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She was afraid of falling in the shower it was said. I understand the fear of the shower but for me it is more of a fear of being closed in. It doesnít keep me out of the shower however. I go in there every day. It is better to get it over with. I understand the falling thing. Being epileptic I have taken some epic falls, crunching my body this way or that. My mother took a fall three years ago that put her in rehab for four months. Was It three years ago already? Time moves so quickly.
She was afraid of falling in the shower it was said. I think it was the fall out of bed at the hospital that killed her. She was alright until that fall. Then came the ventilator. The ventilator seems to signal the end. If I ever wake up with a ventilator I will know I am a short timer. When they took the ventilator out she was gone in about three hours. The coffin was attractive and the funeral was short. It might have been my first graveside service. I am unsure. It was muddy and the ground was uneven.
The dog is visiting again. He spends much of his time sitting at the door wall staring into the weather. Now he is trying to cozy up to you as you do your exercises for your shoulder. You seem to have developed the same shoulder problem I have had. I donít complain about it anymore even though it still hurts. You will just make me do the exercises. A train rolls by and the dog barks at it. It is an interesting train with tanker cars and flatbeds full of telephone poles. And then the endless stream of hopper cars.
With the headphones I listen to things I would never play through the speakers with you around. I donít know why. It is not that I think you would be offended. There seems to be a private me that listens to certain pieces of music. In a little while today I will be making pieces of music. It is the day for my piano lesson and it is snowing. So I will drive the space that is usually a nice walk into town. I donít think I am ready for a lesson today. I donít have my pieces down well.
Itís something that likes To eat. Well Thatís how it started out. Now It just lies there on the floor. Itís a weight on my chest as if I were lying there beneath it. It slumped over me, melting into the carpet Like cheese on a hot burger. Well, I did say it liked to eat. I should be done here, my fingers All aflutter, finger pads drumming on knuckles. It is coming after me again. Not that it ever went away. It is just that Sometimes I forget and get some peace That way. Me listening to Moonlit Trees.
Iíve still got mud on my shoes From the funeral. Itís as if I had been infected By the cemetery mud, by the service, By the slick glow of the coffin. The mud followed me home and now Will not leave. It has slid from the bottom of my shoes Up around my ankles and my legs, Gradually covering my thighs and waist. Within a day it had covered my neck with that Slick glow and after two days my hair was Glossy from its sheen. Before the service I was pure, A pristine being. Now Iím a marked man.
Itís dark out now. My brain is running on dark time. Dark slides up to me like a slick moving vehicle. It reaches over to touch me and I recoil. Iíll not be touched by Dark, not today, not tonight. Dark will have to wait. He falls in behind me, following. He is patient this Dark. He is annoying. He keeps rubbing fenders with me as if he had an argument to pursue. He is obviously going to be with me for a while whether I let him touch me or not. Perhaps if I let him he would go.
My feet are cold. Hell my body is cold too. I think the room temperature is high enough and I am wearing two sweaters. There is no sense to this being cold. My hands hover near the heat exhaust on the laptop. The dog lies on the carpet. Or does a dog simply lay on the carpet? No. Everything lies on the carpet unless I lay something there. But back to the cold. It conforms to my body, trying to touch me like a lover, every part pressing against a corresponding part. This cold will not go away. Itís senseless.
The music is a great cavern of silence that soothes me jangled as I am this time of day. It is morning. It is always either morning or evening or midday. Not midday so much. I donít write midday. The music rubs up against me like a great shaggy dog looking for rubs and scratches. It insulates me from the cold outside. The insulation layer is so thin. Our society is so fragile. It could collapse in a day. My personal situation could change in a day and leave me cold and bleak. We all end up cold and bleak.
I erase everything and start over. I am in a woods in Ohio hunting squirrels with my father. Iím wearing a red hooded sweatshirt or is it the stock of my shotgun that is red? Possibly both. My father bought the shotgun for me I doní know maybe on my twelfth birthday. It was stolen many years later. I am in Ohio talking to my sister who wants me to write a book. A dove has landed on her driveway confirming her desire to make this happen. It doesnít work out because my style of writing doesnít mesh with hers.
I take a little break after dinner and before I go down to the treadmill. I donít want to get a cramp and drown. Seeing now the water surrounding the treadmill, the wavelets whipped up in the wind. Iíve heard drowning is not such a bad way to go. Personally I think it would be awful. I think all the ways to go are awful. Iím holding out for the forever youth pill they are about to invent which will make aging obsolete. Of course I wonít be able to afford it. When I was young I wrote about life.
