Archive for November 8, 2013




8 November 2013

I had to wait in line to speak with Chuck. He was deep in conversation With a woman who seemed to know him well. I heard her say, “Good bye, Chuck, it was nice seeing you again. I’ll say hello to Debbie for you. Take care.”

“Good morning,  Chuck, any plans for the weekend?

“No, not really. Well, tomorrow I go to Orléans for a haircut.”

“That’s a long way to go.”

“I used to live in Orléans. I have a friend who has a barber shop. He has seven chairs and on Saturday he rents the chairs to hairdressing students. For nine dollars I  get a shampoo,  scalp massage and haircut, perhaps,  from a beautiful young woman. I can always hope. There’s also a restaurant on St. Joseph Boulevard, owned by a friend or mine. I go there when I know it wont be busy. I pour my own coffee,  go in the back and all the waitresses fuss over me.

“Something sad happened this morning. There’s a woman I see regularly. She always stops to chat. I told her this would be my last day for a while, because of the cold and the snow. It’s really difficult maneuvering this wheelchair when there are ruts of ice and drifts of snow. She touched my arm and said, ‘Chuck, you know I love you and I’ll miss you.’ I sort of knew that she had feelings for me. She’d always stand close and touch me.  I said, ‘I love you too.’ because I do. There’s nothing much I can do about it. She’s married. It’s nice though, that she said that.

“There was another woman who loved me. People thought that I took advantage of her.  One time she was getting all flustered with the bank machine and asked me to help, which I did, but I never took as much as a penny from her. It made me mad to think that people thought I would take advantage of someone.

“A woman was here this morning. I recognized her face, but I couldn’t place her. She kept mentioning someone named Debbie, as if I should know her. I don’t know any Debbie… Oh, wait, there was this woman who worked across the street at the library. We used to see each other, but nobody else knew about it.  We saw each other for about three years. There was a woman in Debbie’s office, who she didn’t like. This woman would slip me five bucks every so often. She never said anything, but I think it was so I could take Debbie out for pizza, or something nice.

“See that woman across the street with the long legs and tight pants. This is a time when I wish I was forty years younger. I may be stuck in a wheel chair, but my important parts still work. Sometimes, I wish I was sixteen, knowing what I know now. I’d never take that first cigarette, or that first drink. My life would be a lot different now. Everybody has regrets. If they say they don’t, they’re a damned liar.”

“I’d better go to work now, Chuck. Perhaps I’ll see you around. Take care.”

“You too. I’ll be downtown for a pizza, now and then. I’ll be stopping by to talk to Joy. Maybe I’ll see you there.”