Fred and Ethel


By late stage marriage
most men want to spend their days

talking while most women just want to be
left the fuck alone! …

Oh jeez! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to do that.

Speaking of being


I’d like to tell you a story but, may I prefix my blabber with

a short statement before we begin.

There are two states of LEFT ALONE.

LEFT ALONE! by choice.
LEFT ALONE by circumstance.

With that in mind;

I’d like to introduce you to
Fred and Ethel Steen
married 40 plus years

both have needs that
after lifetimes

have yet to be
fulfilled ….. and yet … !

they have endured.

-Poor Fred-

I mean that literally!

Born to a poor family in a poor
Memonite neighborhood outside

Philadelphis his father a
bread baker, life was not easy

they spent way too much time surviving/  time taken ‘way from/  what it takes to know what “happy family” means …

He grew into the army by
17, went to war came home, became a
pipe fitter, married Ethel,

His favorite saying was always,

“That’s shit.”

Oh! Did I tell you?

Fred’s a bit older than Ethel

But not by that much.

She’s 70.
He just turned 100.

On another “Poor Fred” level …. “Poor Fred”

refers to his intense need and desire
to be loved just like

everyone else but,
without a clue how to

“do” it. or even what it
looks like!

The only way Fred knows how to
ask for or show affection is by

displaying aggressive behavior resulting in
the thing we fear so intently!!!!!

the vicious
circle !!!!!!!!!!!

There’s nothing worse than
being dragged kicking and screaming into

a viscous circle, it’s like
being tossed head first into

a front loading
washing machine.

I hate those things! I don’t even want to go there.

On the other hand …

Ethel just wants to be
left alone ……..

It’s sad that Ethel never fulfilled
Fred’s need for love.

I’m sure she tried and and tried but
she had to have given up a long time ago.

Sad but, here’s the rub …
Ethel will tell you they talk often.

Ethel’s words to Fred
are angry resentful words

dripping with finality after a
lifetime of frustration contained within

his presence.

Her voice an instrument she plays with
timbre and tone and volume

to convey her thoughts with words that ricochet off walls

-Their Talk-

Talk is not the language they speak.

Words strung together
carefully chosen words honed to perfection; constant reminders

words searing or sublime with anger
honed like sharp knives words …..

…… words chosen
reverberating with unknown vibration

words with more than meaning  …

words deflecting the tonality of ‘being. .

 from years of
non abuse, abuse casual abuse.

They forged the scars of their failures
into emotional exchanges using

word triggers that trigger words
triggering bullets of sadness, anger,
humiliation and

I’m glad I didn’t know Fred when
he was his “WHOLE asshole self.

-She’s Tired-

Ethel is tired of being a
caregiver to an abusive man.

She slams the door he
crashes his walker

against her door.

Sitting on the couch
that afternoon watching

The Pickers and
the Pawn guys

on the ‘boob’

Fred searched for words
to tell his story.

His fragmented thoughts came with softness

easy to bridge the spaces between
with meaning

his sad regret and wonderment,

his bewilderment wrapped ’round the confused meaning of
broken thought.

Ethel just wants time to be left alone.

So, Fred waits, mostly in private, a prisoner of his loneliness in
forlorn despair wondering what it is he still
yearns for

wondering if he’ll ever

get it …..

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comments (



%d bloggers like this: