Wally Listens

by Peter Cherches

It's January 27 in Norman, Oklahoma, and Wallace Stanton, eighty-seven years old, Wally to his friends, thrice married, thrice widowed, now alone, sits in a tattered old armchair, holding a seashell to his ear, the left one, the good one, from daybreak till nightfall, just sits, shell to ear, waiting. It's January 27, and Wally listens to the shell, just as he has every January 27 for the past sixty-two years. January 27, Wally's anniversary, as are April 14 and June 11, but January 27 was the first one — Wally's first wife, Wally’s first love, Amanda. January 27, the day they married and the day she died, one year later, their anniversary, a vacation in the South Pacific. January 27, the day she drowned. January 27, the day on which, every year ever since, without fail, without explanation, though wives two and three, Christina and Jane, certainly must have asked, Wally listens.


Peter Cherches blogs about food and travel here.