Mister Boston in New Hampshire
She was about thirty, and naked except for a pleated skirt, green blouse, shoes, and a scarf knotted around her throat. I reached out to take her hand when the alarm sounded and she disappeared before I could see her face. Later that morning, Myra and I, Jet Blued from Ft. Lauderdale to Boston on a nonstop flight that had friendly service and plush leather seats. I loved the ease of it all and doubted if the margaritas before the flight deserved all the credit. A young male singer sitting next to Myra was returning from his first album tour and his chatter helped the margaritas make the difference between gloom-in-flight and smiles all the way. I sat back, closed my eyes and tried to find the woman in the pleated skirt. In some respect I thought her clothes were familiar. Perhaps it was an outfit Myra once wore in the early days of our marriage. Their body forms were shaped onto similar skeletons; small boned, pleasingly proportioned with perfect posture.
In Boston our luggage was among the very first to hit the carousel and that prevented thoughts of lost bags from entering our minds. Our luck kept hitting sevens when the Enterprise rental bus pulled over as we approached the waiting area. Whoop-de-do and off we went towards our meeting-up in North Conway, New Hampshire with Carol and Ralph for our week of fun together. The only difficulty was with my eyes that in recent months had been losing their acuity and prevented me from reading the map, seeing words on road signs, or safely following the twisting road into a strong setting sun. While trying to drive onto I-93, Myra became the all seeing-eye for both of us. The absurdity of her directing the car as I drove reminded her of a story about two sisters. One was blind and she’s the driver. The other sister can’t drive; she directs the sightless one as they travel by car at night along unfamiliar highways. After my own almost sightless drive I believe it was a true story, although Myra denies it. One hour after turning off the interstate we stopped at a third rate motel on a narrow side road that charged first rate fees. It was the initial and only one either of us had seen. I missed my old eyes, the ones that saw everything at a glance.
One day, my travel journal, had an accident when a cup of coffee spilled over it mangling the notes I entered describing the third and fourth days of our vacation. Four pages of black, gel- ink sentences morphed into pictures of Rorschach images. It happened one morning when I took advantage of the condo's free coffee, freshly brewed in the mild flavor I prefer and served in the reading lounge. With pen in one hand and coffee in the other I began writing a few emotional impressions that had occurred between the four of us during a heated battle of Mexican Train dominos. As I lifted my cup a voice blasted out in a thick Boston accent, “No need for one of your looks, thank you.” The loud sound of a foreign language assaulted me, then startled me, as my mind tried to grasp the meaning of the words causing my hand to involuntarily jerk the cup down onto the edge of my journal spilling the content and creating the pages of psychological testing paraphernalia.
Mr. Boston, with hardly a glance my way, continued talking as he took himself a cup of brew saying, “My dad won fifty grand and my winning ticket paid one-hundred-fifty-thousand. Both tickets were bought right here in North Conway. I renovated my house and that took all of it.”
I used a handkerchief to blot away at the spreading liquid as I looked over the stranger whose presence filled the huge room beyond its capacity. His tall figure was topped with a scattering of hair and a loosely fitting white T-shirt covered a slight mid-drift bulge that hung out of his well worn trousers.
His words began to make sense as I gave him one of those looks he complained about and asked, “Know a good place for breakfast?” I knew it had nothing to do with what was going on and yet it seemed to fit, as if the conversation was taking place between inmates of an asylum. As he turned to face me, talking about where I could eat, and what they served, and how much they charged, I got a good look at his face. Mr. Boston held a laugh in each eye; they seemed to shine with amusement even as his mouth turned down at the edges. When he smiled, which was often, a dark space blackened both sides of his two upper front teeth and I could glimpse his wet tongue jiggling about inside his mouth. It was easy to imagine how he lost them; more importantly those spaces made me wonder about his winning ticket talk. I couldn’t imagine a person with so much money not repairing his smile. Then I remembered the blind sisters driving across the country and conceded anything is possible including having money and rotting teeth. I gathered my stained journal, wet handkerchief and left while Mr. Boston was happily telling a Johnny Carson joke to my empty seat. A strong feeling that we were to meet again before our stay ended remained with me.
The following morning I was enjoying my coffee in the Forest Glen Condo lounge when in trotted Mr. Boston. He greeted me with a wave of his hand and a winking laugh that exposed his two lonely front teeth. I asked if the breakfast place he recommended the other day had an eat-at-counter. “No.” he quickly replied. “You have to eat in the parking lot standing up and not sitting in your car.”
Not to be outdone by his quick wit I said, “I can’t stand in my car. But I once had a convertible where I could have stood up while eating.” Before he could react I asked, “Is that the place where everyone eats off the hood of their car without their clothes on?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t go there,” he said. “The food is awful. And they provide only one small paper napkin per person. Please,” he said as if pleading with an idiot, who was what I felt like, “go to Banners as I told you the other day.” He looked down at me with a rabbit tooth grin; both thumbs stuck into his belt and said, “You know, I like you.”
“I like you too,” I said and I meant it. “Do you know how long the flag must fly at half mast for President Reagan?”
“I didn’t vote for him, me being a union man and all. I wish I knew the answer, I love being an expert.” His voice was a melodious baritone hushed with silky higher frequencies. He looked good too, wearing a short-sleeved white shirt, a Boston Red Socks’ baseball cap, and clean blue sneakers.
“See you.” I called out as I left the room.
Oct 4, 2009 2:53:32 pmby myrrhluz Homepage »
Very nice! You have a terrific ability to describe events that bring them into the mind of the reader and to connect with common experiences. I don't think my luggage has ever come out before I had a chance for at least a slight nagging doubt as to whether I'd ever see them again. Loved your opening sentence of the lady naked except for all the clothes she had on. Your descriptions of Mr. Boston, his effect on you and your conversations were entertaining and thought provoking as well. Looking forward to your next posting!