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December 04, 2023

Dinner With Henry 73: The Longest Mile

By Bruce Memblatt

The sun had just broken over Delancey Street.

Winifred stretched her arms, yawned, crawled out of her crib and began to walk across the room. Diego and Henry were fast asleep in their bed on the other side of the crowded chamber. No one would have seen her if she hadn't tripped over her toy replica of the solar system.

Jupiter came falling to the floor.

And so did Winifred.

"Ouch!" she cried, causing Diego's eyes to shoot open.

Then Diego elbowed Henry (whose head was couched on her pillow,) and she whispered, "Henry, Winifred is trying to escape."

Henry's eyes were barely open. He yawned, squinted and croaked, "What?"

"Look, Henry."

Henry rubbed his eyes and they followed Winifred as she walked across the room heading for the door. "She's walking! That's amazing."

"That's Winifred," Diego said while she stood from the bed, pulling her robe around her shoulders, "Shush, let's follow her."

He whispered, "Shouldn't we ask her where she's going?"

"Let's just watch her, Henry, c'mon," Diego said, waving Henry out of the bed. Accordingly, Henry threw the blanket to the floor and pulled his robe around his shoulders.

Winifred walked through the doorway and down the hall of the small apartment that would take her into the living room; her tiny blanket hung from her hand dragging across the floor.

Henry and Diego stood at the bedroom doorway watching Winifred traipse down the hall.

Henry turned to Diego and said, "Maybe she's going to cook breakfast."

"Henry, she is too small to cook breakfast."

"I know, Diego I was just being ..."

"Stupid. C'mon let's catch up with her."

Henry and Diego rushed to the end of the hallway and stood at the entrance to the living room. By then Winifred was almost at the front door of the apartment, they watched, stunned, as she somehow managed to open the door. Did someone leave it unlocked? Then she scampered down the second floor hallway of the warehouse making her way to the elevator.

Henry and Diego were running down the hallway just as the elevator door closed.

"Shit!" Henry cried. "How did she do it?"

"The elevator door must have opened just as she got there," Diego said, staring at the closed elevator door.

"But who pushed the button? She obviously can't reach it."

"Sometimes the door just opens," Diego said, still staring at the door. "Not to worry, she's safe in there; she's probably on the first floor by now."

"You know, sometimes I wonder about your parenting ideas, Diego."

"Oh really, Henry? Tell me more, please," Diego said. Her pose became robotic.

"Your laxidasical attitude."

"My what?"

"You're too calm."

"There's no such thing, Henry. I am the coolest."

"Well, Miss Cool, are we gonna stand in front of this elevator all day?" Henry said, his hands on his hips.

"Shit, Henry why are we standing here? Hurry, let's take the stairs down!"

When they reached the bottom of the steps, mother and father were out of breath, father less so than mother due to his insect composition. They saw Winifred walking with her blanket in the middle of the hallway, unfazed, in the direction of Maria's office and the kitchen.

Henry began to run after her, but Diego pulled on his robe and said, "No, Henry, we've come this far -- let's just see where she goes."

"We've done enough watching. It's time to act!" Henry said while he tugged on his robe, pulling it out of Diego's fingers.

"Who are you, General Patton?" Diego said grabbing onto Henry's robe again.

"And who are you, Shakespeare?" Henry snapped.

Diego arched her neck. "Henry, trust me on this. She's perfectly safe. Stop being so anal,"

"I am not anal, I am cautious!" Henry said, watching Winifred scurry down the long white hall out of the corner his eye. He pulled his robe out of Diego's hand again and began to walk faster.

"Henry stop walking so fast, she'll see you."

"That's the idea." Henry shot back as his legs picked up speed. The photos on the walls became a blur in his eyes as he shot past them.

Not to be outdone, Diego followed suit and she was quickly gaining on Henry. "I hope you are happy, Henry. I hope you are! Mr. Bug Shot!"

"Don't call me that," Henry said.

"If the bug fits," Diego said, pulling on Henry's shoulder.

"So funny, not!"

"Henry, please slow down and let's just see where she goes!"

"No," Henry said as they watched Winifred scamper across the threshold to the kitchen. They stood out of breath in the door way. Winifred continued to scurry across the floor until she stopped at the table on the other side of the stove.

Then they saw Andre's hand lift her up.

"Hello, my little Winifred, you are just on time! I've cooked you pancakes just like yesterday but today some bacon on the side. AWWWW look at you! Cootchie cootchie COO!"

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-08-20
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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