Franklin wasn’t sure if he felt better or worse after he talked to Hunter.
He stopped by the cemetery on his way back to the office. Memories of Rose were flooding his mind. He had never told a soul about what happened. He had thought about telling Gwen but it had just been so strange, he wasn’t sure she would believe him and even if she did, he wasn’t sure she would understand his emotional connection to Rose after all these years.
His mood was subdued when he got home that night. He felt a sort of peace but at the same time, an even greater sorrow. He tried to dismiss his thoughts as he and Gwen talked about the upcoming special occasion.
Frankies’ sixteenth birthday was that weekend and he had gotten those days off to get his drivers’ license and then go look for a car.
The Middle Earth had been transformed into an Arcade. Teens would go there and play pinball and stand in line for a chance to play Pac-Man. Frankie had plans to drive his new car there to show it off to all of his friends, just as his daddy had done back in the day.
On his birthday, Franklin and Gwen took Frankie up to the dealership to meet with Hunter. As soon as they pulled in, Frankie said “that’s it! That’s my car!” He was looking at a fiery red GTO convertible with white leather bucket seats.
When they went inside, Frankie could hardly stand still long enough to shake Hunters’ hand. He wanted to talk about “his” car.
It was a muscle car and it came dear but Franklin reminded Hunter of his promise “to take real good care of his boy.” After a little negotiating and a little extra money from Franklin and Gwen, Frankie signed on the dotted line and his dream car belonged to him.
There was just one little problem. There had been an error in the title work and it would be the next week before Frankie would officially own it.
Frankie was disappointed that he wasn’t going to be able to drive it home and even more disappointed that he wasn’t going to be able to show it off to all of his friends, who were expecting him to bring it to the Arcade that night.
When they got home, Franklin noticed how downhearted Frankie was, although he was trying hard to hide it. Franklin looked at him and said “how about you go tonight and take the ‘stang’?”
Franklin had never let Frankie drive the mustang but he thought this was a special milestone. Frankies’ eyes lit up as he said “really?” Franklin said “there are only a few rules. Drive carefully, no drinking and you need to be home before midnight.” Frankie hugged him and said “dad, you’re the greatest.”
Frankie hurriedly got ready and he was almost as excited about getting to drive the mustang as he would have been about getting to drive his own car. As Franklin tossed him the keys, he said “remember.” Frankie enthusiastically said “I know, dad.”
Frankie had called his friends and told them about his car but then told them that his daddy was letting him drive his mustang. As Franklin watched Frankie get in the drivers’ seat, he was taken back in time to when he got in that car for the first time.
Frankie drove the mustang up to the front of the Arcade. His friends were as excited about seeing it as Frankie was about being able to drive it. They ran their hands over the sleek body that didn’t have a scratch on it and then teased Frankie about the old-fashioned radio that Franklin had never replaced.
Frankie parked it and went in the Arcade. Just as his daddy had done, he stayed close to the door so that he could keep a watchful eye on the car…but suddenly, his eyes locked on a girl standing in the corner.