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Melvin L Williams

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Member Since: May, 2008

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The Longest Walk Home
By Melvin L Williams
Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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A continuing tale of a young man forced by economic changes to change his simple life

After reading my Sunday paper article about some kid committing suicide, I felt like I needed a walk to get away from the monotony that consumed my one bed room apartment. My name is Jake Sauvere. I'm 37 and work for the Kent 's Printing Co in Chicago, IL . I commute to Chicago from my small town.  This is my boring story. You don't want to hear about what happened. Or do you?

          

             It was dark for a Sunday afternoon. The cloudy skies cancelled what the weather man predicted. It's going to rain. My only problem is I left my umbrella in my car. I've been walking these streets for years. The same elderly brother, the Johnston's, still argue in front of the neighborhood fruit stand about who has the best boxer in history. It's a barbershop treat to watch those two old devils rebel over the sports page.

           

          As Jake walks past the abandoned movie theater on Calder St, he reminisces about his first date with Kathy Palcher. The only woman to make, this southern Alabama man, turns into a puddle of Jell-O pudding once he was in her presence.  I remember this place. Kathy was some kind of 15 year blossom and angel. She was a bit shy. I had to accidentally, of course, drop my books in front of her on my way home. I saw her across the street. That's all it took for me to loose my cool. She walked over to help me pickup that huge bag (my grandmother gave me for Christmas). "Are you ok," she asked. Like a kindergartner on his first day at school, my lips were super glued shut and my body shook under my shirt like a nervous kitten. I looked into her eyes. Me a moiré. I was in love with her at first sight.  I saw a mirror image from my dreams. "Are you ok", she asked a second time as I stood frozen. I shook my head and immediately responded, "Oh yes! (Pause) do you have a boyfriend?" She smiled and then we both started laughing. The skies were cloudy with a gleam of sunshine. Anyway, I asked her out on a date. She smiled again, wrote her number in the palm of my hand, and silently said, "Call me" That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

 

"These streets are changing every minute or maybe I'm changing," says Jake to himself as he approaches the country dirt road next to the Johnston farm. I've walked this road at least 15 years, but this year. I feel lost. Too many things are changing. All of my schoolmates have decided to leave the quiet confines of this country domain.  I used whistle the theme to the Andy Griffith show while on my way to the pond. I sure miss fishing with those guys. I remember when Kathy and I used to take pictures next to the mysterious waterwheel shack and pretend we were a couple married trapped in the wilderness. He walks over the waterwheel and touches the 'mildew glue' (mildew, mushrooms, and molds are the only life forces or glue that hold this old shack together from self destruction) About 150 years ago, my family owned this old power plant and provided the only electricity in the town. Now, the family has moved on and sold the property. All that remains is this sad and totting heap of timber.  Jake begins to cry.

 

"Why didn't she hear me?" he yells through the woods.

It was a politely comfortable morning in the town. Kathy and Jake were enjoying a good conversation over some coffee and doughnuts for breakfast. "Jake, I need to tell you something," excitedly explained Kathy. "I received a music scholarship to Oakland College for the Arts and Sciences in Berkley , MA ." Jake's eyes raise about 2 inches with his hands gripped tight under the table. "Aren't you happy for me?" she asked. "Of course, "he hesitantly answered. "What's wrong and don't tell me nothing, "responded Kathy. "I just thought we would remain in the same state at least, when we decided to go to college. So we could see one another. Maybe, I'm just selfish." answered Jake. "Jake, we have talked about this several times. There are no prominent schools in this area, right now, for musicians.  I thought about this long and hard. I have made my mind up. I'm moving and pursuing my dream. I suggest you do the same. You're always talking about studying those computers you love so dearly" said Kathy. "But, I love you Kathy" whispers Jake. "I love you too. I want to see you happy. I thought you would be more supportive, "makes clear Kathy. " I am sorry. Congratulations on your scholarship and I am happy for you" Jake hugs Kathy. "Thank you Jake. Now if you will excuse me, I nee to get to work before Mr. Whitaker fire me for being late for work." While two friends were talking a construction crane was lifting a huge load of pipes to the 10th floor of the new building being constructed across the street. The tensile strength of the load strained the cabling to its maximum load capacity. The ground guide signals to the crane operator to lower the load to the bed of the flat bed truck, so the crew can readjust the clamp attachments. The load starts to give away. The foreman shouts to his crew to stand clear from the crane.  As the load snaps free, the couple was walking outside the little bistro.

Jake waves to Kathy a goodbye. As she turns away, Jake notices the cabled load was tangled with a pole still attached. He yells to Kathy, "Kathy run!" She can not hear him because of the construction noise. She turns around and the pole slams in the side of the nearby building while Kathy was walking across the street. Nothing has replaced or freed Jake from the lasting impressions on that day.

       

          Jake contemplates  for a minute about moving to Chicago. He has received a job offer for a new IT firm for a Network Engineer position paying $80,000 per year. He has felt guilty about procrastinating on his dreams for almost 3 years since Kathy died. His walks home has never been without the conversation and the most enjoyable company.

 

I think this will be my last walk to old Turnaround road. I have to move on. It's the polite thing to do. Dreams are to be lived not cursed every step that I live. I am already packed. Its time I made that call. Jake proudly runs home with a skip and a jump.

 

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