It was cold and rainy for a dog walk. You were up for one though so off we went. Not too far though as it turned out. Perhaps the drizzle of rain was a little more than you had bargained for. We are back now, jackets draped over chairs, the dog rolling on the carpet to dry himself off. He was wearing that U of M jacket that he showed up in this time. I think he looks like an armadillo in it. His entertainment tonight is an opossum that showed up on the deck to scoop up the breadcrumbs.
Ronnie was walking past the old grocery on Main and Dugan Street. The lights were on inside, splayed out across the sidewalk. He was approached by a raggedy older man who asked for a cigarette. Nervous, Ronnie said he didnít have any cigarettes and moved to the side to get around the man, but the man moved the same way blocking his path. ďNot one smoke?Ē he whined. ďI told you I donít have any,Ē Ronnie said. ďI donít smoke.Ē The manís hands were moving in the dark shadows of his coat. Ronnie tried to see what he was doing.
Ronnie was walking past the old grocery on Main and Dugan Street. The morning light hacked the bricks into sharp angles. Sitting on the street, back against the grocery was the cigarette man. His legs were stuck out onto the sidewalk so that Ronnie had to step over him. His bare shins stuck out from his pants, blotted with blue patches and veins. He looked past Ronnie, out across the street. ďGot a cigarette?Ē he asked as Ronnie stepped over him. Ronnie was startled. He didnít answer, but kept on walking, on down the street, down past the stationery store.
Ronnie was walking past the old grocery on Main and Dugan Street. The sidewalk was wet with tiny puddles where stones had come out of the cement. The cigarette manís clothes were collapsed into the corner between the sidewalk and the wall. There were his black shirt and black pants with the belt still in them. Hst hat was there, leaning askew against the wall. His old black shoes were sitting at the bottom of the pant legs. Everything was there; just no cigarette man. Ronnie imagined the cigarette man running naked down the street. His white legs were flashing.
Ronnie was walking past the old grocery on Main and Dugan Street. The sun felt good buffering the cold air. He glanced at the pile of ash up against the grocery wall. It was in the place where the cigarette manís clothes had been, the same spot where he had sat leaning up against the wall. The ashes were damp with a few bits of paper embedded in them. Ronnie walked on past the drug store. He was wondering if he should have given the cigarette man something, perhaps a breath mint if not a cigarette. Anything might have helped.
Ronnie walked down the street past the small grocery on Main and Dugan. Max was standing on the corner, leaning up against the grocery. He was chewing on a toothpick and shoved away from the wall as Ronnie passed and fell into step with him. They walked along without talking for a while, past the drug store, past the appliance store. It was at the laundromat that Max spoke up. ďYou going to the game tonight?Ē ďNo,Ē Ronnie answered. ďWhy would I do that?Ē ďIíve seen you there before, Max said.Ē Ronnie sighed. ďI suppose so. It was a mistake.Ē
Ronnie walked down the street past the grocery on Dugan and Main Streets. He was thinking about the time he went to the football game. It was cold. He remembered that as much as anything. He remembered the weathered wood on the bleachers and the weeds growing up around them. He remembered the darkness and the feeling that he was somewhere he did not belong. He had a ride home with Mike McKenzie. The car would be warm and would smell of cigarette smoke. Ronnie did not mind the cigarette smoke smell. He had not yet learned to dislike it.
Ronnie walked down the street past the grocery on Dugan and Main. As he passed the drug store he heard the clank and soft thump of a bicycle coming up from behind him. The bicycle slowed as it began to pass him. He already knew who it was. He could tell from the sound of the bicycle that it was Greg Lee. He and Greg often played chess in Gregís room up off Route 36. Ronnie was not old or experienced enough to tell whether Greg lived in a nice house or not. To him all houses were utilitarian things.
We had a new president sworn in today. I cannot yet say with certainty whether he will be a good or a bad one. I cannot even say with certainty whether the last one was a good one or a bad one. It is obvious that the fourth estate does not like this one. And this makes it more difficult to see him clearly. The view we are presented with is somewhat smudged. Through this smudged view I am somewhat uncomfortable with the man, but then I am supposed to be. He is, like the last two, an experimental president.
