My dad's 56-year-old heart took a rest
and, lazy thing that it was, never resumed
running through the store
searching for "funeral" nylons
with my cranky kid in cart
I make it to check-out and
find I'm surrounded by boxes upon
boxes of chocolate covered
cherries. My throat wrings taut like
a wash rag ready to attack the dirty floor
and my lashes bleed Maybelline (brownish black) .
Dad tossed me a box of those horrific, waxy
things each and every Valentine's Day. It was
(That was the only thing he bought us on his OWN...
Mom purchased all the other stuff. )
My windpipe screams for Drano now as I recall my typical
response: "Yuck." He'd then watch me feed them
to Winifred, our hound, without saying a word--
what a bitch
I was suddenly 13 and 1/2 again...a 3 1/2 year old
squeals me back to stark, flourescent reality.
The being in the blue smock sees my facial waterfall of black--
she knows--but blessedly, she pretends she doesn't.
She giggles at my tyrant
and almost miraculously, I hear him echo it.
A pink-chipped manicured hand reaches across the
counter and tousles my father's grandchild's
sunny hair and then with a kind smile she pats
his daughter's shaking arm...as she rings up my nylon's I
realize I can breathe once again and
instinctively plunk a box of chocolate covered cherries
on the counter (to the tyrant's delight).
Driving home, little one rips open the box and stuffs
one of the perfect orbs into his malleable mouth.
A soft "Phomp!" ensues, and I see
a brown clump adhered to the dashboard
drooling teeny cherry-red droplets onto the floor
"Matt!" I squeal, grinning. "Get used to it, buddy.
Tradition will not die..."