Nicholas Jordan’s eyes closed.
The harsh sound of the rainstorm outside of his room at the McLeary Rest Home threatened to make its presence known inside of the building by its wild slashing of the wind through the branches of an old oak tree. The noise of the thunder did nothing to arouse Nicholas Jordan from his bout with unconsciousness. The darkness behind his eyelids was occasionally disturbed by the electric flashing of his synaptic nerves. The only things that mattered at that moment to Mr. Jordan were the images which played on the screen of his resting brain.
“Come on, Nicky, let’s head down to the river and do some fishing.” A voice from his childhood brought up the image of his best childhood friend, Davy Collins. He felt the warm sunshine of the spring day tickling along his skin and he quickly picked up a slender tree branch that he planned to use for a fishing pole. Once he had his pole, he hurried his pace in order to catch up with Davy. After ten minutes of walking and, occasional running, the sparkling light, hitting the skin of the water and a few rocks, drew the two boys to a clearing along the bank of the river where they sat down, took out of their pockets some fishing line that they lifted from their fathers’ creels, and began their competition to see who could catch the biggest fish. Every time that Davy and Nicky got together there was always a friendly competition; neither boy objected to it, it was just something to make their time together more interesting. Once the boys had their poles strung up, they took a couple big rocks and positioned the poles in between the rocks and laid back on the warm earth under the shade of some aspens.
“My dad says that if President Kennedy doesn’t decide to attack the Commies in Cuba, we could have another big war,” Davy said.
“Why does your father think that we should fight the Commies?”
“Because if we don’t, they could use their atomic bombs and blow us all away.”
“What do you think?”
“Well, I’m not sure what a Commie is, but I think that we should bomb them first.”
“Maybe the President won’t use our bombs; maybe he’ll be able to talk them out of it.”
“I don’t think so but…oh, look! I got a bite!” And then Davy jumped up, grabbed his pole and started to pull it back and forth just like his father had taught him.
Another image interrupted this scene. This time, Nicholas Jordan was getting dressed in his rented tuxedo. It was the night of the Senior Prom and Cyndi Kostermann was going to be his date. He had been very unsure about asking her to the dance, but his friend Davy had pushed him into asking her. Davy had been dating Cyndi’s best friend, Jean Collier, for the last three months and Jean had suggested to Davy that he get his best friend Nicholas to ask Cyndi to the Prom. Jean figured that it would be a good idea if two pairs of best friends went to the Prom together. While waiting for his mother to finish tying his tie, Nicholas thought about what might happen that night. He sort of knew who Cyndi Kostermann was but he had never really spoken to her.
At the same time that he had finished getting his tie done, he heard Davy honk his car horn. Since Nicholas didn’t have his own car yet, all four of them would be going together. Nicholas walked quickly out the door so that he wouldn’t be embarrassed by his parents, opened the front car door, and told Davy to drive.
“Well, this could be our big night! Did you get a corsage for Cyndi?”
“Yes. Let’s just go.”
“Hey, if things go as planned, I brought a little something for after the prom.” Davy said, then, from the inside of his tuxedo jacket drew out a joint.
“Are you crazy? What if they do a pat down at the door?”
“Don’t worry about it! I’ll leave it in the glove compartment and they’ll never know.”
Nicholas had tried pot a couple of times with Davy when he had studied over at Davy’s house before his parents got home. They usually did their homework quickly, then turned on the stereo and listened to Led Zeppelin. Nicholas would smoke with Davy but he usually didn’t smoke as much. He told Davy it gave him a headache.
The prom was a distant memory, clogged with feelings of excitement and disappointment. After high school, Davy enlisted in the Army and got Nicholas to join with him on a buddy system. They were both stationed at Ft. Hood, but, luckily for them, neither one had been sent to Vietnam. Davy was sent up to a station in Alaska and Nicholas was assigned to a base in Naples. A year after the official end of the Vietnam War, Davy was reassigned to Ft. Benning in Georgia while Nicholas was honorably discharged and returned home to go to Community College. The two friends kept in touch and, when he had some leave time, Davy would get together with Nicholas for a few beers.
Three years before Nicholas was put in the rest home, Davy was found dead by his wife in their garage. Nicholas was in total shock when he received the news, not understanding how his best friend could take his own life. Nicholas thought that he knew his friend so well, that they could talk about anything. After the funeral, Nicholas returned home and was found the next day by his fiance on the bedroom floor. He had suffered a stroke. His fiance and his mother (his father had been killed in a car crash six months earlier) found a place for him to stay; after being in the home for a year, and not improving, his fiance returned her ring to him.
The strobe flash from a lightening strike outside illuminated Nicholas Jordan’s room. The main brunt of the storm would be over in an hour or so, but it wasn’t an event of significance to Nicholas Jordan. Nothing would ever be of significance to Nicholas Jordan again.
Crash! A second after Nicholas Jordan passed away from his earthly woes, an old tree branch, which had been struck by the last lightening bolt, crashed through the window in his room. When his nurse ran into his room to check on the noise, she found the leaves on the branch had covered Nicholas’ body like a blanket and she saw that there was a little smile on his face.
Written Jan. 15/16 2012