Search For Tomorrow

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Search-For-Tomorrow
She knew as the station interrupted her

afternoon show, “Search for Tomorrow.”
She thought at first it was a test, but
Russian Carriers were close to Cuban shores.

She sits in her spot, picking at her
hotdog she boiled on our stove top,
while I opened up my peanut butter
sandwich, my fingers gently pulling
apart American bread.

She stopped chewing her hotdog when a
bulletin interrupted her show –
now – her plate nearly empty – in her
mouth she chews slower, her last bite.

“He was shot, our President was shot,” she
talked out loud. She stood close to the
television kept off the ground with loose legs
while my legs kept moving across rough
red carpet, my white socks turned a lighter
shade of pink.

“Now back to Search for Tomorrow.”
Mother sat on the sofa, wiped her face,
crossed her leg’s and seemed relaxed once
more, it was her lunch hour. She told me,
“It was just a mistake.”

We both walked into the kitchen as I watched
green dish soap drip onto her empty plate; a
dish which soaked in the sink until dinner time.
Then she returned to work as I walked back
to school.

“Bulletin,” she heard on the radio, it was some
man named Walter Cronkite – mother knew
before he told the world, she knew our
President was dead.

She told her boss she wouldn’t be back for
the rest of the day then sat in front of that
television screen; blew on her glasses and
cleaned them with her shirt. She told me he
kept staring at the clock, Mr. Cronkite – as if
that was important, not the notes scattered on
his desk. Later, I watched the man who told
the world our President was killed, he was nervous
like me when I am told to go to bed. He kept
playing with the papers on his desk, and kept
staring up to his giant clock, as I would do in
school.

He spoke slow, his voice muffled, and he
stuttered when he spoke – I guess he hated to tell
the world that “John F. Kennedy died,” once
again he glances at his watch, then at the clock,
his head looks down at a piece of paper – he
clears his throat, he sounded like he wanted to
cry – “Following a gunshot to his head…”

So many years have gone by yet they play that
same tape, of Mr. Cronkite interrupting mother’s
show, “Search for Tomorrow.”
I never heard him say, “I will return with more
news as it comes in.” Cronkite removed his
glasses and cleaned them like my mother, on
his shirt, placed them back on his head.

He struggled with his posture, his voice; words
would not come out like when he talked at
dinner time. This was what people said, as he
lifted the last notice, a tear streamed down his
face – and even though it’s just another repeat,
I glance to where mothers sits, she is crying too.

She leaves the parlor, walks into the kitchen,
and glances at the clock – I looked too – then
she said it’s time to leave – as if we all relived
the day from it’s beginning to its end. Mother
puts out her Chesterfield, and asked if I wanted
a ride to school. I reminded her it was
Thanksgiving vacation – and she lived the
entire process of life snuffed out in a moments
time.

“Remember, no playing outside until I return.”
I had rules – the world was changing – parents
afraid of change; their young boys were being
shipped off to war, like before, wondering who
would be the last to return.

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