The Bug Man

Kim used to go to Yoga Saturday mornings.

She’d squint at the clock ten minutes before class – five minutes after she should have left.

“Oooh,” she’d say, “I’ve got to go.”

“Have fun,” I’d say.

“You should go meet with the boys,” she’d say.

The boys.

The group of guys I’ve met with off and on for more than thirty years. I haven’t joined them very often lately.

Maggie’s had a Saturday morning commitment that ended this past weekend. Each week she’d stop on her way out of the house and ask me what I’m doing.

“Waiting for Jerry,” I’d say.

“He’s not coming,” she’d say.

“He might,” I’d say.

She’d shake her head and leave.

We’d meet at noon at the gym.

“Did Jerry come?” she’d ask.

“No,” I’d say.

“I’m shocked,” she’d say – not looking shocked at all.

Jerry is the “bug man”. That’s what he always says when he walks in. “Bug man’s here.”

He’s our exterminator. He comes four times a year on a Saturday morning around 11.

I never know which Saturday. Kim always tells me. It’s one of the remaining open threads after she died. Got to be here for the bug man.

I didn’t know what weekend he’d be coming. Kim hadn’t put it on the calendar. I couldn’t really remember what weekend he came last time.

There’s been so much static on our phone line we can’t even tell who left a message, let alone what that message was.

Don’t worry. I had that fixed this week.

Jerry usually called Kim to say he was coming. We don’t have her phone. I don’t know if he called or not. So week after week I made sure I was home on Saturday around 11.

This weekend I told Maggie I wanted to go up and have coffee with the boys.

“Fine,” she said.

“Can you be here for Jerry?” I asked.

“No,” she said, “that’s stupid. He’s not coming.”

She had a point. It’s been more than three months since Kim died so it’s been more than three months since Jerry came. He would have come by now. Still.

“Just give me fifteen minutes,” I said.

“No,” she said, “you’re like that mother in those World War II movies who waits by the front door, knowing that her son is coming back from the war. He’s not. Her son is dead.”

“What?” I asked.

“Dad,” she said firmly, “Jerry isn’t coming.”

“Fine,” I said, “can you just give me fifteen minutes so the dog doesn’t have to be in her cage?”

“Sure,” she said.

So I went to meet the boys. We talked about life we talked about death. One brought a Life magazine from 1939. I paged through it. The articles were amazing. The ads were something else.

My phone buzzed.

I glanced down and saw a text from Maggie.

“Jerry’s here.”

Published in: on December 5, 2016 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

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