The Heart of the Pink Flamingo
The pink flamingo stood innocently on the front lawn of the Goth residence. It seemed like a fine Saturday morning just like any other. Yet it was not.
BANG. The door slammed shut. The aged wooden steps creaked under the pair of high heels. A slurry of melting ice mixed with earth slouched and spattered under the stomping feet.
Then Bella Goth’s right foot bore down, full force, on the innocent pink flamingo.
For nearly a month now, folks passing by would be startled by such outbursts from the young matron of the most established family in Pleasantview.
The screeching of a toddler burst forth through the front door. Huffing fog into the crispy winter air, Bella gave the flamingo a few more kicks until it lied side-way, flattening the tiny blades of grass that shot up a bit too early before winter ended.
Turning on her heel and retracing her steps towards the house, Bella uttered under her breath:
"Alright.. alright... sweetie... I am coming".
When one belonged to a prominent family such as the Goth, details of one’s private lives could not escape public attention. Juicy stories about the young matron were often exchanged among housewives between picking up can beans and fresh loaf of bread at the grocer.
“Do you believe that Bella was abducted by alien?”
“Really? Yet I heard that she ran off with another man. Did you hear that she flirted with a younger man right in front of his teenage son, not even two months after her husband's death? I wonder how the late Mortimer felt having such a wayward wife back in his life.”
“That wouldn’t explain why she appeared to be much younger than her own daughter Cassandra. Yet it is also true that she seems to be glowing with all the attention she receives from younger men these days after Mortimer’s gone. Let me also fill you with something else..”
Grabbing the other party's sleeve, the older woman among the pair continued:
"Before he died, Mortimer himself and his teenage son often visited the Caliente sisters..."
"Wait.. are you saying that.. but that kid is still a minor.... "
Yet the conversation quickly became hushed as Bella Goth stepped into the grocer.
"How do you do, Mrs. Goth? It is finally getting warmer, isn't it?"
Bella nodded with a polite smile, and hurried on to make her purchases. While rounding the corner of the shelf, the pair of housewives caught a glimpse of a young man approaching Bella and engaging her in quite a lively conversation.
"See what I mean by attracting attention?", the older woman among the pair elbowed her friend.
Late at night,the aged steps leading to the front yard of Goth residence creaked again under Bella's heels, yet this time more softly. The stars shined brightly above the stillness of the night.
Bella bent over the pink flamingo and began talking.
"My dear Mortimer, my therapist said that I should try to talk more about my feelings, after the mental breakdown over your death. Yet how could I?"
Gently, Bella pried the flamingo away from being stuck in the mud and stood it up on its two skinny metal legs. Resting her hands on the flamingo, Bella gazed into the space in front of her and spoke:
"I miss you, Mortimer. Our daughter and son don't really talk to me. They looked for the old Bella, and when they failed to recognize her in me or find the maturity and support of a mother in me, to them, my presence felt like a betrayal to their memories. I can't fill in the space old Bella left behind... I only felt comfortable around you because you accepted my changes with love."
"It is so much easier to talk to men who spoke their minds. My love, you won't mind, would you? You should know better than anyone about my need for simple affections... I am a grandma now, yet I don't feel like one. My body still yearns to be touched and caressed..."
So Bella Goth sat in front of the pink flamingo during the many nights of the past month, disclosing the contents of her heart. Perhaps, without the capacity to respond or to judge, the plastic flamingo is more understanding of the desire and fragility of a human heart.
Early winter, late afternoon, the folks at the park could hear Don Lothario muttering complaints upon complaints to himself. He was rushing along the sidewalk to get the groceries home. He would have his wedding party that evening, yet he still hadn't picked up the wedding rings, Dina's gown, his tux, or the wedding cake yet. What is worse, the evening news yesterday broadcasted that a storm front would be approaching.
"Damn Dr. Love. Calling in sick at the last minute. Now I need to find other doctors to cover for her shift while I am supposed to be on scheduled vacation, and why on earth am I doing everything? Isn't it a woman's job to do all the wedding planning? Why am I going through this again? Haven't I already left a woman at the alter before?"
Don would have continued down his endless list of complaints, if not interrupted by a baseball rolling towards him from the right. Don stopped the baseball with his left foot.
"I will get it, dad!"
A boy shouted to a man inside the park while running towards Don to retrieve the ball.
"Thank you, Mister!"
Don's frown gave way to a smile. He followed the little boy into the park, sat down on the steps of the pavilion to watch the pair of father and son playing catch.
The father looked in his direction and made conversations with Don between catching and throwing the baseball with his son.
"Thanks for stopping the ball. I would not want my kid to run into the street for it."
Don wondered how long ago when he was that boy's age, playing catch with Papa Lothario. His dad may not have been the most responsible father to him, or husband to his wife. Yet Don still adored him as a kid.
"Do you have kids yourself?"
"No, but I will soon. In fact, I am getting married this very evening."
"That's great, man!", the man turned to Don with a smile.
Don was wondering what his old man would say if he was alive to hear that his son is getting married.
He would most likely cautions me against marrying the wrong woman, and then goes on another of his tirade about how a woman, like Don's mother, would promise a man love yet gradually turn into a nagging old hag.
"I should get going, or my wife-to-be will raise hell about my being late. Adios."
"You take care."
Don looked back at the pair of father and son one last time before walking away with a smile on his face. He made a mental note to grab a pair of baseball mats and a base ball between picking up the rings and the cake. Dina might be pregnant with a girl, yet Don was determined to raise a son.
Later that evening, Don Lothario and Dina (Caliente) Lothario tied the knot in a small wedding reception at their back yard, after a heavy snow storm that departed as quickly and suddenly as it came.
The wedding, however, was not without slightly complications.
Don's old love, Katherine Langerak still could not let go that Don had played her like a fool eight years ago, made her statement, and left as suddenly as the snow storm.