Bonnington was rarely anything but serious.
Some patients preferred to call him glum.
His wife bore him no children, they married
happily, once. He painted on weekends.
Bonnington never talked about himself.
He refused to talk about his wife’s death.
He listened. He believed in the "talking cure."
He had his own doctor.
Melindra arrived on time,
drove quietly to the Alki Café on the road
from the beach where everyone raved
about the food, the drink, the service.
Bonnington wanted to know Bobby’s story
since last they talked. Bobby tried to tell him,
but finally admitted, I’m more fucked up
than ever, I got to get away from Seattle,
a while anyway. My mother’s in San Diego,
singing in La Jolla. Bonnington perked up
when Bobby said he needed to write her story.
What happened to your own? Bonnington asked.
On the way back to Bonnington’s
house she asked Bobby if she should take him
home or would he like to stay with her tonight.
Bonnington laughed. He apologized. He chided
Bobby, You’re still the same Casanova . . .
Bobby laughed uneasily. Bonnington invited
them in for a drink. He played Mozart. Bobby
thought of Paul and Anna. What if one died?
Would the other still see him as their son?
after Melindra, Paula . . . his stillborn desire
to give country music the blues, improvise . . .
Bonnington said his wife died in her sleep.
Mercifully. He brought out his portrait of her.
She reminded Bobby of Cathleen, or Melindra:
the hair the same color, smiles equally radiant.
On the way back Bobby observed Bonnington
was playing matchmaker. I asked him to, she said.
Bobby kept quiet. Melindra drove to her house.
Where it was like old times. He felt at home.
(20 September 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander