Things That Could’ve Been: What about Arlene?
In a tribute to Arlene Hooper wrote something to make her smile
By R.A.Lancaster 2019
Chapter #A - Dream Had
A picture perfect summer day, complete with fluffy white clouds under blue sky. Walking a concrete sidewalk of a familiar east London neighborhood, Little Grey Street. I’ve traveled it many ways, including, crawling one drunken night. Ahead sitting back on his porch, radio playing behind, Len, watching life go by.
Its’ been so long since we’d talked, I approached the old, low wooden front porch, “good Day Len. What’s going on?” Stopping at the steps notice the place looks the same.
Leaning forward with a smile Len responds, “Roberts, not much meester. Just having a beer while keeping an eye on the ‘hood’.” Gesturing with his lips and thumb, towards the front door, “Michelle’s inside. Kids are out, somewhere.”
Seeming normal to me I tried to see inside the house, “Oh right on. Still got the same three than? What about Chad and Tammy?” Normal for me to ask or say odd things I began to wonder, Why is Len still living here and with Michelle? Didn’t he move to Manitoba?
Len lightly laughs. “Yeah, Dame’s getting big though. You should see how much Tim looks like his old man.” With a thumb he points out the house on the left, “Chad and Tammy aren’t home. They were just saying we hadn’t heard from you in awhile.”
My mind began to think as I automatically replied. “Ah been preoccupied, sorry.” Wait, Tammy hates Chad and wouldn’t be living with him. I know this because I used to live with Tammy. Wondering if there’s something going on I slowly turn taking in the surroundings.
Further complicating thoughts Len offers a beer with condolence, “it’s too bad Arlene couldn’t tough it out. You two made such a great couple.”
Slowly I reach for the beer with mental puzzlement, “thanks for saying so.” Mentally I can only picture Arlene’s teen-aged face, smiling from behind brown, feathered hair. Teenage me thought a relationship with Arlene would be equal to winning a lottery. Something happened with Arlene in her late twenties, driving her to take her own life. Before I could take the bottle, it and Little Grey Street go blurry to black as I awoke from a dream. My mind filled with what ifs’.