Friday, January 27, 2006
Fireman, Hero, My Boy
A long time ago, I moved to Long Beach from Sacramento. I went to make my fortune. I struggled with life and I had more failures than successes. I lived in 4-plex with three Pan-Am Swedish Stewardesses of legend (they really do exist.) They were beautiful, sexy, smart, and fun. The three women and one husband were also my landlords. Two were mothers of infant boys. We lived in this house all together for eight wonderful years.
The boys, as they grew, spent many hours playing in my apartment jumping from the top of the sofa onto a pile of sofa cushions and pillows, and outside on the jungle-gym geodesic dome they imagined was a spaceship. One day, a new refridgerator was delivered. I took the large cardboard box containing the 'fridge, taped the two halves together, cut a door and window, and painted it white. When I finished, I left it outside in the backyard where the boys would find it in the morning.
That box became a house, a jail, a ticket booth, a bank teller, and airline ticket station, it became anything the little boys could think of. They had literally years of fun in that big box. I had to repair and repaint the silly old box many times.
A tragedy struck our happy little refuge from the world outside. The reality and fragility of life and death was visited upon the husband of one of the ladies, the father of by now two sons making three little guys in the household. Our life in this Shangri La began falling apart rapidly. Within a very short time, we had all moved from the house to other local towns and other countries. Two of the boys that I loved so much, who saw me as a big brother, a protector, a teacher, a fixer of boo-boo's went to Sweden and one remained in Long Beach for a few years with his mom and new step-dad. This boy, Robert, was the one to whom I was closest. When his family finally moved back to Sweden I missed him as though my own son was missing from me.
Though not my son, I count Robert as one of my best successes. I always knew he would become a good man. He left when he was 13 years and now 13 years later, Robert called me tonight from a town near me where he now lives. The moment I realized Robert had returned I began to shake and it took all I had not to cry. We talked and he remembered playing in the box. Of his later life, he e-mailed photos . He knew just the ones I wanted to see. There are two that told me the most. As a boy, Robert dreamed of being a fireman, a hero. Today, he lives the dream. He is a hero. My hero. Robert has come back.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.