Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Someday -by Luke Schamer
Mom sat in the kitchen with her crossword puzzle, and Dad sat with me in the living room and answered my question. I was nine-years-old.
Dad enjoyed his brown corduroy recliner and television set. And he thoroughly enjoyed, Mom said, the flattened aluminum cans collecting in the big black garbage bag taped to his recliner’s reclining handle. I often considered crafting a superhero costume from Dad’s aluminum cans.
I sat cross legged on the floor with my head pressed against the side of Dad’s recliner and didn’t expect much conversation. The television usually replaced the missing words.
“How was work?” My voice competed with a sportscaster.
The sportscaster’s eyes followed the teleprompter, and with slight delay his mouth would spew forth words. “Today’s game was a great one for the Lions…”
The sportscaster’s voice trailed off and Dad raised a fresh aluminum can, pointing to the television screen. I interpreted this as, “Today was a great one for Dad.”
Dad’s days were “great” ones, “fantastic” ones. Sometimes they were “homeruns” or “touchdowns.” On rare occasion they were empty voiceover for the newest pesticide.
But that night, I peeked over the recliner’s armrest and poked Dad’s elbow. “Are you happy?”
The corduroy had swallowed Dad—practically eaten him alive. From the floor, he looked like a mountainous round belly and a tiny head. Holding back laughter, I pressed my tongue through gaps from missing teeth and waited for Dad’s answer.
His aluminum can went up and down with the lackadaisical movement of his belly. He waited on the right words to transfer through the cable wire and into our ears.
“You can be,” Dad said.
The sportscaster’s voice got real quiet, and I noticed Dad’s thumb lazily dabbing the volume button on his television remote.
Dad snapped his fingers in my ear. “It’s not like that.” He snapped a couple more times. “Not like that.” Dad brought the aluminum can to his lips, and the silver rim hovered in front of his nose for a couple seconds.
With his index finger, Dad traced the air conditioning emblem on his work jacket. “Gotta work for it,” he said. Dad waved his hand through the air and dropped it with a soft thump on the armrest. “You’ll get there,” he said, eyes fluttering shut. “Tomorrow, buddy.”
I grabbed the aluminum can from his clammy palm, preventing spillage onto potential superhero costume materials. Dad’s arm slumped into the crevice between his leg and the recliner’s cushion, sending the television remote into a frenzy as it randomly flipped through channels.
Standing in the kitchen, I watched the television’s flashing lights flicker against the white walls of our home’s narrow hallway, and waited for it to settle on a channel.
Luke Schamer writes from Cincinnati, Ohio. He works as a university writing consultant, is an editor of Line by Line academic journal, and owns a music studio. Luke has writing published or forthcoming by Star 82 Review, Matchbook Literary Magazine, The Molotov Cocktail, and Maudlin House, among others. In addition, he is a produced screenwriter for two films: Before Flame (drama, 2016) and Fire, Rain, Wind, Snow, and Fire: A Story of a Prairie (documentary, 2016). For more information, please visit LukeSchamer.com.