Friday, May 11, 2007

The Visit - Part One of the Khalil Series

The Visit – Part One of the Khalil Series
© 2006

Khalil is loosely based upon my own grandfather, who lived to be 99. He lived to the last with my grandmother in their own home. Family and friends were always dropping by to visit. Their house, and especially their kitchen, still hold special memories for me.

Characters: Khalil, a man in his early 90’s; Joe, a man in his 80’s, the husband of Khalil’s late cousin, Marion

A kitchen with a table, two chairs, a coffee pot, two coffee mugs, and an old black-and-white TV with rabbit ears. An outside door is visible.

(Khalil sits at the kitchen table, watching TV.)
Door bell rings.
(Khalil slowly rises and shuffles to the door. He is limping. Joe is waiting behind the door.)
Doorbell rings again.

Khalil: All right, all right. I’m coming! (He opens the door.) Joe! Come in. How are you?
Joe: Oh, fine, I’m fine. I was walking this way, and thought I’d drop in for a visit.

Khalil: Good. May isn’t home, so I can’t offer you lunch. Would you like coffee?

Joe: I just ate lunch, so don’t worry. Coffee would be good!

(Khalil limps noticeably back to the table.)

Joe: The gout again, huh?

Khalil: Yes. I hate it. It makes me feel like an old man.

Joe: (laughing) Well, Khalil, you are an old man. What are you now, 91?

Khalil: 92. I know. But I still hate it. You’re almost as old as I am – why don’t you ever have the gout?

Joe: (laughing again.) It’s because I don’t have a wife anymore to make me the rich food! It’s what causes the gout, you know. (His mood sobers.) I miss my wife, Marion. It’s been fifteen years, and I still miss her.

Khalil: I know. She was a good woman. She was my favorite cousin.

(Joe sits at the kitchen table. Khalil pours them both coffee, then sits down, too. They watch the scratchy image of a baseball game on the TV.)

Joe: Still watching the baseball games on this old black-and-white TV, huh?

Khalil: Got a color TV in the living room. This one’s fine for in here.

Joe: True, (He reaches over and adjusts one of the rabbit ears.) That’s better.

Khalil: My eyesight’s so bad, I can’t tell, anyway.

Joe: Well, this game isn’t worth watching. New York is down by 5 runs. They’ll never make it up, not the way they’ve been playing this year.

Khalil: So. What’s new? How’s church? Since my gout acted up, we haven’t been able to walk there. Are Reverend Smith’s sermons any shorter?

(They both laugh.)

Joe: No. But you know, they already harvested sixty pounds of tomatoes from the community garden. Sixty pounds! They took some to the homeless shelter, and the ladies are going to can the rest, for the Christmas bazaar.

Khalil: Sixty pounds! That’s good. It’s been a good summer. Hot. Tomatoes like sun.

(They sit quietly for a moment. Joe glances up at Khalil a few times.)

Joe: (quietly) Khalil. We need to talk.

Khalil: (standing. He speaks in a worried tone.) What is it? Is the cancer back?

Joe: No, no. It’s not the cancer.

Khalil: Your heart? Is it your heart?

Joe: No. Well, yes. Well –

Khalil: I knew it! You shouldn’t be eating all those meals out, Joe. It’s not good for you. I knew it would hurt your heart. What does the doctor say?

Joe: The doctor doesn’t say anything. Khalil –

Khalil: The doctor doesn’t say anything? I was watching a show on TV last week. The doctors are supposed to talk to you. They are supposed to tell you what’s wrong. It’s not like the old days. You need a new doctor, Joe. I can ask Albert, he’ll know –

Joe: Khalil! There’s nothing wrong with my heart!

Khalil: Well, then why did you say there was? (Sitting, putting his hand on his heart.) You know, Joe, I’m an old man. You shouldn’t joke with an old man. My heart will stop.

Joe: Khalil. I need to talk with you.

Khalil: About what? You need to talk with me, you keep saying. What do you need to talk with me about?

Joe: I keep trying to tell you –

Khalil: Then tell me!

Joe: It’s about a woman.

Khalil: A woman?

Joe: Well, yes…there’s this new woman at church, Khalil. She’s a widow, and moved back here from Chicago. We went to school together, she and I. She married a teacher and moved away. But he died, and now she’s back.

Khalil: OK, so there’s someone new at church. Is she joining?

Joe: I don’t know. She hasn’t been here that long.

Khalil: Well, I wouldn’t ask her to join a committee yet, then.

Joe: Why would I ask her to join a committee?

Khalil: Well, maybe she’ll serve coffee during coffee hour. Is she interested in helping with the kitchen?

Joe: How should I know? Why are you talking about this?

Khalil: You’re the one who brought her up!

Joe: Khalil. I brought her up because, well, I’m…interested.

Khalil: You’re interested? In what?

Joe: You know. In her. I’ve been thinking, maybe I should make the moves on her.

Khalil: The moves?

Joe: Yes. You know, ask her to dinner. To a movie. I don’t know, what do people do these days?

Khalil: What do people do what?

Joe: When they’re dating!

Khalil: You two are dating?

Joe: No! Not yet. But…I think I might like to. She’s a very nice lady, Khalil.

Khalil: But you’re old!

Joe: I’m not so old.

Khalil: What do old people do when they date?

Joe: I don’t know! That’s why I’m asking you.

Khalil: How should I know? I’ve been married for sixty-four years. We don’t date. We don’t even talk, mostly.

Joe: Khalil, please. You have to help me. I can’t talk to anyone else. You’re family. You have to help me. What do ladies like?

Khalil: I don’t know. I was watching a movie last night, and the guys there seemed to think ladies liked men’s backsides.

Joe: Men’s backsides?

Khalil: Yes. They said women liked a nice backside.

Joe: (looking down at his backside) Oh. That could be a problem. I don’t think I have such a good backside. What do you think? For a man of my age, maybe?

Khalil: Don’t ask me. I don’t even want to think about it.

Joe: I don’t think Esther is that kind of woman. I don’t think she would look at a man’s backside. Khalil, do you think I should invite her out for dinner?

Khalil: Dinner sounds expensive.

Joe: I don’t care about expensive. I just want to talk to her. But I don’t know what to say.

Khalil: Too bad May couldn’t date her. My wife May would know what to say. May never shuts up.

Joe: Maybe I could invite Esther here!

Khalil: Here?

Joe: Yes, here! Could I do that, Khalil? You know, for lunch and coffee? May could do the talking, and I could spend some time with Esther. Could we do that?

Khalil: Well, we should ask May. But I bet she wouldn’t mind.

Joe: Khalil, you’re a life saver! Thank you!

Read more of Cherie's fiction: CLICK HERE

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love this story. Can't wait for
the next one.
Love, Mom