Tony just stared blankly at his father across the front porch. A front porch that held so many childhood memories for Tony. He had grown up in this house and it was a pretty happy childhood, as childhoods go. He still felt strange sitting here. He had not talked to his dad in, well hell, it must be going on a decade. So much time and life had gone by in those ten years, Tony was honestly having trouble remembering what had caused the rift in the first place. All he knew is that it felt good now. As did the afternoon Mississippi sunshine fighting its way through the Live Oak leaves in the trees across the street. It was almost as if his father had planned the trees’ growth all those years ago when he and mama were first married and he built this house. Dad was always ahead of the curve, Tony thought to himself.
The street was pretty quiet except for some neighbors squabbling over something or the other. Tony couldn’t make out everything they were saying. It sounded like someone might have been drunk and did something they weren’t supposed to. Tony smiled to himself. Good luck buddy, I’ve been there, he thought.
Tony turned his attention back to his father. The old man looked pretty good Tony thought to himself. Time has been kinder to him than it has to me. His dad was just quietly rocking in that old chair. Tony was shocked, frankly, that the chair had survived all these years.
Well, Tony thought, I guess I will break the ice. But he didn’t know what to say. Should he apologize? He didn’t really know what for. “Damn, I wish I could remember why we are fighting”, Tony thought.
The neighbors seemed to be getting louder. Almost as if they were moving their fighting closer to the house. Tony could make out what they were saying now.
“CLEAR.” He heard, clean as a whistle. Then suddenly, it felt as if a damn horse kicked Tony in the chest.
“What in the hell was that?!” Tony exclaimed as he jumped to his feet. His father looked at him and smiled.
“I HAVE A FAINT PULSE!” Tony heard the neighbors proclaim.
“Not quite yet boy. You have to go.” Tony’s father said with a wink.