Feb 22, 2013

I Wish

I Wish... by Finijo

I was 21 when I moved into my first apartment and attending college. My next door neighbor was a middle aged woman from West Virginia named Patty, and she looked after me like I was her own daughter. Patty and I would stay up late and watch Arsenio Hall or sit out on the balcony in our nightgowns and drink tea and eat the homemade chocolate chip cookies she made. Most days, Patty babysat her 8 year old grandson, Dave, and I began tutoring him when I found out that he could not read and did not even know the alphabet. When we started, he would fight me and say, "This is boring. You can't make me do this." I responded by making him run the stairs while his grandmother and I counted the laps he did. When I say I made him run the stairs, the truth is that Patty threatened to tell his grandfather when he got home if he didn't obey. Dave begrudgingly did what he was told. Pretty soon he knew the alphabet and after that he didn't have to run the stairs very often. A couple of years later, the family moved back to West Virginia and I have only seen Patty a few times over the last 20 or so years, but we talk on the phone and exchange letters and it always feels like we are back up on the balcony with our tea and no time has passed at all. I talked to Patty this past Christmas and Dave happened to be there, so we talked for the first time since he left Texas. He reminded me of all of the stairs I made him run and how he appreciated that I made him learn to read. It was strange to have this grown man telling me that I changed his life when he was a kid, but we talked about old times and had a good laugh.

Tonight I got a call from a mutual friend and my first instinct when I realized who was calling, was that Patty was either ill or she had died. I was wrong. Dave died of an overdose today. Two David's have passed out of my life in as many months leaving me feeling tired and sad.

1 comment:

sheetal jain said...
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