The snow was falling heavily. It was in a hurry. Johnson was in a hurry too, pushing the old bus as fast as he dared on this back road. His Garmin told him he needed to turn right on Runkle road, but he wasnít sure whether this was Runkle Road or some farmerís drive. The Garmin seemed to indicate Runkle road was farther ahead and suddenly he was passing it, passing the Green sign that actually said Runkle Road, slamming on the brakes while the bus slid down the road. He got it stopped and fortunately there was no traffic.
Runkle Road was not the best way to go. The Garmin had said Runkle Road, but the Garmin didnít know about the weather, didnít know that Runkle road had not been plowed and salted, and didnít know that Runkle Road might never be plowed and salted for any good it would do. I would have known that had I thought about it but I didnít think about it. Didnít or couldnít? Was my mind starting to fail me that much? I drove down Runkle Road gingerly with my mother in the passenger seat. She was being kind about my driving.
I had to drive only about a mile down Runkle Road before hitting a main route, 235. Runkle was notorious for accidents when I was young. The intersection of Runkle and Jackson was always obscured by mature cornfields in the late summer and cars could not see one another coming. There was always little traffic and people tended to ignore the stop signs. So I was always extra careful about Runkle Road. I knew Mark Runkle. He was probably related in some way to the farmer Runkle Road was named after. I knew kids named after all the roads here.
My mother was telling me Mark Runkle had died. I checked out his Facebook. It had no entries for the past five months and I had just befriended him there about that time. She was a little vague about how he had died. Heart, I would imagine although I always envisioned him in good health. I thought about how my face book would look had I died. It would not look much different because I never added anything to it. You would have thought someone would have posted to his page about his death so his 600 followers would know.
This was how death was beginning to define me. It was slowly taking one by one the people I knew. I would be the last to go with no one left to bury me. That was ok I suppose. I was not all that keen on getting buried. There was something about being put that deep in the ground that weighed me down. Better to get burned up or to just decompose slowly in the woods with the animals knowing on you. Either of these options would hopefully be after I had died. I had no desire to burn alive.
The weather got better once I got the car onto 235. The road was clearer but I was still tense. That night there would be a news report of two SUVís involved in a head-on accident on 235, due possibly to the weather they said. The report showed pictures of the patrol cars and of the smashed up SUVís. I think one woman was killed, or possibly her daughter. I know I am mixing this up in my head with at least two other accidents I saw reported on the news. The Ohio state police with their Smokey-the Bear hats.
I worried the car down the Icy road, following the Garminís instructions. I was nervous. I felt like I couldnít see right and wondered if it was due to the cataracts the eye doctor had told me about. I wasnít sure the car would hold the road either. The tires might be old even though the tread had seemed alright the last time I had checked them. But had I really checked them carefully? I drove slowly, but not too slowly, just slightly below the speed limit. No one was passing me so perhaps I was doing the right thing.
We got to the nursing home without incident and found a parking spot right outside the door. My sister had assured me my father was in for good this time. Things would be changing with my parents as the spend down took all their money and then their house. Sis was unsure whether to let the nursing home take the house or to try to sell it. I didnít know what to tell her. I was too freaked out by this divorce my parents seemed to be getting, by them being in their nineties and so close to the end.
I felt all raw and jangly about my father being in the nursing home. How did my sister handle this? Was she just hardened to it by having worked in the business so long herself? There was constant theft of everything my father had. This went on every time he went into a nursing home and it happened at every nursing home he went to. You were eventually left with a bed and a toilet and a blanket. Maybe the thin blanket. I wasnít too sure about the blanket. I kept mentally putting myself in this place. It was unbearable.
I am unsure how the dayís energies will be spent. I know the day will come and go, will pass regardless of whether I have a plan, of whether I spend the energies well. I will pour these efforts into the futility, into the great perhaps. Just now I am taking a sort of break to quiet myself. I know there are things I can do today. I will play the piano. I can go up to my study and do paperwork, but I seem to avoid that. I am not sure why. I think I have always avoided paperwork.
Itís not enough. Whatís not enough? Itís not enough space between here and there to write one hundred words this morning. I need more space. What would you put into this space that you donít already have? I would put a í57 Ford. I would put a rocket ship. I would put a brick bungalow stashed behind twenty mature pines. But you have all those things in your head in one form or another. True, but there is not enough space to shake them out of my head onto the page. I almost said paper but itís no longer paper.
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