Frank inhaled the morning air as though it were the first time he’d ever taken a breath. But it seemed appropriate to take in all the aromas that were wafting through the air. The different smells made all senses tingle and he liked it.
As he walked down the steps of his apartment building, his landlord waved to him from her window, where he assumed she sat all day. She was a friendly old lady, and quite inquisitive about her new tenant. So he was glad that he’d rehearsed the facts about his new life to the point where even he believed that he had been an army brat and traveled the world with his family; when in actuality he grew up in South Carolina and had never traveled anywhere outside of his hometown.
The hustle and bustle of the streets and people around him was a welcomed change of pace. He liked the idea of being able to get lost in the crowd and not having someone recognize him as Earle’s boy every time he went into town. His new home offered him anonymity and for once in his life he appreciated the fact that he wasn’t anyone special.
The chance to reinvent one’s self didn’t come along often. So when the opportunity presented itself, he ceased it. His mother cried the day he left, but he promised to call often and come home for every holiday.
To commemorate his second official day in the big city, he decided to go downtown and eat breakfast at one of the many restaurants he’d learned about from watching the food channel network. He knew that made him seem more like a tourist than a resident, but he didn’t care. It was his life and he could live it however he wanted too.
As he exited the subway he couldn’t help but smile and say hello to the people he passed. He may have changed his name, bought nicer clothes, and moved to a new city, but that didn’t mean he had to change the way he treated people.
As Frank approached the diner, he heard a loud commotion coming from a side alley. He slowed down to take a look and saw a woman being mugged by two young boys who couldn’t have been more than sixteen. Then woman began to scream for help as the two vandals took off and were running towards him. Seeing as how his new persona, Franklin Jones, had recently resigned from the secret service due to being shot in the field and tired of being on desk duty, he crouched low and prepared to tackle the teenagers as they ran past him. And somehow he managed to grab the one carrying the purse, and swung him into the brick wall of the building. He struggled to get free as he screamed profanities as he watched his friend leave him behind. But his slender frame was no match for the six foot four and two hundred twenty pound body restraining him.
A store owner came out and told Frank that the police were on their way. And once they arrived, Frank and the woman gave them their statements about what had taken place. Frank watched in amazement as they hauled the young man away, and couldn’t help but beam with pride knowing he had saved someone from what could have been a life and death situation.
“If you hadn’t come along, no telling what else might have happened,” said the woman as she thanked Frank again for his bravery.
“I was just doing what came naturally,” he said, trying to remain cool as the young woman smiled at him in a way no woman ever had.
“When was the last time you had a home cooked meal, Mr. Jones?”
Frank thought a moment, not quite sure how to respond. His mother had cooked for him before he left, but he knew that wasn’t the correct answer to give.
“Do hotdogs and hamburgers count?” he asked hoping to make her laugh.
“No it doesn’t” she replied laughing softly. “Well, I am going to cook you dinner tonight and I will not take no for an answer.” She quickly wrote down her name, number, and address. “I will see you at eight,” she said as she placed the piece of paper into his hand.