Today is Frank and Frankie’s 35th anniversary.
Years ago, when Frank found the first gray hair on his head, he added a porch to the house. Where they lived, up north, they only had a few good months of warm weather, so a porch wasn’t the greatest investment. His wife let him build it anyways; she knew it was more of a distraction than anything else. He loved her for that. Francis and Francine celebrated their 29th anniversary a week after Francis finished building the porch. Their love was a kind of long lasting love. The kind that others modeled their own after. Ever since high school when their friends told them how cute they would be together, Frank and Frankie. This small spark burst into a raging fire that carried them into old age.
They were married in mid-July, when it was warmest outside. Their wedding was extraordinary. Friends still reminded them of how much fun they had that night, nearly thirty years later.
Francis still remembered that night. They had been so drunk that Francine was constantly afraid of vomiting. He told her that they could spend the night in the bathroom, curled up together in the bathtub. Francine never got sick, and the newly married couple slept past the flight to the honeymoon the next morning. Francis still remembered how much they had laughed that morning. Even when the second flight was approaching, Francine didn’t want to get up from the tub.
Today, Francis is in the bathroom, tearing down the shower curtain. He tosses the plastic aside and begins to pull on the tub. It grinds and groans against the floor, leaving a trail of scratches in its wake. He drags it through their bedroom. Then through the hallway, the kitchen, and finally out to the porch.It was a cold day for July. The sky was littered with puffs of white that the sun had not managed to break through during the day. As the sun set Francis climbed into the tub and watched the horizon. The sky brightened with deep oranges, red, and purples while behind him their house remained dark and empty. He wasn’t sure what he was waiting for, but he knew it was coming.
Written by Matthew Buckley
Photograph by Arlo Perez