I’m on the rebound. I know that. Not just any rebound, but epic-love-reaped-eternally rebound. The Big rebound.
Still when I get a call from my mailman, Frank Renaldo, asking me out, I want to say yes, even though every ounce of logic within me says, wait.
It’s OK not to always follow the logical course. Sometimes, friendliness can help heal a sore heart.
We meet at the park.
“I’ve always wanted to get to know you better,” I say.
“Cathy,” he says. That’s it. Just my name. I can’t tell if he just doesn’t have much to say, or if he likes the way my name sounds.
“What, Frank Renaldo?” I ask.
“Frank,” I say back. “Renaldo is a really cool last name. Like ‘Renaldo the Fox,’ right?”
He laughs. “Oh, no one’s made a crack about that since grade school, when our class read the fairy tales. I got a reputation then. Guess it didn’t really stick.”
“I love those old tales of Reynard or Renaldo the Fox! Always tricking the rich or mean-spirited! Are you a trickster, Frank?”
“Hardly,” he replies. “I’m more like a wolf. Lone and loyal.”
At the word “loyal,” I start to tear up.
“What,” he says. “What did I say? Are you OK?”
He hadn’t heard about Dante. Nobody even really knew that Dante and I were a couple. Were we a couple? I mean, we were in love, but we weren’t engaged or anything. That makes losing him feel even weirder–like no one knows that his passing would affect me. I still love him.
“You know,” he says. “Let’s not rush things. It’s a a beautiful misty night. We’ve got this whole meadow to ourselves. Let’s make music, darling.”
He laughs and pulls out a portable keyboard from the back of his truck. He hands me an old leopard-spotted guitar.
And there, in the moonlit fog, we jam while the sky slides into the silver dawn.
Music grounds me. It makes me feel whole. It helps me remember and forget at the same time. It binds me to Frank with silver chords that feel light and elastic, like I’ve got room to run when I need to and like nobody’s gonna ask me to abandon what I found and what I lost.
When I finish playing, I realize I want to do that again.
“I love the way you play the keyboard,” I tell Frank. “We should make a band.”
“That’s a great idea,” he says. “I got a lot of pubs on my route. I’m sure I could get us gigs.”
“We could call it Fox and Cat.”
“Fox Whiskers and Cat Paws.
“Foxgloves and Catmint.”
“A Cat in Every Kettle,” he says.
“That’s weird,” I say, but I’m feeling happy in the tiny corner of my heart that isn’t ripped apart.