He turned to Geneva. “I wanna be alone with her.”
Geneva nodded and closed the door.
Billy swallowed containin his sorrow. He felt that sudden grab that never left him alone when in Daisy’s presence, it wedded him to her like no other woman ever done. But he never seen her lookin so bad. She always wore make-up, fixed her hair, a real looker, presentin herself like a lady.
“You look swell, Daisy.” Course bullshit was like breathin for Billy.
“Liar,” she rasped.
“Ah, you gonna be okay. Bet you just layin there sick-like cause you want me to feel sorry for ya.” His jokin fell flat. “Everyone treatin you good? Geneva looks to be a right nice colored gal.”
“African American,” Daisy said.
“I forgit. Use black most of the time. Miss talkin on the phone but git your letters. You git my postcards?”
She nodded toward the dresser.
“I keep yours too,” he said glancin round the room that was good size even for a norm.
The window with open curtains let in light, and she had a small patio with a little chair and table right outside her room.
Everythin was make-do for her. The bathroom door was half closed and he wondered if that too was re-done.
“There’s something,” the effort to talk took her breath.
“Oh, I know you git religion and all,” Billy said, raisin his palms up. “You gonna preach, well I ain’t interested.”
“Well, can’t be just a good-bye. You too practical for that. So’s if you lookin for me to ask forgiveness for what I done to Mason or somethin, I ain’t gonna do it.”
Daisy rolled her eyes. “Stupid, old goat.”
Billy turned his right ear toward her. “Whatchu say?”
She shook her head. He’d seen that same scorn in her eyes when she thought he or Jack said somethin dumb.
Never did git use to livin in one place even after ten years. Guess when we die, we don’t have much choice. Glad I’ll be with friends, least my ole bones an all.
“I heard ya.”
He felt his cheeks burn. He done read her wrong, bet she never give that night another thought. Daisy moved on, while it tailed him the rest of his life. Billy blew troubled air through his mouth. He was angry at himself, lettin Daisy know that night lived with him right up to now.
“Took a portion of my social security check to come down to see ya, so’s whatchu want?”
She struggled to sit up. Billy come over to help but she shooshed him away.
“Open the top dresser drawer,” she said in a weak voice. “There’s an envelope—for you, under the garments.”
“You want me to poke around in your girlie things?”
Billy shuffled over to the dresser and crouched down first on one knee then the other. He saw pictures of Jack as a young man, another of Daisy lookin gorgeous in a black dress. He picked up one of the three of them together taken back in the seventies. “Look at us then,” he said, turnin to Daisy. “That was taken the day Abner’s magic trick backfired and the dove done flown out of his fly.” Haha, haha. Billy laughed hard bringin his butt down on the heels of his tennis shoes. He glanced over at Daisy, who smiled back at him. “We seen some funny things in our time, huh, girl?”
She nodded. “The drawer,” she said in breathy voice.
Billy jiggled it open. He saw her nighties, the sheer see-through fabric. Didn’t seem right him goin through her personals, he never so much as touched Daisy, she bein special and all. He put his hand under her clothes feelin the feminine softness till he reached the envelope. He pulled it out and shut the drawer.
Billy labored as he pushed off from the dresser to git to his feet. Once standin, he spread his legs apart to balance himself, he took his glasses from his pocket, put them on and opened the envelope. He found a paper. It looked all serious with a picture of a funeral home and a payment made for $8,500. He never liked showin how ignorant he was, and that defect git him into trouble sometimes, so’s he picked up symbols to help him along. He studied the words and pictures he knew, three plots, one taken. He looked at Daisy. She done wanted him buried with her and Jack. It touched him, she wantin him near her.
“I coulda used the money it took to buy this.”
“You would have wasted it on whores.”
“Hell, nowadays thinkin bout a roof that don’t leak turns me on more than a long legged hooker.”
Billy took off his glasses. “So’s that why you called for me to come?”
“I want you buried with Jack and me.”
“That’s mighty nice, girl,” he said. “Just thought the county would come take my ole body and cremate me or somethin. Didn’t give it no thought.” He stuck the paper in his back pocket. “Never did git use to livin in one place even after ten years. Guess when we die, we don’t have much choice. Glad I’ll be with friends, least my ole bones an all.”