Why Is This Here? — Installment 5

Martin Major shifts his eyes from the teak dining setof the room he and Toni had spent half a lifetime sharing food and passion in to the weight in his hand and discovers the dumbbell, he stares at it, knots his brow, he transfers it to his other hand and lifts it in a few curls, eyes sweeping the room, live pussywillows in an austere Chinese vase on a delicate pedestal, on the wall a dawn seascape two gulls in flight, smooth candlesticks on the table, a Bellini aria sung by Callas, he recalls the claypot casseroles with mideastern accents the delight in the orange chicken the conversationsYou won’t do anything without me, Yes but you know I won’t live like that, and it must happen before I get to that point where I won’t have a will left, Just don’t leave me out, I don’t know Toni I can’t promise . . . He turns got to check the john he thinks, there’s something I need to do.

The wall of photos like the slow current of a deep stream beckons, he doesn’t stop as he shambles down the first few yards of the hallway but then he hesitates, he turns to the gallery of photos, he’s looking for something, he makes out Hong Kong Harbor at dusk San Francisco Bay from high up the Berkeley hills dogs running loose at Battery Park ah that’s it he thinks, no cars, not a single one where are the cars, where’s my car he wonders, the the the what was it. . . oh yes, the Bentley, his face lights up, the Bentley, I hired a driver and picked up the Yankees’ owner, what’s his name, the Yankees’ owner, we went to dinner, talked politics, talked some business, what kind of business again? What was it? . . . Where’s the damn car where’s the damn car. He scans the wall, steps three paces at awkward attention to the left, scans again, head alternating between gross nods and quick sweeps, Where is the damn thing, three more paces to the left, more scanning not a single photo of a car, any car, What the hell he thinks, where the hell is it why isn’t it here. A thousand photos, frames, neatly printed notes, images of dinners people, some of whom he remembered without reading their names, mountains horses, beautiful horses, he had a special place for them in his heart, civic awards, pictures from lawschool and his college years and his childhood, lots of pictures of his lovely wife — Toni, that’s it. But not a single car.

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