An Honorable Man

As much as he loved being an EMT for the best city in the world, Frankle was more proud to be a life-long resident of New York City.  Every night, he went on his rooftop, so predictable were his actions, that you could set your watch by it.  Every night, 15411 Stuyvesant Avenue was the place to keep your eyes on, but don’t let him see you, believe it or not, he’s timid when it comes right down to it!

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One night, I was shaking my dust mop out the back door, when I noticed Frankle.  I figured that he was meditating and doing his yoga, but I noticed that he wasn’t sitting in his usual lotus position, he was simply looking out, over roof tops.  Nothing was alarming in his demeanor, so I knew that there  probably wasn’t a fire nearby, but did he seem anxious.

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When he had turned his head and seemed to look in my direction, I shouted out to him, “Everyting okay up there?”, when he motioned for me to come up to join him.  I put my mop back in the house, walked to his building across the street and pulled on last rung of the emergency steps to walk up to the roof. 

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When I reached the last step, he came over, reached to hold me while I traversed the gap for solid footing.  I noticed that he had been crying.  With his arm around me, we walked to a nice little set up, Frankle had brought up a bench, a lawn chair and a small table.  We sat down in an awkward silence. 

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I was the first to break the silence and brazenly asked him what was going on.  He broke down in a sob that I could hardly bear hearing him this way, and as I was reaching to hold him around the shoulder, he blurted out, “I’m going to die.  There is so much that I haven’t done, like go, would you believe , up to the top of the Empire State Building.  It’s not fair… it’s just not.”

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By this time, the sun was almost fully set and I said, “let’s go inside, I’m getting a little chilly.”

Frankle, like a robot, just followed me, but this time we walked to the emergency door so we could take the elevator down.  Frankle asked me if I’d like to come in to his apartment, I didn’t want to take up any more of his time, but told him that I would, only for a few minutes.  I didn’t want to abandon him, leaving when he was still so visibly upset.

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After three hours, a little wine and a whole lot of crying on both our parts, I made this promise to Frankle, “Every day, when you go to the roof, meditate on this, ‘I am lucky to witness such beauty and feel the energy that this city emits.  It circulates around all of us, but I want you to focus it onto you, onto my tumor.’  At the same time, I will be  praying for you.  Your life is not insignificant.”  We hugged, said goodnight and I went home.

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The next day, I was consumed with cleaning and cooking for my family, I didn’t think to call on Frankle. After having our Sunday meal, I told my daughter that I needed to make a phone call, and asked her to do the dishes.  As I was looking for his phone number, I noticed an ambulance parked outside, the lights were flashing, but there was no siren.  I quickly put my shoes on and ran out the door.  As I got closer, I saw the EMT’s gathered around a gurney, Frankle was nowhere to be found.  In an almost hysterical state by then, I asked where he was.  That’s when I heard a familiar voice, hardly a yell, but loud enough to hear Frankle say, “Remember what I told you?  How ’bout a date tomorrow, I want to see that darned tourist trap of an American landmark.  You up for it?”  Smiling and trying to shudder my fears away, I told him yes and “I’ll even buy lunch!” 

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Wouldn’t you know, we did this, and then some.  We visited ALL the landmarks, saw a few Broadway shows, heck, we even went to a ‘Comedy Night’ after a tough day of chemotherapy treatment.  While Frankle was dealing with his medical issues, he always had a hopeful attitude about himself.  He’s an honorable man, who wanted nothing less than to love His City. 

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He told me once that he wanted to be cremated.  I guess I am the one who thought his ashes should be strewn about Manahattan, he said that he liked that idea.  So today, I’m taking the helicopter ride that he had on his list, to make his wishes come true.

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~dld December11, 2010

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ThinkingTen Canvas Challenge

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3 responses to “An Honorable Man

  1. Wow…loved the story…beautifully written…had me hanging onto each section…loved the voice in this one.

  2. Thanks… this took some magic to get onto the page,
    actually had problems with the photo of Santa getting all mixed up with the story… but I pulled it throught those teeny-tiny holes in cyberspace and managed to get it in here, all proper and everything! I wasd thinking that this would be a good story to tell to a chld who is still young enough to appreciate the Magic of it all! ;-))

  3. It is very interesting. Thanks.

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