Friday, December 5, 2008

long after darkness invaded every corner of our country

The grass here is almost as tall as the cornstalks. I've done measurements. I used my eyes, narrowing the lids over them to make the calculation more precise.

In truth, what I've just said is in no way impressive. I'll be the first to call my own bluff. The fields are stubble, the corn is slowly rotting in silos, and the grass is browning and bending under the weight of the impending winter.

Mary walked over yesterday, two miles trespassing through dun fields, with a scarf wrapped her whole head like she was either a terrorist or someone terribly, shamefully disfigured. She carried a plastic bag that contained two jars of a jam, foamy white bread, and a flask filled with something awful.

Mary's still not over her stay-at-home-dad of an ex-husband, who, as she explains, "Went away 'on a business trip' three years ago and never came back. I try to think he was like some kind of sick dog who strays off into the calm, wild night to die somewhere far away, alone. Only this dog must have been a Hindu or something, because he was reborn with a new life in Chicago, and is remarried to an, no other word for it, really...public defender."

She talks about him at length, hopping from metaphor to metaphor to tame the redundancy of her diatribe. What she says is edged, not with anger, but jealousy.

Me, I came here to get away from that life. Him, he left here to embrace it. I feel like I'm emotionally arm wresting this stranger. We're well matched, veins show on our foreheads, but our arms just balance between us.

All I have to offer Mary in return are solemn nods and requests for her to pass the flask please just a little more please thanks.

Mary left long after darkness invaded every corner of our country. She wrapped into the scarf again and switched on a spelunker's headlamp to help her find her way through a landscape I'm not sure I'll ever find the courage to fully understand.

No comments: