It was cold. The gunmetal sky looked like clouds and been finger smudges and the clouds moved quickly from eight to left. A seamist green panel filled my vision and I backed my scooter away so the extending ramp wouldn’t rest on my lap. After a maneuver or two I rolled inside the van and my wife attended to my tie downs with the precision of the Thunderbirds ground crew. I nestled myself into the passenger seat and my wife put us in gear and took off. “So, that was depressing.” she said.
“Well, it couldn’t last forever.”
“At least he didn’t say six months like the last prognosis’ did. ”
“Well, I think they’re a bit gun shy after me sticking around for six years instead of six months. Had to be embarrassing.”
I think the next estimate they make will be to pronounce you.”
“Heh, you’re probably right. There’s still tricks in the bag so I’m not giving up. just wish I wasn’t flat on my back. ” I sighed.
“That was a nice letter you got from Frank.” said my wife. “Yeah, well Frank is a special guy. Both of us have gone to great lengths to find each other after separation.”
“Yeah, you transferred from the riggers in Vietnam into the infantry and he spent years seeking you till he found you through twitter.”
“He and I had some very similar family dynamics and we just clicked. Plus, the army helped by assigning each other to the same schools and the same time. It’s like it was written or something.”
“how come you like him so much?” asked my wife.”
How come you like me so much?”
“Well, that’s different. We’re mates.”
“Well, except for sex, so are Frank and I. He’s good people and I get something from him. A sense of peace kinda. Just knowing he’s out there makes me feel like something is right with the world. Plus that, you fight next to someone you literally put your life in their hands. People can imagine what that’s like, but they can’t get it till they’ve done it.. When on top of that, you know you can talk to that person about how you feel about it -more so than other guys you fight with- and there’s no judgement, just understanding, it’s the closes you can get to someone.”
“I think I get that.”
I just looked at her out of the side of my eye. There’s no way in hell she could know. It’s an experience only club. Takes the right situation, right people, right relationship and an unflagging trust. More than that, it takes things that can’t be expressed.
“Maybe you can see Frank sometime.” my wife said, questioningly.
“Well, cancer aside, I’d like that. But as a one on one kind of thing. Him and me uninterested in the beer in front of us talking and firming the connection.”
“You don’t want me to meet him?”
“I didn’t say that. But Frank and I have a friendship that transcends all that. Like, I fell into the pit and started sending him gifts on his birthday and Christmas and he asked me to cut it out.”
“Hurt your feelings?”
“No, I realized that if I was walking around and saw something that was just Frank all over, get it and send it along. But let’s not spoil the special nature by making holidays a chore or competition or something. He was dead right. I cut it out feeling a bit embarrassed that I’d lost sight.”
“I don’t get it.” said Karen.
“Exactly.” I replied. It’s very special and very fragile. See, I can tell Frank how scared I am and he take it in with no judgement or petty sayings. He’s keeping it for me like I’m keeping a few of his things.”
“So, when do you talk about them?”
“You don’t. It’s just a weight we tote for the other. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“That sounds, I don’t know, kind of precious.”
“It is, because Frank is. He’d say something similar I think.”
“We’re passing Caruso’s, you wanna get a meatball sandwich for dinner?”