Poindexter lived alone. His redwood cabin stood like a forgotten tombstone about a mile from route 66. He lived in Saints Town, an insignificant place on the outskirts of Los Lunas (New Mexico). He had lived there for the last 30 years. Today was his 30th birthday.
He kicked off his old leather boots and dropped into his fathers old easy chair. He looked long at the phone before resting his eyes on his boots. They had a dust skin and creases so deep they forced the brown leather into a permanent smile. The circle slider on the boot zips reminded him of the discus circle in the county athletic field. He had broken the county record for under 16’s on his third throw and had gained a position in the Nationals.
Suddenly, the telephone rang and he picked up the receiver like an outlaw drawing his gun in a western movie. “Lucy?”
“Dad? Happy birthday to you, happy” the song sung down the phone etched a broad smile on Poindexters face. Lucy then proceeded to tell her daddy all about school and about her piano lessons. She told him about mummy’s running on the beach. And later, she whispered the words she spoke in her prayers. Only he knew these words.
She told him about Franks room in the attic and how ‘she must never go in there’ but wouldn’t want to anyway. And she told him she missed him. That was always the hardest part of their weekly conversations. She always cried as she said it and he always felt like he was falling into a well that had no bottom.
But he would bring his forefinger and thumb up to his eyes as if trying to remember something critical. He’d then say something like “baby, I’ll see you in a couple of weeks!” Or “I was talking to Jody about getting a computer, I think he’s got one for me so we can Skype!” But Lucy didn’t really believe this anymore, so he’d stopped saying it. Instead, he talked about fixing his motorcycle and taking her for a ride on it someday. She loved this idea.
Poindexter stared at his boots after the call and listened to the constant groan of traffic on the distant highway.
Photo by @rachelrmk (IG)