Roscoe moved up in line to the bank teller, and he rattled the withdrawal slip in his hand. The teller did not regard him until she saw his name on the paper. Her posture changed from the tired Monday morning employee to the snapped attention of a soldier. Roscoe slid the slip to her and tapped her hand gently.
"I have no need for a manager, it is just a small transaction."
He smiled at her and she looked back at him with the face of a subordinate that had to follow protocol.
"If you have to go get him, it's okay."
The teller waddled off and got the manager. Roscoe watched them talk behind the glass walls. He wondered what these people did in those offices. Suddenly the whole bank was a buzz with the news that he was there. He had not been there in so long that he wondered if any of them had ever seen him in the flesh. Surely he had been the subject of a meeting or two. They were always trying to set him up appointments with investment bankers and financial planners. That made him laugh, if they were so smart with money, why did they need to mess around with his?
Roscoe interrupted the manager and smiled disarmingly.
"Please, don't make a fuss. I just need to make a withdrawal. I don't want all this attention. You are doing a fine job, I am happy with the bank."
He looked down into his hat unable to stop the flow of emotion. He didn't deserve this attention. He hated that feeling of tears forming. He was so familiar with their arrival and yet every time they came he was surprised and nervous. He hated being treated like a man that was important. He was rich quite literally by accident, the one that took his Lilly from him. He felt a single tear break away and run down his face.
"Would it be possible for you to put into that file of mine, that I do NOT want to meet the manger every time I make a transaction? I just want to withdraw a few dollars. You have my withdrawal slip. Here is my license. Please, (his hand was shaking as he held out his license) just let me come and go like anyone else."
The manager was now flustered and Roscoe felt the inevitable twinge of guilt. He hated any confrontation. He hated to be singled out. He loved more than anything to not be noticed at all, to live within his thoughts and to pass the time. He only enjoyed talking to people that knew nothing of him. To be mistaken as just another man was his life's greatest ambition, but there would be none of that today.
Roscoe hit the stack of bills sideways on the counter with a crack and turned to leave. As he walked to the door he tried to force the bills into his money clip and it broke in two. The money cascaded out of his hands and fell like leaves to the floor. He knelt down and began grasping at the bills and the broken pieces of the his favorite souvenir. He looked at the hand painted mountain scene from Germany and the piece of the broken gold clip. He let out a stifled groan as he stuffed the wreckage of the bills and broken pieces of clip into his pocket. He shuffled out of the bank in an embarrassed rush, lost his balance on the curb and fell to the ground. He caught himself on one knee and his right hand. He slowly rose again and staggered toward the car. He started his car and reached for the ivory gear shift knob. He paused and looked at the picture on the money clip again. The tears fell out of his eyes now and rolled off the wool of his coat. The tellers and the manager watched from he window of the bank and Roscoe felt like an animal in a zoo. He was an oddity and had been since the moment his Lilly left this earth. He was a living ghost that his God had condemned to wander among the living. He could not die and to live was a Herculean struggle. He tried everyday to keep moving, to help people, and to build things, because Lilly would be mad with him for giving up. He knew living alone was the price he paid for his sins. He tried to put the pieces of the clip together in a desperate exercise of denial, hoping some miracle would mend the one keepsake he cherished above all others. He gently put the pieces into his breast pocket and eased out of his space until he heard the honk of a horn. He was startled and scared and just wanted to get away. The angry driver yelled something as he eased his old bug out into the impossible traffic on North Monroe Street. He back tracked through the neighborhoods to Miccosukee Road. Passing under I-10 far from town, he finally started to feel at peace. He and this old car were not meant for these hurried times. They were built for slow country roads and trips with out time limits.
He pulled through his gate and got out to lock it. It was already cold and the seasons first hard freeze was rolling in with the setting sun. He locked the gate and looked out over the grass towards the tree line. God, she loved the sunsets. Lilly would have made him wait till the sun was down. She would have made him shut the car off and look. She would have held his hand and looked at the sky and he would have watched her instead. He loved the way she captured special moments. She never let him forget the beauty of this life. She taught him how to notice things and how to slow down. She left him with a gift he could never forget and now every sunset or flower or first cold wind of the season, was a melody that sang her name. She was everywhere he looked and he could not spend one moment of life without thoughts of her and what she would say about everything in his sight. Sometimes he would hear a distant noise in the house and for a split second (before he remembered she was gone) he would get a respite of relief. Other times, when he was watching TV or laying in bed, he would smell the faint hint rose water. He would close his eyes and not move. The aroma of her perfume would waft over him, slowly fading back into the coldness of being alone. It was in these solitary mirages, that he felt her gently leading him forward, like a light on the horizon.
Lilly climbed into the car and clasped her hands together which was a clue for Roscoe to pick a hand. He tapped her right one and she giggled and turned it over to reveal the gift.
"Now you will never forget our visit here or last night!"
He put his hand on her leg and slid up her skirt. The pattern of her stockings rippled under his fingers and he moved the fabric just high enough to see the beginning of her underwear. She looked around and then back at Roscoe. She put her hand on top of his and she watched his face as he looked down. He adored every inch of her and she loved to see the wonder in his eyes when he looked at her. She leaned in and kissed him. He held her face and then let his hand drift down to her coat. He slid an index finger in between the fabric and moved it away so he could see inside her shirt. He was addicted to her and helpless. He was unable to be aware of anything except the thought of her skin and her body. It was if they had just made love seconds ago and the memory of being tangled together possessed him. He could not think of anything else but the hidden parts of her. It was as if he knew a secret about her and the person she was when she was naked. He wanted to trigger the other woman that lived inside her. He needed nothing, not sleep, food or air. He only needed to be inside her again and enough light from the fire to reveal the magic of her. He strained to remember every curve and texture of her. She moved in closer to him and breathed in his ear. She held his hand tighter and neither one of them wanted to move, ever again. They wanted to stay in this blind haze of love forever.
"There are no more rooms here and we have four hours of mountain roads in between us and Austria. Why do you torture me? Please Roscoe, you have to stop. You are making me crazy, we have to drive. Please baby. You know its too bad we don't have one of those vans. We could pull over anywhere we wanted, draw the curtains and put out the fire. But you bought this bug and it is ALL your fault."
Lilly teased him and giggled, but she never pushed him away.
He leaned away and looked at her again, suddenly aware they were in a small gravel parking lot. They laughed and held onto each other. No one had ever wanted him like she did. He never knew he could make a woman feel the way he made her feel. He never felt like he was trying anything with her. She wanted his hands on her, like he was the answer to all her dreams. He felt pure and safe for the first time in his life. He looked out the window and then back at the money clip. He put his cash in there and realized he would remember this moment, and how he loved her for the rest of his life. He started the car and headed up the long Bavarian road out of the valley. He could smell the rose water and hear the gravel crumbling under the tires.
The fire crackled as Roscoe's hand let go of the wine glass and he gave in to sleep. The TV tray swayed slightly under the weight of his arm. The last few red drops eased out and rolled over the clip and the three thousand dollars. It stained the bills and the painted mountain scene, finally forming a puddle by his wrist.
Roscoe mumbled in a whisper.
"I love you Lilly.......Lilly...."
Roscoe drifted off to sleep. He was in Germany. It was a beautiful day for a drive to Austria with his Lilly.