02 November 2012

The Widow

The war in Vietnam was always reaching out and poking me. Growing up, I'm amazed at how I was able to deal with it. It's like dancing -- you don't know the music has changed or you just ignore it.

She was the widow of an Air Force pilot and had two small children. Six and eight or something like that. Her home was a small three bedroom ranch and I babysat nights she'd go to the Langley Officer's Club. She and a major -- they always seemed to be majors -- would get home around midnight.

I remember she looked like Paula Prentiss and I thought she was beautiful. She wore silk scarves tied over head and her smile was big like her laugh. I was a frustrated 15 and rounding 2nd base with a very Christian, and consequently reluctant, girlfriend. I'd see their headlights pull into the driveway, turn off the television, sit up straight and pick up a magazine.

They would come in laughing - sometimes still smoking - Larks or whatever it was they smoked. I'd feign surprise and toss my magazine on a mahogany coffee table. Never sure what to do or say. She'd check on her kids while the major tried to shoot the shit with me. I couldn't talk. I couldn't listen. I couldn't do anything. I was a fucking wreck and I knew why.

I'd take my babysitting money from her and run like the wind. If only I knew then what I know now. I'd have stayed for hours throwing a cock block at the major while letting her know that I was head over heels about her.