The Happy Belated

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“PUNETA!”    hollered the void become of a night mixing recollection of his children with the drink.    Then through the void, falling between his fingers wrapping his face;  reverb of a dripping sniffle.  Cupped in his hands, again;;  alone in the pork reeking breath of  those murmuring walls;;  New Years Eve…

_

He had tripped a mess a million times before and if his reaction were any different this time, you couldn’t tell by the ruckus of it; although if there were anything ‘Ando wouuuld make more sense out of than anyone else, it’s that you don’t throw the 40 oz in your hand to spite the one at your feet!    If you knew the man like he knew himself, something was definitely off about the absence of so much as a flinch toward attempting to salvage something from the bottle propelling across the floor.

_

There wasn’t a concern in the moment.  There wasn’t a thought present to the space.  All he could see, sunken over, were the audible flashes of his eldest, his middle, and his youngest child as they brought him back to reliving an ache which had continued to tear, ever since the day he walked away.

_   _   _   _   _   _   _                                     …                                     _   _   _   _   _   _   _  _

Around the same hour just the year prior he had sat contrastingly placid with his eyes glazing evermore distant over the television, with every minute pulled closer to midnight.  Of course, wonder about the kids took his mind the same, however the years stretched-about time to be redeemed and the time being,  had for some time lent itself to  impassivity.   Interrupted by the fateful phone call he received from an unrecognizable voice that night,  monotony was to be aroused to a hopeful gratitude, upon receiving pause, followed up by a name:

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“It’s Junior…”

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‘Ando always hated hearing back the sound of his own voice; to him it whined the tail end of each word with the most wretched intonation.   But hearing his Junior behind it was sweets to his heart.  Unexpected as it was, the senior did his best to keep a composed throat as his sinuses began to well up with the probability of tears.  Which would have in and of itself had no affect on the conversation if not for the tension-to-rush waiting at goodbye.

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Receiving the call was good enough to make his day, his year; albeit shameful in his  attempt at making it to the call’s finish without having to tread through request for explanation as to why he cut out.  And he was nowheres capable of ranging outside the discomfort enough to realize how so too had his son approached, a nervous wreck;  a grown up man struggling to rise to a stand above his childhood, to be strong for himself.

_   _   _   _   _   _   _                                     …                                     _   _   _   _   _   _   _  _

It was the 360th countless day ‘Ando had counted without hearing from them again; like a dying sunflower the calendar’s arc  sloping heavy, twice finished, yet this time pending on the angst blossomed of a new hope gone withered, yet hopeful.   The moon, the mood, the motion and the music, anticipation then cynicism, doubt, resentment;  it all came up, it all came down with the Times Square ball popping in a sea of pandemonium.   Puddles  of shattered glass and a shirt collar wiped wet off his beard; the brisk winter air seeping cold as his blood, through two holes the wall hadn’t pocked into itself.

_

Finally, he hunted down that number; turning dresser draws inside out and shaking books upside down.   He had had no clue where it was until finally Ando turned up the momento on which he recorded Junior’s digits that day, after chatting up a call that switched hands between each of his dear sources of grief; his seeds, flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone.  It was meticulously scribed on  the back of a photo of all three, smiling shoulder by shoulder on a day none of ’em had ever lost from picturesque memories of weekends with dad.

_

Up he held the flick, quivering in his fingertips, elevated to meet eye level.  …Coney Island

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Then, down he placed it back, (from an arm gone tired up at his magnetized point of contemplation), covering  it back over with the heap of mail, notes, receipts, and other miscellaneous nicknacks he was ever relieved to find it under;..wiping the tears and smile off his face, before placing a pensive moment far out on the horizon of a daydream;

then straggling off for another beer.

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– Tr

 

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