The old men, they want me to call them. They always want me to call them; leave me messages like:
“Hi...”, the impudent, drawn out croon of, “It’s Kerry.”
Kerry is an old man, a particular one, the friend of Craig. Craig is deceased a month now. I cried with his dear wife in front of the kitchen and held her in the most genuine embrace I’ve often given.
“I was just thinking about– you know I like you. I’d love to take you out sometime if you’d let me. Call me back.”
It sounds like the end of a message but he’ll Kerry on, indulging in his own voice with too too compliments for me. It should have been Kerry. But instead, Craig up and offed; ruby, ruddy, healthy faced, and gone, now.
But Kerry, has been three years limping on a borrowed heart and bad hip. It was massive surgery and eight weeks of an onerous recovery, to fix that hip. It should have been Kerry, and sometimes when he calls, I wonder if he thinks so too.
Kerry comes to visit, sometimes alone. He wants to hold me; long hugs, his hand on my back as long as we talk about solar panels. We talk about the fanatical heat of Saudi Arabia. We talk about me. I smile too much.
Sometimes he visits with his girlfriends, one at a time. They are always lovely, above fifty, and invariably spinsters. He glances patiently between them and me, dividing his attention so evenly, like my grandfather made sure every cousin got exactly the same number of crisp one dollar bills.
One of his girlfriends, Kathy, she was hit by the heavy metals and arsenic that overtook the Animas; stained it sickly pumpkin and jaundiced last week. They say the well water is unfit and no one knows when it won’t be. So Kerry, he gets her down to Albuquerque; to shower in his generous, recently renovated bathroom. She drinks slow glasses of highly chlorinated water and won’t let him touch her until the sun goes down.
I really do, just worry about Kerry’s secondhand heart.