He loved her long hair, straight red locks that draped over her shoulder, covered one breast, and graced her hips. He feared that one day she would come to want more from this world and that would spur her to cut off her beautiful mane, her crowning glory, and donate the tresses to a charity that provided wigs to women undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. He hated himself for being so selfish.


The Center Seat

Bensonhurst took his seat on the plane. Owing to his slight fear of flying, he did not wish to sit in a window seat where he might glance down at the rapidly falling or rising earth below, and owing to his slight problem with crowds, did not wish to sit in an aisle seat with all the bustle of people when they got on and off the plane. He was pleasantly surprised when he stowed his carryon bag containing a spare set of underwear in case his checked luggage did not arrive at his destination. Both accompanying seats were empty. Perhaps this would be a comfortable flight after all.

Alas, the flight attendant made an announcement that the flight was full and reminded everyone about proper baggage etiquette. It wasn’t long before the aisle seat next to him contained a matronly woman in her sixties who needed assistance in placing her bag in the overhead compartment. Bensonhurst, realizing the flight attendants were occupied elsewhere and that no one around him was in a position or disposition to render aid, offered his assistance and maneuvered the slightly too large bag into the slightly too small compartment, having to wedge it in sideways. He closed the compartment door to make sure it would latch and resumed his seat. The matronly woman thanked him profusely, insisting on placing her gloved hand on his arm to do so. Bensonhurst recoiled at the contact but the woman seemed not to notice and kept touching his arm as she explained all about why she was taking this trip to see her grand children and how wonderful they all were.

A few minutes more and the passenger holding the ticket for the window seat arrived. The large woman smiled politely and pointed to her seat. Bensonhurst and the matron untangled themselves from their seat belts and extricated themselves from their seats to make room. The large woman opened the closed baggage compartment and hoisted up her bag to place it in the filled space. After jostling the matron’s generous bag, and Bensonhurst’s regulation sized bag, the large woman jammed her bag in, but the door would no longer latch. A flight attendant came to see why they were blocking the aisle and defused the matter by grabbing one of the three bags to gate check. Bensonhurst’s bag. It would be waiting at their destination when they arrived. Before Bensonhurst had a chance to protest, the flight attendant slammed the overhead compartment closed and sped off toward the front of the plane, bag in tow.

The large woman sidled her way to her seat, raising the arm rest between her seat and the center seat to accommodate her liberal frame. Bensonhurst sighed and resumed his seat, but not before the matron asked if he could help retrieve something from her bag in the overhead compartment. A hair brush. Who needs a hair brush for a plane ride? As the brush is acquired, the flight attendant comes through to remind everyone to keep the aisles clear. After a bit more jostling the brush is successfully returned to the bag, the bag to the compartment, and the passengers to their respective seats. The matron profusely thanks Bensonhurst, along with insisting on patting his arm while doing so. Will this flight never end?

A safety announcement is made as the plane pushes away from the gate. The plane backs up about 20 feet and comes to a stop on the tarmac. The large woman begins fanning herself with the in-flight magazine. “Hot flashes!” she says to Bensonhurst. He is inundated with the scent of her floral perfume. His arm is pinned by the large woman, preventing him from opening the overhead air vent. The cabin is getting uncomfortably warm.

The voice of the pilot comes on the intercom. “Folks, you may have noticed we haven’t moved for a while. Seems we are having a slight mechanical problem with the air conditioning. Once we get a tow back to the gate, we’ll get a mechanic on board and get this fixed. We should only be delayed for a few minutes. My apologies for the delay and the lack of air.” The matron is babbling on about where she grew up for some reason. Bensonhurst does not recall asking her about anything. The large woman begins to burp as well. “Vitamin E!” she says.

In The Time Of The Perseid Meteor Shower

She laughs when I give her a hug, a nervous sort of ‘I can’t believe we still feel anything for each other’ giggle that escapes her throat the closer I get. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised after 30 years together, but her response always leaves a smile on my face even if she’s rather I not bother her too frequently. The seasons between us get longer, less fruitful, but things continue to cycle back around, eventually.

After The Funeral

resurrection lilies in mourning fog
leather elbow patches on my sweater
black tea steeping in a bone china cup
no need to hurry
no place to go

He stretches his way out of a dream, clears the sleep from his eyes. The room is still dark, sunrise hidden behind the promise of morning rains. He has plenty of time to putter, dabbling here and there on this and that, nothing of any consequence, just activity to keep himself active and engaged in the world around him. Today should be a good day. He deserves that much.

High Time

Herman, feeling his last days fast approaching, thought it was high time he saw something of the world, so they loaded up all his medical equipment in the van, set him up in the passenger seat so he could see, and off they went. Somewhere between Benson’s barn and the taxidermy shop he drifted off into sleep and never woke up. His family took him directly to the funeral  home.