HARRY B. V

11/21/2020

In his mid-50’s, the Old Man (formally known as the Kid) received his one and only phone call from Pat, Harry B.’s wife. She told him who she was, in case he forgot, and blurted out this short, blunt response. “Harry died a couple of months ago. You don’t have to stop here anymore. Harry’s dead.” And with that, she hung up, never to call again. The Old Man went about working like Harry B. and took on a huge workload to stockpile money for his final years. After finishing a big job in mid-winter, he left for New York City with his wife to check out the Big Apple for the last time. After 4 days, he accompanied her to LaGuardia Airport to see her off and then took a shuttle over Kennedy International. As usual, he traveled abroad unencumbered because this was his goal alone and it worked well for him in the past. He was headed to Spain where he would tour for a week and then board a ferry over to Morocco for another week. Africa was his 7th and last continent that his tired feet have not touched yet. Upon boarding the ferry, the English owned Rock of Gibraltar stood looming on the shoreline.  It shrunk with time in a southernly exit across the Mediterranean Sea. At 1 point, it now resembled a tombstone and the Old Man thought about Harry B. What inborn quality drives a man to forgo all his dreams to be the protector and supporter of his spouse and children? What knowledge turns a woman into a possessive creature that dictates her husband’s entire life? What really makes us all tick? Internally, it is organic chemistry that causes some neurons to fire, and others to short circuit, and kill an idea. Some call this love, and others call it abhorrent behavior. It defies definition. As the ferry approached Ceuta, the Spanish owned land in Africa, the Old Man looked back, and the tombstone was gone. A tear rolled down his cheek as his quest was near. The greatest volume of that salt water on his face was for Harry B., a man who unselfishly lived only for his family. 

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