BLUE FINGER SPECIAL
A man and two women sip aperitifs while waiting to be seated at a fashionable seafood restaurant. Their tiny table, barely large enough to hold the white wine and cognac they ordered thirty minutes ago, sits in a corner away from the long line of couples who have not made reservations, waiting anxiously like frequent flyers in anticipation for cancellations. Customers crammed in high-backed padded cane chairs squirm uneasily like embarrassed cheats caught in denial. However, in this party of three, the man, wearing a red bow tie and blue cotton blazer, nestles next to his friend, maybe his wife, who is dressed entirely in purple velvet, her favorite color. Their friend, who completes the ménage a trios, dons a hat similar in style, green velvet, a thirty’s throwback. Envious single men stare at the bald headed man sucking on his companion’s index finger. With his eyes closed in total ecstasy, he sucks the Blue Finger Special, covets the feeling he’s dependent upon, almost as if in prayer. Who’s the dependent one here? Is he dependent upon her or is it the other way around? Their friend looks on aghast as friends sometimes do when feeling slightly embarrassed. The woman in purple peers out past the parade of people in this modern version of Sodom and Gomorrah in total resignation as if she need not explain this unusual fetish to anyone, even her therapist.
They saw something in you that you didn’t see in yourself. One classmate signed your yearbook to a good-looking guy who never knew I had a crush on you. Another signed it to a classmate who will succeed in whatever he does. Years later, now your father’s age when he died of a heart attack in your arms, you have a sense of what his struggles were like. In your teens, you didn’t have a clue. Sadly you cannot remember a time when you saw your father kiss your mother on the lips or hug her or hold her hand. Orphaned before you were twenty, you felt like you were dealt a bad hand in a rigged poker game, felt like you had taken a nasty death defying slide down a slick and rock-strewn slope, felt like you could taste the paralysis of fear overtaking you in your waking dream. After all these years, you still can feel the back-handed slaps your father gave you as a kid with his big bear paws that sent you sprawling across the living room floor, feel the despair of dejection from the baseball games you played in he promised to attend but never did, feel the emptiness of non-recognition for the small achievements you wanted from him but never got. In your boyish innocence, you pretended you understood everything: the hard blunt edge of pain, the sorrow of slow suffering, the shock waves of a supernova that exploded lifetimes ago on Harmony Lane in the dense, dusty fields of your past.
Bio: Victor Henry’s work has appeared in various small press magazines and e-zines. He is a reference librarian, a Vietnam veteran, and a member of Veterans for Peace. His work has recently appeared in Dead Snakes and will have forthcoming work appearing in Misfit Magazine.