Down the street a WWII era searchlight scanned the sky in front of a War
Surplus store, the hum from its diesel generator faintly audible. Its light
beam pierced the night sky in a rotating pattern, seeking not enemy bombers but
Dad could be there. He often drives us to searchlight source, seeks the treasure of a good deal. How about me? I yearn for a beam to pierce the night to reveal a treasure for me. Like Dad, I’m always on the outlook for hidden meaning. What omen does the beam foretell? Is there treasure for me tonight?
He had a reservation at Original Joe's. With name confirmation we were led from the crowded entry to a red leather upholstered booth.
There we smiled at one another over their classic ravioli as the waiters with their arm draped white towels rushed to and fro serving the crowd. Pasta at Original Joe’s was a good deal with a sniff of sophistication for the money spent. We gobbled down seconds of bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Next door was the Sainte Claire Hotel where Mom worked. After skimming over the movie we sat silent.
Mom works so hard. She saves her Kennedy silver half dollars but never manages to fill her little stash box. How I love her, her and her guest escapade tales. I’ll give her my silver quarters.
Musing about Mom and her maid tales he asked.
“A penny for your thoughts.”
“A penny, aren’t they worth a dollar?”
“Worth more than that to me.”
“I can’t believe I’m 17. I’m going to be a senior next year.”
From leaving home, during the movie and in the restaurant he acted as if something was up. It was. He kept staring at me across the table as if trying to say something but stuttered about unable to do so. At last I said.
“You want a picture of me?”
He returned his attention to his pasta dusting it with more parmesan cheese.
The paid parking lot, double silver quarters, movie theme, searchlight beam,
Original Joe's and the Sainte Claire Hotel next door were omens but I didn’t
connect them until now as I write.
After diner, parked in front of my house, he kissed me then kissed me again
for reassurance. He pulled away, looked at me oddly, reached to the glove
compartment, fumbled about, opened it and took out a small jewelry box. He
handed it to me but said nothing.
Opening it I saw a ring.