When he was a little boy, everybody called him “Frankie.” Now that he was in high school, he was called “Frank.” He used to tell his friends that when he became a corporate lawyer, his name was going to become the more refined “Franklin.” He said “after all. One of our presidents was named Franklin.”
He was well liked by everybody and was a real go-getter. When he was fourteen years old, his goal was to buy his own car the day he got his drivers’ license. He got a paper route and every morning he got up and delivered the news to the neighborhood. On the week-ends, he worked as a bag boy at the local supermarket. For two years, he worked and saved.
He hoarded his money like a miser. His parents had agreed to match the amount he saved. He had always been a good boy and they thought he deserved that bit of help.
On his sixteenth birthday he got his license and right after, his mama and daddy took him to the local used car lot. Frank immediately spotted a car. He walked over to it and said “this is the one.” It was a white convertible mustang with a fiery red interior. After a bit of haggling with the salesman, Frank became the proud owner of his very own car.
It was also the day Frank decided not to wait until he was a famous litigator to become known as Franklin. That car, he thought, was not suitable for someone who was called by a nickname.
He drove it home and called a few of his closest friends to come over and see it. When one of them touched it, he immediately buffed away their fingerprints. As his mama and daddy watched from the kitchen window, the pride they had in what he had accomplished, equaled the pride he had in his car.
There was a local hangout called The Middle Earth, where local teenagers met on the weekends. Franklin had only been a few times because he was usually working. There was music and dancing but mostly, it was just hanging out. A few teenagers would sneak behind the building and drink a beer, but not Franklin.
That weekend, Franklin decided to go. He thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show off his new car. He drove up and everybody gathered around to take a look.
When he went inside, he stayed near the entrance so he could keep an eye on his most prized possession but suddenly, his eyes locked on a girl who was standing in the corner. It was as if he had fallen under a spell and couldn’t force himself to look away. There was something about her. Something captivating. Something mysterious. He decided to go over and introduce himself.
Being somewhat dumbstruck, he used the typical opening line, “do you come here often” and hoped she didn’t notice him grimace at what he had just said. She smiled and said “no. This is the first time I have ever been here.” After he told her his name, she said “my name is Rose.” Franklin managed to get the words “that’s a beautiful name” out of his mouth before thinking she just might decide that he was a blithering idiot.
After a few awkward minutes, they both became a little more at ease and chatted for what seemed like hours. Rose said “today is my birthday.” Franklin said “then we should celebrate!” Rose asked how and Franklin laughed when he said “I don’t know. Maybe we should just talk some more.”
Franklin was clearly smitten. When the center was closing, he asked her if he could drive her home. He had it in his mind that when she saw his car, she would instantly fall in love with him. To his surprise, she said “yes.” As they were walking out to his car, she said that she was a little chilly. He eagerly offered her his sweater.
He was a little disappointed when she didn’t mention his car or fawn all over it like he had hoped. Still, he didn’t really mind. When he told her he would like to see her again, she smiled. They drove to her house and he walked her up to the door. He took a chance and gently kissed her. As he was walking back to his car, he felt like he was floating.
A few miles down the road, he remembered that not only had he forgotten his sweater, he had forgotten to get her phone number. He quickly turned around and drove back to her house. He knocked on the door. A man answered and Franklin said “I’m sorry to bother you sir, but could Rose come to the door?”
The man looked at him and said “what are you doing? Why would you do something this cruel? Franklin said “I don’t understand.” The man said “my daughter died a year ago today. Please leave my house.”
Franklin didn’t remember how he got home. When he was getting ready to go to church the next morning, he kept thinking “could this have been a dream? How could it have been so real?”
He didn’t say anything to his mama and daddy but they noticed that he was unusually quiet. After the service, he walked out of the church, just as he had done for years. He had never really taken notice of the cemetery beside it but for some reason, today he was drawn toward it.
As he walked along, he noticed a tombstone. A marble angel was bent over it as if weeping and placed over one of its wings, was his sweater. The tombstone read:
Gone Too Soon From This World.
Franklin never told anybody about what happened. He became a successful attorney and every year, he visits a certain grave, in a certain cemetery, on a certain day and leaves a dozen roses on the wings of an angel.
To be continued____________________________