The if and when

Another day left on keeps blinking on the brain while the Goodman riff chimes. The water is cool, the fragrance of the South East breeze down the pipes, the bottle gurgles, lips wet. If and when he’s gone, will anyone wonder, take time to look, interested in words here or anywhere, or then just pack it up and stow it? No cloud, no blog post, no auditorium of souls remembering, just an obit, the eventual shoe print in gravel rain will soak away, unrecognizable. Would the cul-de-sac recall his morning shadow as he strolls one last time, cup in hand, for the wood shed half empty, half full.

The Solomon Seal buzzed in the grey light, a bee bumbling for pollen. Maybe that is all we are, or less, like bees bumbling for purposes we imagine, even less a forager than once when digits were eager to meet berries and the Cecropia caterpillar was found.

Remember what you’d miss, were it whisked away one afternoon in the lucky time sunshine, and the anamnesis of childhood plays your sepia tone twilight. Those smoke bush leaves glow in the parting sun as a kaleidoscope through limbs and leaves descending, turning those red leaves to bright amber then back to shadow, evidence of the turning world. Breath the end of May’s evening air traded with the grateful green.

His thoughts had been cynical. He told himself he was becoming misanthropic in his sense of pointlessness but his heart lifted when he saw the bunting and the cardinal. People could be such asses and he had to be crazy, too, but then, unable to tell anyone the difficulty, at least he had not expressed his frustration with Laurie. He felt that might be nobler, delay confrontation, if the disappointment didn’t take hold, especially if he didn’t know if it was he or she. There is always equal blame to go around.

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My father fell from the bed. With a loud, but cushioned thud against the carpet, that seemed to make all the walls of the room pulsate, he fell onto the floor, now hacking, and gasping.

My mother slid across and jumped off the bed, and with her feet on the floor now, too, grabbed and tried to lift my father’s arms up with her own, attempting to help bolster his entire body up.

‘Duo-duo, come help!’ she yelled.

I had propped myself up on the bed on my left elbow, staring at them. I froze for a second. Just then, my head seemed completely empty of all thought and emotion. I was certain, I am certain, that for a second, or even for just a split-second of a second, it was as if someone, outside the window of our hotel room, had pointed a remote control directly at our room, at my father, my mother, and me, at the beds, still quavering from our movements, at the sheets dangling off the corner of the beds, at the palpitating walls, at the dust whirling through the ray of light of the lamp, and hit pause . . .

 

by HC Hsu from Middle of the Night