No, I’m not about to give a confession.
Frank was my father’s name, or Frankie to those who loved him, which now explains why my mother called him Frank.
I remember the night after not seeing or even speaking for over a year, I had to go tell her he had died. In her usual insane fashion, she greeted me as if we had just spoken and perfectly normal I popped in close to midnight.
Did you eat? Her eternal stock question.
I had a friend who drove me who later said, it’s like we stopped at an all night diner on the freeway.
When I told her, to my surprise and delight, she burst into tears. They had been divorced for at least five years, and with the exception of one visit when I brought him over all drunk and disheveled with Shultz, his dachshund, she took and cared for, they never met again.
I know now what I didn’t know then, why she stopped loving him, and finally understand.
She was 17, he a couple years older when they got married right before he went off to war. I have some of their letters that would break your heart. But alas, when he finally came home three years later, my mother was a different person. All grown up, hardly remembering the man she said she’d love forever.
They stayed married for close to 30 years. He a wild drunk that eventually killed him, she the Ava Gardner of her day. When I read about the real Ava almost putting her Frank’s lights out, I sigh heavily wishing he could have given my dad a few pointers.
My mother had more boyfriends than shoes and she had a closet full of those barely trying to hide either. My dad loved her anyway, as he refilled his whiskey glass, his liver slowly taking flight.
If she had just cut him loose earlier I know he would have found someone to love him again, but oddly enough, she was afraid of what the neighbors would think, and the irony? They knew she was a flaming femme fatale keeping their husbands under lock and key.
But that night in the old kitchen when I told her Frank was no more, she sobbed, I guess remembering the soldier named Frankie she once loved so many years ago.