Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ain't No Sunshine

Rain. Tip-tap. Tip-tap. Tip-... The water dripped in a rhythmic cadence into a small pool of collected water where the drain pipe from the roof over the breakfast nook was broken.

The pipe was damaged when the kid next door cut her grass last summer. He was fifteen then and was new at the grass cutting business. The self propelled Lawn Boy had gotten away from him as he was adjusting his iPod. Bam, she heard, as the mower careened off of the foundation of the house. Kids.

The nook itself was a 6 foot extension off the back of the kitchen. Max had extended the footing of the house to add on the 6x12 nook. Adelaide always wanted a nook and it was Max who gave it to her. In fact, the nook was Max's last project and his last gift. Before he went gay. That's the way Adelaide said it, "Max went gay."

Addie kinda looked at Max's outing like a tomato turning from green to red. Green=straight and Red= gay. Indeed. Max was like a tomato, he merely changed colors. Sometimes when a catastrophe occurs a person compartmentalizes and rationalizes in order to make it possible to continue living. That's what Adelaide did, she compartmentalized and rationalized.

There was never any sign, no indication that Max lived a life of torment. At least that's Addie's story. She told Father Peter that Max was always a "man", as if a gay man isn't a man. Silly stereotypes. Peter Brusconi was an Episcopal priest, who helped lead the flock at St. Callista's. He did his best counseling Addie, but he was having his own private hell. Peter was still in the closet and in an odd way he looked at Max through Addie's eyes hoping to find his own redemption. The counselor was, in essence, being counseled by the supplicant.

It had been raining for hours and the back yard was flooding up. The most rearward part of the yard was the low point and water collected, when it rained more than an inch or so. Sometimes the "pond" got so big that fish could move in. At least that's what Max and Addie used to say when they drank coffee and ate sticky buns at the nook table. Ah, they were the days. As Addie sits alone, staring at the collected water, she thinks of those sticky buns. Sweet they were.

Knuckie Carlisle's head filled the screen, her mouth was moving, her teeth, a credit to her orthodontist. If Addie had the volume up, she would have heard the meteorologist say the rain was going to stop by midday. Blue skies and plenty of sun were coming. The de facto widow wanted no part of good news, so it was just as well she couldn't hear Knuckie. "Ain't No Sunshine", a song written and sung by Bill Withers (released 1971) could be the Addie national anthem. Withers wrote the song after being inspired by the 1962 movie, Days of Wine and Roses.

The movie had to do with two alcoholics, not gays, but if the shoe fits... The lyrics,

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.
It's not warm when she's away.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And she's always gone too long anytime she goes away.

Wonder this time where she's gone,
Wonder if she's gone to stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And this house just ain't no home anytime she goes away.

And I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know

Hey, I ought to leave the young thing alone,
But ain't no sunshine when she's gone, only darkness everyday.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone,
And this house just ain't no home anytime she goes away.

Anytime she goes away.
Anytime she goes away.
Anytime she goes away.
Anytime she goes away.

And so Addie sits in the nook built by Max. Max, well, he moved to Provincetown in Massachusetts. He has taken a job as a waiter in a little restaurant, which serves only organic. He's having quite a time for himself. Tip-tap, tip-tap, tip-....

Adelaide may never recover, sometimes widows never give up wearing black. Sometimes a woman can't understand how a man could want another man, in that way. Sometimes, somedays there is no reason to live. Sometimes Adelaide Prescott thinks there is no hope. Somehow, someway Adelaide Laird Prescott will work her way through. Tip-tap, tip-tap, tip-... But when?

And so it goes.

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