The Pyschiatrist Running Lane 12
by Karen Laven

    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
    tradition.
    (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..."






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