Monday, January 10, 2011

The Banker's Husband (a short story)

The Banker’s Husband
((A Heavy Mysterious Silence) (based on fact, 1989))

Forty years. Well, he had bought a new car and a small, but comfortable live-in mobile home—one you pulled from place to place—an expensive house on wheels.
He was well clad, a rather well built man for his age—retirement age, sixty-seven, a fine looking well preserved man, not too heavy or too thin. He lived in the Midwestern city of St. Paul, Minnesota, his wife Dorothy worked for Midway National Bank, she was fifty-seven now, and she had returned back to work after having quite her job to go on an extended trip throughout the United States, with her now retired husband, Art, they had planned it for years on end.

When Dorothy had left the bank, she had intentions of sending back Post Cards of all the places they intended to visit, but after several weeks, folks waiting at the bank for those Post Cards to come in—they never came, so with less frequency, and anticipation, we all gave up waiting. We had asked ourselves in the bank lunch room ‘They must be really busy, far away, perhaps in California, or in the Rocky Mountains with that trailer house, just taking it easy. They sure waited long enough to go, saving all those nickels and dimes all those years, can’t blame them for not writing, let them enjoy their retirement.’
Outside the bank, on the main street, on University Avenue, a business street for the most part, of this conservative city, people was walking about. The summer sun was warm overhead. Although Dorothy’s husband, Art, had lived all his life in the city of St. Paul, he had always kept a dream alive, a desire to travel throughout the country—all these forty-years, or so. He dreamed about crossing many bridges, running down though valleys, and seeing the white and red farm houses out in the countryside, and the oceans to the east and west coasts, and the Grand Canyon, and the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Empire State Building, in New York City, and so on and so forth.

The Countryside was now in bloom, and along the fences of the city one could see boys and girls playing in their yards, and swimming at the many lakes. Outside of the city wheat was about to be cut, and the corn was shoulder-high. The bees were buzzing everywhere, but for Dorothy there was only a heavy mysterious silence.

He stood in the moon’s light in his backyard before the door of his trailer house. He and his wife Dorothy were to start their trip in the morning, their journey circling the United States. No voices were heard, although the highlight off the mobile home shone; the car in front of it, very clean, hardly driven. He seemed very alive and excited.
“I come outside saw Art standing there by the trailer, and without being asked for the key, he opened the door, as if he wanted to step inside –evidently I had forgot to lock it or he had the key—‘Are you alright; everything is ready for tomorrow, we even got the tank full of gas,’ I assured Art, who at the time had climbed up the two step wooden stairway, and entered the trailer. How silent the night seemed, and friendly the trailer appeared. Art was one who would surely have enjoyed driving slowly throughout the country, into and through and out again the cities of America.
“I knew Art was driving through those stretched out dreams, those dotted farms alongside the highways, as I stood there in the darkness of the night, but he did not stop at the doorway, he went and sat down on the small sofa, we had in the trailer. He hungered to get onto the road—going anywhichway, ‘I’ll let him dream,’ I thought, ‘Lord! I’ll just let him dream, have his fun!’ And then he closed his eyes, and just like that, took his last breath.”

No: 696 (1-9-2011)