art · Craft · Fiction · literacy · Music

Glen and Phoebe, Coda

The phone opened to the picture he’d requested of her feet. People had all sorts of fetishes, and she didn’t mind indulging this one of Glen’s. Phoebe was very familiar with the paraphilias, having been schooled through the Kinsey Institute. She searched the phone for any clues that might tell her where Glen had gone and why. She needed details.

There was much too much money for the sale of her father’s house. Glen knew she was struggling financially, but she hadn’t asked him for anything other than a fair price for the house. What was he thinking?

The phone search turned up next to nothing except for a number that was not hers listed under the Dialed Calls directory. It was an international number, to Germany, and she called it straight away. When the German Cancer Clinics answered, she knew what she had to do next.

Mattson was waiting for her when her train arrived in Oklahoma City. Glen had told her  a little about Mattson and their enduring friendship that had begun when they served together in the Navy. If anyone knew the details of Glen’s situation, it would be Mattson. What Phoebe didn’t know was that Glen had confided to Mattson his relationship with her; they both shared an interest in feet, and Glen had mentioned his curiosity about Phoebe’s small feet to Mattson. After that slip, he had told all, even though Phoebe had asked him not to. 

“Miss Williams,” Mattson greeted her, “I trust your journey was not too difficult?”

“No, Mr. Mattson, the trip was very pleasant, quite soothing in fact.”

“Very good. After we collect your bags, I will take you to the cottage and introduce the staff to you.”

“Staff?”

“Yes, Miss. There is just myself and my wife. She’s the cook and housekeeper.  I double as your driver and gardener.”

Phoebe sat stunned. She’d always longed for such a life, and here it was. But what of Glen?

“Mr. Mattson?”

“Just Mattson, Miss, if you please.”

“Mattson, is it far to the cottage?”

“No, Miss. We are about thirty minutes away.”

“What is your wife’s name?”

“Joyce, Miss.”

“If I am to call you Mattson, will you please call me Phoebe?”

“My pleasure, Phoebe.”

They drove the remainder of the short distance in silence, Phoebe wondering if she could get the information she wanted from Mattson and Mattson wondering what she was going to ask. She was everything Glen had told him and more. Direct, clear-eyed, poised. He understood his friend’s affection for this lovely woman. 

The “cottage”, designed by architect Robert Roloff, sat on a little more than four acres of land in a private setting that offered exquisite views of the outdoor living spaces, that included a pool. 

Image

Overwhelmed by the enormity of the gift she’d been given, Phoebe wept tears of gratitude, then turned her teary amber eyes on Mattson and asked him, beseeched him to tell her all he knew of Glen. Mattson happily obliged.

“Did…did his wife go with him?” Phoebe asked.

“No, Miss,” he answered, slipping back into formality. “In fact, Bernard and his wife were divorced about a year ago, shortly after he understood his condition.”

“Do you know where he is exactly, Mattson?”

“Yes, Miss.”

“Would you please make arrangements for me to go be with him?”

“At once, Phoebe, at once.”

Fiction

Phoebe and Glen, A Love Song, First Movement

Glen, with one “n” because his mother was an economic and practical woman with a fondness for forests, was 75 but looked 50, a trim, neat 50. No puzzle gut on him. He was a swimmer and his body was a testament to the all-over good it does for toning and sculpting a body. Phoebe was 48 and pretty in a way that seemed to distract men to obsession. Petite, a dancer to keep herself in shape, she inspired protectiveness in some men that bordered on abusiveness and endangered her health, through no fault of her own. She was an avowed bachelor and so, was struck by the force of what she felt for Glen when they happened to meet. 

The feeling. How to describe it? A sudden dawning upon? An awareness of being inexplicably drawn to another. Instinct told Phoebe that she could not trust herself alone with this man.

Glen, too, felt or rather sensed something about this sprite of a woman, whom he’d met on a matter of business. She did not offer her hand. She was muslim though not hijabi, and followed the custom of not touching men who were not a member of her immediate family. Phoebe was never more grateful for the teaching for she felt that if she touched Glen, he would know her heart.

Not only was she celibate, Phoebe, on principle, didn’t do married men. Just because she didn’t believe in the institution as currently constructed didn’t mean she didn’t respect folks who chose to do that sort of traditional thing. The institution did offer certain benefits, but they were minimal when compared with freedom.

Glen and his wife offered Phoebe hospitality, which she accepted, briefly, before making her excuses. The business concluded for the moment, Phoebe returned home and put her experience of Glen behind her.

Glen reawakened the fire in her body when he texted her a few weeks later to tell her a development with the business. He had gently teased her about not staying in contact. Phoebe asked Glen to give her a call, and she gave him a private number to her secure line.

He called immediately, sounding gruff, irritated, and impatient.

“Yeah, yeah. What do you want to talk about?”

“I haven’t contacted you because I have the biggest crush on you and I am afraid of myself, afraid of what I feel…for you,” she blurted, almost stunned speechless by his tone.

The silence seemed long.

She could hear him slowly take in a deep breath and evenly release it before saying,”I wasn’t expecting you to say that, but I’m not disappointed.”

art · Authors · Books · Sociology

What I’m Reading: On Trembling Ground by AP Newell

This book is good. However, it is very difficult to read as I feel like I am living in the time period depicted (early ‘60s, Civil Rights era), being intimidated by the bullies of this era, gang members.

Then, as now, the innocent just had to bear with the injustices heaped upon them by good Christians that the law supported in their wrong doing.

The portrayals of the characters is complex and dense even though the style of writing is very easy, flowing oh so naturally. I can almost understand Franklin, who reluctantly becomes an active Klan member, in part to keep his job and partly because he thought he was doing the right thing for an upright, god-fearing Christian white man of the south.  I like his brother Harley, though, who is a music man trying to stay true to his art through hard times, who recognizes that Elvis stole his music from Black human beings.

I turn to this story for ideas of how to survive the current hostile climate in which I live and am persecuted by people who share a skin color similar to my own. I learned a long time ago, though, that all my skinfolk ain’t my kinfolk.

I like the varied dimensionality of the characters most thus far.

More when I finish . . .