em.

Allow me to repeat...I liked your story.

Carly said...

I love it.

Sara said...

It made me well up too. I really loved it.

Brookelina said...

That was really beautiful. Wish I could think of something so moving to write.

Girl With An Alibi said...

Thank you one and all. (and yes, anonymous was selling cell phones so I zinged 'im)

The Moviequill said...

great contribution to the FFF

The real me said...

Excellent story!
I actually scrolled back up to the start to make sure I read correctly that his place was near her dad's. The end made me smile at the careful planning of the "twist".

JJ said...

That was very good, alibi. Definitely got me tight in the throat.

gone said...

That's good stuff, Alibi. I love "childhood friend" stuff. I think I'm a sap for it because I don't really have memories like that. I like this one very much.

Princess Steph said...

holy crap GWAA that was really lovely.

you have quite a talent young lady...

Matt said...

Wow, you honestly have "it". What is "it"? "It" is that whole indefinable talent thing. I want to be Ms. Alibi when I grow up. This is really terrific.

gone said...

You have a mighty talent for stories my friend. Great job, well written...it made me want to read more.