Abe Belinsky Like a Moth to a Flame Finds His Girl by Carl Schinasi
Spring is in the air. How do I know? I am at the local ballpark watching the kids play their version of our national pastime. I am minding my own business smelling the smell of the new mown grass and to keep from dehydrating, imbibing a coke. No beer is to be had at the kids’ games, which as our National Natterer of Right Doing, Martha Stewart, would say is “a good thing.” As rowdy as the parents get at these affairs a tipple or two of an alcoholic beverage might cause one or more of the respectable citizens to do damage to a coach, an ump, or a kid, an act that they would when the ether wore off, to put it mildly, regret. Most of these parents are decent people. It’s just that when they watch their offspring play adrenalin begins to work overtime and something unnatural takes place in these parents’ brains. On these playing fields I see many an incident where an otherwise well-behaved father jumps out of his skin averring his kid had been wronged.
Bending an elbow to sip of the aforementioned beverage, I hear the distinctive cry of the baseball loons: “Heads up!” This is as common a chant as any you will hear at the local ballpark, so I do what I usually do when I hear it. I ignore it. I am in the process of tippling my effervescent potable when WHOP, I feel a hard crack on my right ear. This is followed immediately by what by my best estimate would be a five-alarm fire set up house there. As my head is dropping from a pain that the poet might describe as exquisite, I see a lake of coke stream everywhere. I see also at that moment the noxious pill that gives me the whack dropped like a dead duck right in front of me.
I am in obvious and noticeable pain jumping around holding the side of my head when bodies come scurrying toward me. And the only thing these bodies are interested in is not “are you ok?” or “you seem to have a cauliflower growing from your head,” or “might you need emergency care?” No, all they can think to address me with is “did you see the ball?” which even in my handicapped condition, baseball fan that I am, makes good sense since the game must go on.
Now I am in increasing considerable pain when I feel a sticky substance oozing onto my hand. I fear the worst but look I must since not to do so will make me even more anxious. I place my hand in front of my face and what I see is what I thought. My hand is covered with a reddish goo, the said substance being no other than my own blood. I quickly clap my hand over my ear. Standing there now somewhat shakily on my legs I hear a voice inquiring of my physical status. “Are you ok?” I tilt my head with my hand now glued to my ear as I worry that if I let go it will maybe fall off.
It’s Doc Eberhardt who’s stopping to inquire. The Doc is a well-known local healer famous for his kindly touch and good work in the community. He takes hold of my hand to pry it away from my head. He’s telling me to take it easy, he only wants to see what’s in the works. He uses a little force and some reassuring because I am not inclined to part with my ear, which is what I am convinced will happen if I let go of it. So Doc Eberhardt who is a large man standing upwards of 6’2″ tall and weighing in at 220 pounds must almost break my arm to give the damage the once over.
Now docs are usually ones not to give away too much in a look especially if they see something that doesn’t seem kosher. The picture I read on Doc Eberhardt’s mug is not exactly a scene of daffodils and roses. As a matter of fact, I can detect in it a sense of studied concern leaning towards horror, and such a look being directed at me does anything but provide me with the Doc’s well-meaning reassurance. By this time I am hearing in my head a clanging and banging of many fire engines. Since no such vehicles on the way I assume there is something amiss. Doc Eberhardt gives this thought confirmation when he suggests, “we better get this attended to, NOW.”
He puts me in his car and off we go to the hospital with the speed of an ambulance but the only sound of sirens is the wailing coming from inside my head. Doc is so intent on getting me the necessary medical attention he does not think to respect the communities’ traffic laws. An officer of the law seeing we are taking too much liberty with the speed limit pulls us over. He approaches the Doc’s door as police are trained to do in such cases, asks for Doc’s license and registration and incidentally takes a look into the car. He sees me and immediately he ignores his own request of the Doc and sets us up with a private escort.
As it turns out I take quite a hit. I suffer a perforated eardrum and a mild concussion to boot. The ball makes a tear in my ear and I need five stitches. But everything takes an upswing when the emergency room nurse gives me a cheerful smile and one I think that signals something more than mere concern for my damaged auricle. It is the kind of look I take as an invitation to start up the old palaver. She is the kind of girl who as the saying goes is easy on the eyes and at that moment I give a quick thank you to God for the ball not taking my eye.
She administers the requisite shots and advices I down the pills she offers. She then surrounds my head with enough bandages to make me look like a dead ringer for one of the war wounded. I ask her name and she tells me it is Angellina (“with two ll’s”) Davina Levine a name that the first time I hear it even with bells and whistles doing a tour of duty in my head still sounds like music. She has a gentle touch and to look at her face makes me think it is more than coincidence her first name is Angellina. To listen to her voice as providential an instrument as the angels themselves must play just like that my wounds go into mend mode.
We begin chatting in a manner that is if you’d been there you’d know more than the usual caregiver and patient patter. I get the distinct feeling from the questions she asks, especially the one about how my wife will feel about my debilitated condition, she has an interest to know me more than in this professional situation. When I tell her there is no misses Abe Belinsky she puts on a smile that would make all the neon on 42nd street seem like it is shining in a fog. The long and the short of it is that to Angellina I’m like a moth drawn to a flame.
As I am leaving the hospital I tank any apprehension about what I am about to do and ask Angellina for her phone number. She takes up my hand in hers and out of curiosity I ask, “What are you doing now?” Angellina proceeds to write her number on the back of my hand and says sweet as you please, “don’t lose it.” This is a very funny remark seeing how to lose it I’d have to give up my hand, a thing I am not prepared to do. Her quip impresses my own risible sensibilities since I am always ready for a quick laugh.
As I say then, baseball fan that I am and even with this wound wringing my ear, I can tell you spring has sprung. Along with it comes for me the unexpected hope that April is not the cruelest month since there is now the flowering of something big between me and Angellina Davina Levine.