Monday, March 14, 2016

Sometimes I Think About Dying

Editor's note: This is the second of three guest posts from my buddy Chad. This is a heavy one. The author is not dying, is quite well, and sometimes thinks about dying. Who doesn't? It is, after all,  an intrinsic part of life itself. Chad wishes to thank his father for taking him fishing, and his wife for giving him children to take himself. 

hot humid night already. late june, and already the dog days. 

the sound of his door opening, the handle. his small boy footsteps on the floor, towards the big bedroom. pause. she hears all this. turns. momma? his steps down the hallway towards the kitchen. she sits at the table, amidst the spreadsheet of all the bills.

hey buddy. he has the picture in his hands. has been carrying it since.

momma. he pauses. holds the picture to his belly. pauses. thinks. can i have a drink?

sure bud. what do you want? some juice? or some cold water?

yeh. cold water. could i have some?

sure buddy. come here. she scoops him up. his hair is damp. he holds the picture. 

he takes a long drink, the water sounds going down his throat. gasps. his breath fogs the inside of the glass, his breath moves over the ice water. he drinks again. her hands smoothing over his damp hair. what you got there buddy?

this? this a picture of me and daddy.

in the photo his daddy is holding a 2lb bass. his other arm is around the boy. taken what? a year ago. the boys hair is longer then, it is a cool march day and they are fishing together. the boy, he holds his fish pole in the picture. his own. they waited for a fish to bite his bite. the bobber jumped. the boy reeled in the fish all by himself.  the story she knows well, loves more for within it is her husband still living. 

i love that one.

me too. this one my favorite.

they sit quietly. his small body in her lap. his head on her collar bone.


yes river.

when he gonna come home? to our house. 

two tears run her cheeks. she swallows hard. again.

oh buddy. i love you so much. 

much later he creeps down the stairs to the fishing room. in the basement, so much cooler. laying there on the thin rug over the concrete floor. in the dark. with the exotic smell of fur and feathers and wool and dampness over everything. what he deemed the smell of his father, looking down from all the pictures on the wall. the great fish. the hero shots. the maps. the books on the shelves. 

the rods in the racks, the reels, the machinations and results of his fathers heart there together in the cool late dark.

this is the place, he thinks in his boy thoughts and curls up on the floor.
he isn't in his bed the next morning. a thousand heartbeats as she calls, carrying the girl more tightly to her breast, racing now. she finds him there in the morning.

and so it goes. he still has that picture with him and she doesn't know what to do about any of it at all. but she finds him there, in the morning.


she kneels to him. touches his arm. she's holding the girl cradled in her arm. as the panic crests and the relief rolls over her. and she takes him up as he wakes. takes him up with her and holds the parts, the pieces, she has left.

and he senses her heart there in the fish room and he holds to her tighter in the gauzy morning light. and he says good morning, momma.  and the girl reaches for him and pats his head.  

later that day, she don't know a damn thing about it, but later that day she takes down the rod he told her was the one to start with.  it being one of maybe 12 or 15 rods that hang in the fish room. and she takes the boy and girl down to the hipskies ponds and they try together and laugh at the outcome. but they try. and they laugh.

and he is then tired after fishing. and they both fall asleep on the ride home. and she weeps to his ipod and due tramonti plays. and in that quiet car, with the air conditioning running, she remembers and she steals that moment of weakness she rightly earned.

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