Excerpt 52

The phone call came about eight in the evening. The caller introduced himself as a friend of my father’s. He got my telephone number from Robert’s handsome, German, blond draftsman.

Henry lived in Dell, Arkansas, and was a gentleman farmer. He wanted to talk with me because he was about to die (congestive heart failure) and missed my father terribly.

“Robert taught me how to look at the world,” Henry explained.

“I learned so much from him,” he said. “I remember looking at photographs of Russian cemeteries in a book that he gave me. When I was in New York, I spent hours at the Frick and Metropolitan Museum looking at paintings that your father told me to visit.

And he did so much for our little town; the downtown area is lovely because of the plantings and fountains that your father suggested for the town square.”

My father gave to his male lovers everything that he denied from me. Robert never ever had such conversations with me.

Then Henry proceeded to describe in intricate detail the interior decoration of our house in Frenchtown.

Spooky! How much time had he spent there? “Is your mother still alive?” he asked.

“She was really scary,” he stated matter-of-factly.

“Still alive. Yes, she is really scary,” I agreed.

We talked about forty-five minutes. I never heard from him again.

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