“If I had to guess, you have about 10 to 15 minutes of living left to do. That’s a gift in my book, not many people are given the satisfaction of knowing how much time they have before, well you know.”
Everything was imagined from mythical beasts to majestic feasts. Yet he could not conjure her, even in his own memory. She would not appear in his imagined world.
I put her clothes from the hospital in the hamper and sat on the bed. What were all those forms I needed to fill out? What were those phone numbers I had to call? Why did I put her clothes in the hamper?
I was terrified to breathe. What I had considered a burbling brook a few minutes ago seemed now like a turbulent vortex. It started to rain.
Let us remove our shoes and walk upon their dung to feel the earthly wisdom that is excreted from their nether regions. Let us hold golden goblets to their golden showers and drink of their peace.
“Right. It was singing but it was the combination of a chortling bird and an opera singer. Like Andrea Bocelli Gargling mouthwash or Placido Domingo trying to belt out ‘O sole mio while being water boarded. It was bizarre.”
She watched the viscous gold ooze out of each pore and drip onto the ground, down the tines of the fork and onto her hand. The sensation of the collapsing comb beneath her hands force was satisfying. Like popping packing bubbles or pressing a gigantic pimple before it popped.
Then some priest was like, I’ll pray about it. For all we know he’s still doing that.
She wiped it off her chin. He wiped with a towel. The crew struck the set. The director took the footage to the editor. The talent got dressed and drove off in separate vehicles.
The man pushed the tines of his fork into the base of the T in his steak. The woman scooped out a piece of chicken with her hands, dipping it into her dressing before taking the whole bit in her mouth.
The women, looking for their men would kneel in front of the waters edge and submerge their heads under the waves. This is where they heard the steady beat of their loved ones hearts.
I flagged down the waiter for another Sangria and sat, trying to figure it out. All this raw emotion and rush of feelings but I was alone. In younger days it was easier to identify my feelings. This is happiness. This is regret. This is anger. As I grew older, the feelings tied themselves to memories and experiences, making it harder to untangle one emotion from another.
I took a long pull from the cigarette. With no filter, the smoke punched a hacking cough out of my lungs. I choked it down to hear the rest of Father Ibsen’s sermon.
Flat-nosed. Ears like used tinfoil. Arms, legs and a neck like chiseled stone from a sculpture still in progress.
I walked in the front entrance of the institution where crazy lived. Outside crazy was called normal. Inside it smelled like rubbing alcohol. In the waiting room, everyone’s hair was shiny and thick. The bags under their red eyes reminded me of how I felt every morning.
“Hair! You’ve lost 37,564 hairs from the top of your head BUT you gained 63 hairs in and around your left ear and 59 hairs in and around your right. You had an increase in your nose hairs, both in number of individual follicles as well as girth of each hair.”
Above his head he held the words which were meant to give his life purpose, the words he was meant to obey.
In this dream walked a procession, four deep. They had come from the hill shaded by the Samanea Saman tree at its summit. They walked; the Cloaked Ruby leading her troupe, stretching and yawning at the sky.
“Excuse me?” she said.
From behind me the tertiary constituent in our sad procession towards frozen dairy spoke up.
Each country had their slight variation on liquor and coffee. Caffeine to wake the body and whiskey to have a nice day, nothing spectacular, just a nice one.
The man pulled a Mason jar full of water from below the counter and took a swig. His eyes bulged, his cheeks flushed red and he let out a puff of smoke before replying, “well, if you are camping alone, I recommend a pup tent.”
One packet at a time he sprinkled the salt in a circle around his tent. Satisfied, he took the bag from his mouth and stepped inside the tent.
Suddenly my being floated and my world of black exploded into a million pieces of light and color. I floated, my lungs burning. My eyes squeezed tight but the light still stabbing through.
Peter had seen something on TV where a guy used one magnet to move around another magnet that was on the other side of a wall. That feeling of nostalgia was like that, a pulling of something that felt familiar but wasn’t seen.
then maybe would be like standing in between two large mirrors, trying to peer past your own reflection to see the something, but only only staring into possibility, the maybe.
After the golf session, about 15 minutes of screeching tires, broken glass and honking cars, he drove down to the nicest restaurant in town.
You do your best to keep the ball in the air. You drop it a few times while doing your hygiene routine but pretty soon it becomes second nature to keep the beach ball in the air.
We passed a display with all sorts of symbols. The Christian cross was pointed out as another symbol of irony; a torture device used by the Roman Empire became the symbol of a supposedly peaceful belief system.
I heard people talk about the hippy octogenarian. They say things like “It’s easy to be peaceful when you never try to do anything” or “You don’t get peace without war.”
I sat on the edge of the check-up bed, my bare ass sticking to the thin paper they pull over the top to stop cross-contamination.
She reached the steps of the temple and started to climb. At the top, a figure dressed in yellow robes appeared. She hoped he would have a bowl of rice and maybe some sake.
“For the follicular-ly challenged I have this hair powder. Mix with raw egg, a splash of gin and leave it on your head for two days.” said the medicine man.