Sonny Ray crossed the lobby, and finding the elevator he headed up to his suite. He opened the door slowly, waving quietly with his eyes at his wife as she lay on the bed in her robe. Nikko had wrapped her hair in a towel, and had made a cotton ice cream cone with it. She had been reading a book, enjoying some down time as little Raye lay napping. Sonny Ray and his family did not come to Tucson often, but when they did he always liked to splurge on a nice room for his wife. Sonny Ray walked over to the bed, and gently kissed his daughter on the cheek. Raye stirred slightly which caused Nikko to frown. He came around the bed and sat down next to his wife. She sat up slowly, and Sonny Ray kissed her gently on the mouth. She responded wrapping her arms around his shoulders. “Ummm,” Nikko purred. “Hi stranger, what’s your name?” Nikko asked in a mock sexy voice. “Well that depends,” Sonny Ray said with his little boy smile. “Oh, and what would that depend on exactly?” Nikko asked, more than mildly interested. “Come here and I’ll show you.”
Nikko’s robe slowly slipped open, revealing her firm and supple breasts. Her coffee complexion was smooth and as soft as silk. Sonny Ray placed his hand at the small of Nikko’s back, and pulled her close. He kissed her gently at first, then firmer as she unbuttoned his shirt. He groaned within himself. It had been over a week since they had been together. Nikko saw her daughter move ever so slightly. Sonny Ray froze. Nikko nodded in the direction of the bathroom. As Sonny Ray stood up Nikko wrapped her legs around his waist. “Should I grab a pillow or blanket?” Sonny Ray whispered.
“You plan on taking a nap?” Nikko asked smiling. “Not exactly.”
“We can use this,” Nikko said as she unwrapped the towel on her head. “That’ll work.” As Nikko closed the door she checked to make sure her daughter was okay. After only a few minutes there was a little girl knock, at the door.
“Mommy?” Sonny Ray banged his head on the side of the bathtub. “Mommy is coming, I have to, uh, mommy coming right now.”
“Well that makes one of us,” Sonny Ray whispered, rubbing his forehead. Nikko smiled. “Sorry.”
Nikko tied her robe and closed the bathroom door.
Sonny Ray was up early. He quietly made his way to the bathroom, to shave and shower while his family rest a little longer. Sonny Ray stood in front of the sink in his towel. He stared into the mirror for a long time. He knew this day would sequentially come, but he remained stunned that it actually was here. People die everyday. He began to wonder if something was wrong with him. He recalled that he had not cried or shown much emotion when Stewart had called with the bad news. As a matter of fact he didn’t cry very much at the hospital when his father died. He hadn’t shed a tear at the funeral home either. Today however, was the day his old man would go to rest, and be reclaimed by the earth. His father, a veteran of the Vietnam war, had requested a military funeral. Sonny Ray finished brushing his teeth. He looked up again into the foggy mirror. Sonny Ray was already regretting not visiting his father. His dad had just asked him when he was going to come visit him. Asked him a month ago maybe. His dad knew he didn’t have much time. He knew it.
Time. Time was not to be trifled with. Death always had the vacancy sign on.
Sonny Ray could never….
He glanced at the mirror once more. Suddenly Sonny Ray was two years old again. It was his dad who had rescued him when his mom had burned his feet. It was his dad that saved the family when Stewart almost burned the house down in Japan. His dad had patched him up more times than Sonny Ray could remember.
He knew his father.
his dad would explode in a rage, screaming, cursing, slapping, intimidating.
Then there were times when his dad was a hero, a savior, a protector, a patcher upper. Regardless; he was always there, and now he was gone.
His dad, the old man, his father, his pops had gone, he had gone, and like the story goes; they never got to say all the things that needed saying. Sonny Ray was overwhelmed. He felt weak and vulnerable. The tears were almost a surprise to Sonny Ray. Noiseless at first, then a small cry escaped his lips, and then another. For the first time in a long time he wailed in grief, for his father, for himself; for the universal sting of death had rent his soul in two.
Nikko was awakened by his cries, a wailing she had never experienced before. Sonny Ray had tried to muffle his anguish by crying into a towel.
Nikko quietly slipped in the bathroom door, and held onto her husband.
She held onto a man, who had never cried this way in all the time that they had been together. Today was really the day that he would say goodbye. That knowledge stabbed Sonny Ray to the heart.