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Turn Around, Frank. Look at Me.


Harry Buschman

How warm the night was. It felt more like summer than spring, and after the passing shower on Bleeker Street, there was the solemn promise of a long and lonely weekend in May. God Almighty, did she ever have the blues! Had she ever had them as bad as this before?

And Frank – he turned out to be like all the others. Took her for granted that way. The last four weeks they had been like fencers –lunging, thrusting. Each of them wanting desperately to hurt the other without hurting themselves, until finally, here on this rainy cross-town street she reached up and touched his face, (that face she knew so well) and said, "We better not see each other any more, Frank."

She didn’t mean it, but she had to say it. It was to keep the last few coins of self-respect she nursed inside her. What good would they do her now?

She hoped he would argue, maybe even ask her to forgive him, "I know I've been selfish, Holly – let’s turn the page." But no, he’d never say that – not Frank. He just straightened up, settled his hat down a little firmer on his head and walked away. She watched him go, thinking maybe he'd turn around and look back at her – he wouldn't have come back, that would be too much to hope for. But if he had only turned around to look at her – just that little bit – In her heart she told herself if he only did that one little thing, she would have run to him – as she had so many times before.

Then she lost sight of him in the crowd. The wet shiny raincoats, the black umbrellas swallowed him up and hid him from her. God Almighty, did she ever have the blues.

Piano, bass, drums and a girl singer. "Here's the "Alouettes," just in from Ottawa after a smash engagement at the Royal Vic." Good thing no one ever looked closely into that "smash" engagement, or Frank's heroin conviction for that matter. Not that it would have made any real difference down here in the Village, but they get antsy when the piano player doesn’t show up – especially the piano player. The piano holds the whole thing together.

What would he do now? Out here in these wet streets? Somebody will come up to him and give him the glad eye and a two finger kiss. His eyes will light up and whatever the price is, he'll find the money to pay.

Oh Frank, Frank, if only you had turned around to look at me.

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