“Don’t ever die,” Frazier said to his father one year when he was eight. Frazier had heard it on an episode of the Wonder Years when Fred Savage told his father never to die. Frazier liked that line, he liked what it stood for, not that the father would stay alive forever but that the father would always be alive to Frazier. At least that’s how Frazier took it.
Frazier said this to his Father. Standing in their old living room, Georgia Yellow pine floors creaky under their feet, and looking out onto their old front lawn sectioned off from the road by decaying wooden planks with railroad spikes hammered through them. “Don’t be silly,” the father responded. “Everyone dies at some point, but don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.” He said this to Frazier without looking at him. The father stood there, hands in his khaki’s and looked out the window onto their lawn.
Frazier had a shark’s tooth once. He got it from a field trip to somewhere in 2nd grade. When Frazier was younger, he’d stare at it. It came in a plastic casing, the top of which was a magnifying glass of sorts. He would look down at the tooth, examining its contours, the calcified gray and black and white patterns of it and wonder where it came from. Wonder what species of shark it belonged to. Frazier would put it under the scrutiny of his eye, never once opening the case, never wanting to touch it, to feel it. Never wanting to hold it and examine it more closely. He looked at it through the filter, the safety of the plastic lens. Frazier doesn’t have the shark’s tooth anymore.
In the breast pocket of a blue wool suit that Frazier has never seen, that’s where the shark’s tooth is. In the breast pocket of a blue wool suit that he’s never seen and buried six feet beneath the surface in a plot of St. Augustine grass that’s shadowed by a Live Oak tree and surrounded by hundreds of replicated granite headstones that say the same thing but don’t. “I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.”