Druids Bringing in the Mistletoe, Glasgow Boys, Kelvingrove Museum, Detail

Millais, Mariana
Measure for Measure

Millais, Mariana from Measure for Measure

Jean Paul Lemieux

Jean Paul Lemieux, Nineteen Ten Remembered, detail

1910 Remembered, Detail

    The real test of a man is not how well he plays the role he has invented for himself, but how well he plays the role that destiny assigned to him.
    Jan Patocka
    1907 - 1977

Millais, Boyhood of Raleigh

Dear Frankie


Part 2A


Do you know something funny, Da?
  I think Ma knew you'd be coming.
  That's why she brought us here. I think she wanted you to find us.

I don't have much to add to the Introduction to Dear Frankie insofar as concerns the encounter between Lizzie and The Stranger in an upscale coffeebar.   Lizzie is out of her habitual surroundings;   The Stranger looks bad-tempered and possibly hungover.

We have no way of knowing how he has been coaxed and inveigled, shamed and browbeaten into this meeting, apparently the last weekend of his time ashore.   For Lizzie the tone bears more resemblance to a police investigation than to a romantic comedy.   She says nervously:—

Marie didn't tell me much about you.
  — No past, present or future. That's what you said you wanted.
There's an unmistakeable satisfaction in his tone.   Lizzie takes an envelope from her purse.
Frankie's letters to his dad ... And this is one of mine ... I make it all up. I've been making it up for years. I made up the boat. Saw the name on a stamp. How was I to know the bloody boat actually existed?

The Stranger is unresponsive to Lizzie's attempt to turn the situation into a joke. She goes into her purse again, removes a photo, hands it to him.

That's Frankie. Couple of months before his dad left.
It's of a small boy, little more than an infant, a happy child lacking the solemnity of the up-to-date photo of Frankie which follows. The infant looks so much like Lizzie The Stranger can't resist looking into her face to verify the resemblance. He gazes for what seems a long time at the photo of the younger child before turning to the photo of the older boy.
And this is him now. Frankie's deaf, but he's a champion lip reader.

At this point The Stranger begins questioning her in earnest, verifying Frankie's age and whether or not he remembers what his dad looks like or if he has seen any photographs.   Lizzie is adamant in her claim that Frankie neither remembers his father nor has seen a photo.

You must think I'm completely mad, asking a total stranger to do this. I don't know who the hell you are, but ... I'm asking if you'll do it. I don't have much, but I'll pay you what I can.
  — What time do you want me to be there?

We hear sounds from a playground, children cheering, and Ricky's voice:—

One day to go, Frankie boy.

. . .

[June 2006 text only]
    [WebPage last amended March 27th, 2012]


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