When asked which apparatus he would prefer, he answered, “Truck.” His father had been on a truck. He had been a tillerman on the hook-and-ladder. When two fire apparatuses collided during a run, his father became pinned under the wheels of the engine. He spent nearly a year in recuperation. Ever after he carried tire marks across his chest and shoulder. The candidate began his training on Truck 66 in Uptown.
New work, from Issue 15: Mathilda Wheeler's "Sex Ed"
If Daddy listened, he would put down his paper. He would turn off the TV. He would look me in the eye. He would take off his reading glasses. He would not joke. He would not say, "For crying out loud." He would say, "What is it, Tilda?" And his voice would not be impatient. It would be caring. And if I said, “Nothing," he would say, "No. Tell me." He would know to ask, to keep asking. And then I could tell him. I could ask him. About boys. About rules. About Ted Sayer.