I don’t know why my father cries. I asked my mother and she said to take my little ten-year-old tush into the living room and ask my father. He was watching a ball game with his beloved Tigers beating the hated Yankees. During the commercial, after I got him another Schlitz, I said, “Dad, can I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” he said. “Ask away.”
“How come you cry so much?”
He looked at me and his happy Tiger face morphed into a sad no hitter face and the tears began to flow—slowly at first and then wracking sobs. He handed me the Schlitz and walked into his bedroom and closed the door. I could hear the springs on his bed and his low moaning working up to loud wailing and I ran out of the hall to my mother who was in the kitchen.
“Dad’s crying,” I said. “He was okay until I asked him why he cries so much.”
“What did he say?” Mom asked.
“Nothing, he started crying again.”
A car horn blew and mom checked her makeup, adjusted her dress and put on her hat. “Don’t wait up for me,” she said and ran out of the house and down the walk to the waiting Buick. She hopped in and the man in the car hugged her and she gave him a long kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck.
They drove off and I sat down to watch the game but I was too sad so I finished the Schlitz and went up to my room, lay on the bed and, feeling like my father, the tears started coming.
Paul Beckman was one of the winners in The Best Small Fictions 2016! His latest collection of flash stories, Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press) is available on Amazon. He has been published in: Literary Orphans, Matter Press, Spelk, The Lost Balloon, Gravel, and Pank. Paul had a micro-story selected for the 2018 New Norton Anthology on Microfiction. He hosts the monthly FBomb NY flash fiction reading series in KGB’s Red Room.