Bittersweet November

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The man was older than the last time we met, and there was a moment when I heard his voice for the first time in almost a year. It was like meeting him for the first time. It seemed his parole was on the day of the festival. The windows were down and a breeze came in, It wasn't so cold as there was still plenty of sun.

His face was on the ocean. The old man placed his hand on my leg, and as I pulled over he went down the hill. The tide wasn't in, but even so the night was coming. He took off his clothes and as he swam out he said: “We were here once. It was a certain kind of day, almost nice.”

He came back and sat down next to me, father chuckled for the first time I heard him laugh. We stood up and walked along the shore until our feet were wet. I turned back to see he had already made his way up the hill, as if he didn’t want to drift out to sea.

When we got into town everyone was already at the fairgrounds, beginning to go on the Ferris wheel and eat caramel apples. My father wanted to see a movie. The theater was showing an old one, some old b-movie that no one would know except my father. We went in and both had popcorn.

The film wasn’t so bad. The plot dealt with some handsome gentleman saving the day against the forces of evil, and the evil--that seemed to make everyone feel so bad--left. The girl was beautiful; we both thought she was fine. The big man wanted to eat at the dinner across the street. He mentioned long ago, that the place served the best steak and eggs. I always had the biscuits and gravy.

When we ordered he also had the same thing as me. The waitress was cute, she saw me looking at her and blushed. When the old man went out for a smoke she sat next to me and began to pinch my cheeks. I didn’t worry if the old man saw me.

By the time it was dark we had already spent a full day in the town. That was all there was to do, see a movie, eat food, and swim a mile in the ocean. The girl even gave me her number. We had to go back to the jailhouse and we didn't speak the whole way there. The place had a shade of gray, and the fence still had wire all the way through the fence.

I turned off the car. He didn’t say goodbye, but nodded as he made his way to the entrance. The girl waited for me until the dinner closed, but she didn't seem to care that my father was looking at her up and down; those kind of things you seem to forget. We weren't so tired, and she desperately wanted to see the festival. I heard the caramel apples were good, the Ferris wheel was also fine. Everything was bitter sweet that night.

After the fair she began to slow down; I drove around looking for where she might live. On the Ferris wheel we snuggled, and like a gentleman I gave her my coat, even if it wasn’t that cold out.





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