Saturday, January 7, 2012
twigs and branches
Elliot meant to call Asa everyday, but he never could. He was afraid, it would be this empty void. He didn't know what to say. Winter was setting in. It was just getting colder, and every muscle in his back and even his legs reminded him of what happened to him last winter.
Then he thought of what he'd put Amanda through. It was the past, but it was something he still could not shake, and he had to wonder..if...
"Well, he's coming to dinner." Penelope woke him up from his dreary thoughts.
"What? Who?" Elliot winced. There she was in the kitchen boiling potatoes. There was a roast in the crock pot that smelled delicious.
"Asa. We need to know if he's eating, or you know. ..You say, you're going to call, but you never do." Penelope shrugged.
"OK." Elliot didn't want to argue about it. He knew it was the right thing to do, but he was so tired and achy. So when the doorbell rang, he knew to get it.
Asa was all bundled up. It took a bit for him to unravel the warm clothing of mittens and earflap hat. Elliot thought Asa was looking old. But he didn't mention it.
"How's it going?" Elliot wanted to know.
"Its cold. Kind of fighting cold chills, but you know, I can't say if I'm really sick. Tired, I guess." Asa sighed.
Sam and Rachel were visiting her sister Ruthie so it was just the three of them. It felt so lonely, Elliot thought someone was missing.
"You did get your flu shot?" Elliot found himself asling. Asa nodded. "The house all right?"
"Well, its got its usual problems, but nothing thing major. Soon as it warms up, maybe I'll put in a new commode. That might help." Asa told him.
"We never did put those ceiling fans in." Elliot remembered. The fans were still boxed in the back of the garage. "I should help you put those in." Although, he couldn't think of getting in the attic himself and doing the job.
"Maybe Max and I can do it." Penelope offered as she brought in the pot roast. She set out the mashed potatoes and boiled carrots along with a boat of brown gravy. It looked really good, but he saw how Asa slowly filled his plate up and then stared at the food.
"I had no idea you knew anything about ceiling fans." Asa finally smiled.
"It can't be that hard. I had to put stuff together, all the time, when I was in the Army." She reminded both of them. "Besides, Max can put anything together." She smiled as if he was the best help around.
"If only I could say the same for Derrick." Asa shook his head.
"I guess he's having a hard time." Elliot imagined.
"I hardly ever see him anymore." Asa sighed. "I guess we have to deal with this, our own way. He's keeping busy with the Drama club." Asa was awful quiet then, as if he was somewhere else. Not here. "I just wish she'd taken a year off, after she had Pearl. I really thought Amanda would have." Asa caught his breath then. He heard Pearl crying from her room. Instantly, he went to her.
Elliot didn't get up. He let Asa have a moment with Pearl, alone.