June 23, 2014
Greyhound Bus Station
Look at him…standing there frail and gray, my dad, 76-years old, and now that my mother has passed away, I wonder what will become of my old man? My dad once told me the Sun rose and set with mom…God! How does one deal with the loss of a spouse after 50 years of marriage? The loss of my mother is clearly a loss that cannot be weighed; I don’t know how dad will fare in the coming days and weeks without my mom.
I’m probably gonna have to take over the hardware store now… I guess, I’ll have to move here to Richmond and give up my job at The Home Depot in Baltimore.
Dad probably never made more than $35,000 in one year the whole time he and mom owned the hardware store.
Poor dad, still driving that 74′ Volvo: I swear! It’s expensive being poor.
I remember when dad first when dad first bought that car, it was in 1980 the year I joined the Marines.
Look at him standing there… waiting for my bus to leave…I remember my first day of school.
I was maybe four or five years old when dad took me to school for the first time.
I started to cry and rant and dad bent down on one knee and he kissed me on the lip, then he pulled out a bag of
M & M candy and he told me Superman didn’t cry on his first day of school.
I stopped crying.
“GOOD AFTERNOON LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…THANK YOU FOR RIDING GREYHOUND.
WE WILL BE ARRIVING IN BALTIMORE AT 6:20 P.M.
NOW SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE RIDE…
AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR RIDING GREYHOUND.”
Now. What’s this?
What’s inside this envelope dad gave to me?
The old rascal! What the hell is this?
I loved your mother more than you could ever know…she is the only woman I ever loved.
Now that Alice is gone, I don’t expect to be here much longer.
Your mother made life wonderful and now, without her here I’ll be too lonely.
I hope God calls me soon, so I can be with Alice again.
I have enclosed a check made out to you for $3.5 million dollars.
On August 28th 1963 I met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it was a happenstance meeting.
I had gone to the big Civil Rights rally in D.C. where Dr. King gave his famous,
I HAVE A DREAM speech.
Well, I happened to be standing not too far away from Dr. King so as he passed by me I asked him if I could get a copy of the speech.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. smiled at me and he shook my hand and then, and then HE, HE, gave me the speech he had in his hands. Yes, I owned the original speech by Dr.King.
Over many years I have been offered over a million dollars for the speech.
Chris,son, I, I, just could never see myself selling the speech for money and I did not have the heart to part with it because it was a gift to me from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I sold the speech three days ago and so this check for $3.5 million dollars is yours.
Alice is no longer here and I really don’t need the money.
I sure do miss your mother.
Short fiction by Charles Micheaux