88 degrees, Humidity 92%
It was Tuesday, the end of August and muggier than hell. Everything steamed. I had taken my gun from the holster on my right hip and put it in the top right drawer of my desk, and rocked back in my swivel chair daydreaming, my fingers laced behind my head, my stockinged feet propped on the sill of my office window. The louvered blinds, the narrow, ivory colored plastic kind, were up. A broken yardstick held the bottom sash open, allowing in the street sounds and the stale smells of late summer. It was the kind of August day Mo would have loved. She would be in shorts, halter-top and floppy cotton hat, weeding her garden, or maybe pruning her roses, her tanned skin glistening with perspiration.
She’s been gone nearly two years. Actually, one year and ten months to the day. Seems impossible. The deep-throated rise and fall of a siren of a fire apparatus came lethargically through the window on the heavy, damp air, growing louder with blasts of air horn as it crossed Division, then faded down Seventh Avenue.
When you’re young, it seems the days, months, years just crawl by. For some time now, it seems the days flash past so fast that every evening I have to stop and think, where the hell did the day go? If I’d broached this with Mo, she’d have said it was because I hadn’t created any memorable memories. She was probably right. She was all about living life.
I sat quietly in the sound of the street traffic and the fading siren, with Mo as heavy in my thoughts as the sodden air. One would think I’d remember her last words, or at least the last conversation we’d had before she died. There had been words, but as hard as I try I can’t seem to bring them to mind. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism. I can see her though. As emaciated and dwindling as she was, she was still beautiful. But it’s those damn other words I remember. I can’t seem to get them out of my mind. It was a late June evening. We were in the hospice atrium watching the sunset on one of her better days, when she was exceptionally lucid, between the morphine drips and the pain. “Law enforcement can’t be a reason for being, Darling, find your reason and live it,” she had said.
We’d had conversations like this before. She understood these things. I didn’t know anything else. I’d been a cop for thirty-two years. I needed more straight-forward concepts. But the words still haunt me.
- Ross Tarry, November 2011
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