All right. This is it. There will be no backspace key, from here on out. There will be no sitting at the keyboard staring. I shall type, and I shall speak, and my voice will be etched in the firmament for all tiem, typoes and all.
Such is commitment. All of life holds fast, breath quiet and expectant hush o’er all, waiting for what I might wrought. Wright? Right.
There are, someplace, petunias in the rain, this evening, and the cold air, clammy about each bright trumpet, cannot cool the passion each holds. Listen –
Somewhere there is a boy. He is four decades old, hardly a boy by anyone’s standards, but he has turned away from everything that he’d been clinging to as correct and just, and was made innocent again thereby. And a girl. She was an autobiographical manifestation of the universal redhead, and she liked flowers.
I am so bored. I am so tired. I am so not finishing this.\\
Is this a warm-touchy story? a mmoment oftruth story? Is this just a record, duly noting that which has been and letting the pieces fallwhere they might, let the reader (if I ever permit one) to make his own morals?
Shall I pick the moral? How about: There is nothing that does not touch us, nothing that fails to change us, and the touch might be so light as to be insignificant, but the change is there nonetheless.
Examples? There is a beach somewhere with scrabbled footprints on the facing cliff, several fossilized snails missing near the top. Another cliff, and the footprints are of different men at different levels, where they stood to pass a boy down from a hidden shallow cave. There’s a grinning man that smiled reassurance and felt far more solid than the rock the boy was clinging to. I can still see him, but I can’t hand him a beer anymore. I miss him.
There isn’t a story in me right now. I don’t know where they are, or where they’ll be when they come back. I know they’ll be back. I’ve seen ‘em come, I’ve seen ‘em go. Don’t know why. I’m tired, I’m bored, I’m fussy and I want so much and can’t find it and want to cry out that i can’t have it, but I know it isn’t true. I can have it all, I can do this, I
There’s a boy.
He climbed. Climbing was romance, was excitement, was driving far above the wishing stars, and somewhere up there were dreams that couldn’t be seen from lower down. Trees could be climbed. Rocks could be climbed. There was always just a handhold higher to go, and the fear would grow, for dreams are high and the fall is hard, and he would always go just as high as the dream could draw him before the fear pulled him back.
Then would come the descent, sometimes inching backwards one gasping breath at a time, sometimes resting in place for minutes befor ethe next inch, until the fear was sated and the dreams called again. Then,though, the ground was right there and it seemed silly to go up again right away.
No matter what was climbed, what bravery shown, there was nothing there, at the top, the dream was hidden and must be just a handhold higher — and who could go that high? There was nothing to take to the breast and hug with joy, just the inching climb backwards.
Then there was a new thing to climb.
There was a cliff, with a face that rose yards into the air, and, just from a certain angle, a cave. A cave! Adventure, glamor, mystery, exploration all in a crevice set in rock, twenty feet above the ground.
Steady hands and sure feet found purchase, and the fear was moving too slow for this ascent. He was int hecave before the fear could notice, and the handholds were all used up. The cave was a tragic disapointment,though. It was the merest dimple set int he rock, not even enough ledge to lay down on without curling up in a ball. No cracks, no marks made by neolithic hands, no skeletal remains of the artist, no glint of diamond or ore. The boy, not really disappointed, turned to go back down.
The fear was in the mouth of the cave.
The ground lay an impossible distance below, infinitily far away, beyond comprehension, unattainable. The boy felt heavy, felt sick, couldn’t turn from the fear and couldn’t go down facing it. Descent was simply not going tohappen — death was there, and even at that tender age, he could feel it.
After an hour or two one of the boy’s friends saw him on the cave’s lip, saw the distress,and went for help.
Daddy came. He climbed up and tried to talk the boy down. No doing, there. So he went away, and came back with several of his friends, and they all climbed up, todifferent heights.
Daddy was at the top.
“Put your arms around my neck. Hang on.” He was smiling just as he always did, warm and happy and relaxed and not at all worried. The rock stopped swaying, the cliff was suddenly solid under the solid presence of Daddy. He climbed down for both of them, and, when theclimb became precarious, gently lifted the boy off hisneck and huggedhim, one-armed.
“This is okay. I’ll be down with you in a minute.” Then he passed the boy down to the next man, and the next, and after four men the boy was down. The ground did not seem to welcome, the fear was nowhere. The rock never moved. Even as he was passed down, the boy was touching Daddy,and the world was a solid and safe and warm place, smiling and relaxed.
It still is. I just told a story.
Crossposted from Epinepherine & Sophistry