Pete Armetta

Posted on May 21, 2012

1


Way Back Then

“Josh,” he said. Josh looked at him through raging eyes. His temper, plus all his years of frustration and anger and confusion, were just welling up inside him again. Josh looked at Grandpa and said, “I’m going in there and telling her what I think! I’m sick of always being treated this way!”

Josh left the room, big feet pounding the carpet, and headed towards the kitchen. Grandpa followed behind somewhat gingerly, well no, just quietly really. Grandpa was used to this ongoing fisticuffs, so he knew it would be helpful to be close at hand, just in case he could help, or at least soften the blows and the tears.

And that was from both sides.

Rosie was doing the dishes in the small, hot, cluttered kitchen. The radio was playing her favorite music, that old country bluegrass that she just wouldn’t give up. The water was running and the puppy was playing in the corner with his chew bone, one from the big bag that the animal shelter had given them for free, being that they were struggling so hard. She didn’t hear Josh walk in and stand behind her. “I told you I’m going out!” he yelled. I’m sick and tired of you keeping me in here like some caged animal!” he said, making sure that she heard him over the sounds in the kitchen.

How could she not hear him, with the bellowing boom that was his voice?

Grandpa was standing in the door of the kitchen, just watching. And waiting. Rosie turned and was visibly shaken by Josh, like she usually is. She wondered where all this came from with him, and was at her wit’s end again. It’s all just too much, she thought. I’m going to lose my mind, she thought.

“Josh,” Rosie said. “Just stop it Josh,” she muttered. Josh looked around, red-faced, eyes bugging, and picked up a bag of flour from the counter. He strong-armed it against the window. The smash of it breaking led to a moment of quiet.

Grandpa walked up between them, looking at Josh. “Son we’ll clean all this up later, no worries.” he said. Looking at Rosie, tears streaming down her face, he said, “We’ll take care of this later Momma, don’t you worry.” Looking at Josh, Grandpa took him by the arm. Josh flinched and resisted, then eased.

“Let’s take a walk outside,” Grandpa said.

Through the back door, Josh and Grandpa walked towards the shed. Grandpa sat down on the park bench, the one that Johnny, Josh’s father they think, made for them years ago right after he was born. They hadn’t seen Johnny since the accident way back then, but they, like most people, all carried on the best they knew how. Josh sat down next to Grandpa, then stood straight back up, chest heaving. Grandpa looked up at him. He’s shot up like a string bean, Grandpa thought, he must be up to at least 190 pounds now, all brawn and boy he is.

Josh looked down at Grandpa. He said something profane under his breath, eyes tearing but stern. Grandpa got up and went over by the side of the shed and picked up the two fishing poles. One that he’s had since he was young, and the other that he bought Josh two summers ago, when he first taught him to fish.

“Come on,” Grandpa whispered, handing him a pole. Grandpa started towards the path. “Okay,” said Josh. Josh trailed behind down the path to the pond.

The same pond where Grandpa had learned to fish.

***

Pete Armetta is an emerging writer of Flash Fiction, Short Stories and Poetry. With a unique writing style that’s accessible and broad, Pete is the consummate Outsider and self-taught. For this he doesn’t fit in any specific category, and doesn’t want to. He believes much can interfere with the genuine and authentic voice we all have inside, where we yearn to express ourselves as honestly and directly as possible. Currently applying for Fellowships and residencies for 2012, Pete is based in Charlottesville, VA and now writing full-time. He gave up the “corporate slog” job and lifestyle to dedicate to pursuing his passion and honing his craft.

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