The Big Bay Window

He kept waiting for his dad to come home,

to walk down the street, 144th Street to be

exact. Actually, his dad had never done that be-

fore to the best of his memory. His dad drove

just about every where, but for some reason,

the seventeen-year-old, senior in high school,

stood in the living room staring blankly out the big,

bay window expecting, hoping, desiring, crying

out in a stone, cold, silent way to see his dad,

his dad walking

home.  His dad didn’t do that, nor did his dad do it

when the son slept dreaming that his dad would walk

down 144th street on the man’s way home.

His dad didn’t walk down the street and he didn’t come

home, the dad’s home, the son’s home, their home.  His dad

wouldn’t ever again sit in the chair by that big, bay window

smoking his Chesterfield non-filter cigarettes pulling

deeply on a draw and exhaling with utter satisfaction

while he told his son never ever to start the filthy habit.

His dad would never again lie down on the

couch under the big, bay window with pains shooting

down his arms, saying to his son when he walked in

the room after school one day that he needed to be driven

ASAP to the hospital because his dad really wasn’t

feeling very well at all and the boy knew that it must be

pretty serious. His dad came home from the hospital two

weeks later in a really weakened state after the son

had visited him only twice during that time because

it was the boy’s senior year and he was really busy

with which whatever it is that seniors in high school

are busy, not to mention never ending a sentence

with a dangling participle no matter how awkward

it makes the sentence his teachers had always told

him. His father lived another year but didn’t work

much and every penny that his father made from his

work came in to keep things going and if he didn’t

work, it didn’t come in and it weighed  heavily on his

dad’s mind, ever so heavily and the boy knew it.  So

one evening when his dad was feeling up to it, he

left the house to make house calls to sell head stones

to those who had recently lost loved ones or to put it

more bluntly, who had loved ones die. The son was

napping on the couch and his father’s words  as

he walked out the door were that the boy shouldn’t

sleep the evening away and that he should get up and

do his homework.  Next thing the boy knew the phone

was ringing and it was a call from the police station that

his dad had stepped in front of a train and had been killed.

The son thought the officer actually said that his dad had killed

himself.  The boy said it was a joke. The police officer officiously

said no. The boy called his married sister and they picked up

their mom from her work as a sales person in a women’s dress

shop. They went to view the body, that is, his brother-in-law, his

sister’s husband actually viewed the remains and said he

would never, ever speak of it again. And so, for a long time

the son stood looking out of that big, bay window for his dad

to walk down 144th Street, and then after the house

was sold and he and his mom moved and then moved

and moved again, of course, the son couldn’t look out

the big, bay window waiting for his dad to come home,

but he couldn’t stop dreaming that he was standing in

front of that window watching and waiting for his dad

to come home.  Through college, graduate school,

marriage, birth of his son and daughter and mov-

ing to another state, and then one day he realized

that he didn’t dream that dream any more and that

he just remembered being a seventeen-year-old wait-

ing for his dad to come home.

1 thought on “The Big Bay Window

  1. The third person account feels very different, and I like it – it seems, as I read it, more powerful, because I don’t know who it’s about … so it’s about all kinds of people, and maybe even me, in some respects. It’s a bigger bay window, I suppose … very powerful … yet so gentle.

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