When she came home from the grocery store, he had all the kids corralled into the kitchen, baby Frank included, and he was holding up a nickel, saying, “This is not edible. You cannot eat this. You also cannot eat a penny. Or a dime. And you definitely cannot, under any circumstances, eat a quarter.” He turned toward his two-year-old daughter, and said, “Rita, would you like to tell Mommy what you did today?” She looked at Rita who’s eyes welled up with tears. “I’m sorry, Mommy. I d-d-didn’t know.” Loretta and Peggy snickered behind their hands. Frank stretched his tiny arms and yawned. They took her to the doctor, who said Rita would be fine; the quarter would pass. Still, neither of them left loose change on the counter again.
At their first daughter’s wedding, she was thrilled. He was a little less than thrilled. She had made the dress and veil. She had bought herself a new pink dress, bag, and shoes. She had her hair done at the salon and got a new blush compact with a mirror so she could check how she looked after the ceremony. She wanted everything to be perfect. He fit himself into a suit with a white jacket (why a white jacket?) and nearly strangled himself putting on a bow-tie. He had to stand a lot that day, even though he had hurt his foot at work the week before. Plus, the annoying little carnation kept falling off his lapel. He wanted everything to be over. As she watched him walk their daughter down the aisle, he was grinning despite his disapproval. He was thinking about seeing her walk toward him in her white dress, years ago. The way she floated. How she glowed.
“Do you want to dance?” he asked, holding out his arm. “You know I can’t dance anymore,” she said. “But it’s our song–‘I’ll Be Seeing You,’ from the Trina.” “Maybe,” she said, playing with the yellow rose pinned to her dress. “You know my knees aren’t what they used to be.” “C’mon…the song’s almost over. And your knees are lovely.” He smiled that lopsided smile. “Oh, alright.”