Jim Trainer

Goodbye bravery.

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm
I time every journey 
To bump into you 
Accidentally I
Charm you and tell you
Of the boys I hate
All the girls I hate
All the words I hate
All the clothes I hate
How I'll never be anything I hate
You smile, mention something that you like
How you'd have a happy life
If you did the things you like 
-Franz Ferdinand, The Dark of the Matinee

I come up from the boiler room. She’s turned off all the lights. There are candles burning in every window. The windows are open but the furnace has stopped blasting the room with hot air. She’s left no note. In the kitchen a sole lamplight is glowing above the type and made brighter reflecting off the blank white sheet in the reel.
I sit down. I crank the silver arm of the President XII, advance and return the reel. My hands are black with furnace grease. My breath is musty, wet&cold.  I’m still exhaling cellar air. I start typing. I begin…
…South Philly…by the sign of the cross on a Monday morning. I am overcome with complete and utter sexual exhaustion. I can feel her in the ease of my joints and in the cracked fascia of my arms and legs. I can taste her and the salt of our sweat. Catholic School kids make their way down the cold pavement in twos and threes. Church bells crack the autumn air.  I walk down the steps to the orange line and sink into another dream…
…A dark rainy morning at the shop.  Auggie and his weed.   Spicer cracking wise.  Led Zeppelin and Bush and Live.  Lightning out through the double doors and then thunder booming down the suburban sky.  The nervous feeling in the bowels of a 19-year-old kid, standing there, waiting for the storm to come.  He’s trying not to hope for the day off.  He doesn’t want to jinx it.  But he is hoping for the day off  just the same…
…Up on a high hill above Wheeling.  It’s just him&her and this connection of feeling between them.  She’d never be so old again.  He’d never be less bitter.  He had the rest of his life to wonder about the wound and the opening.  He was 23, wearing wingtips and innocent to his own game.  They pile into the van and bomb their way through Appalachia.  They’re coming home…
Then this, the blurry amalgamation of my youth in three memories.  I keep typing…
…the yard is filling with water.  It’s up to at least 4″ by now and me&my sisters can’t get inside.  The doors are locked and we don’t have our key.  Mom’s Nova’s in the driveway but Dad’s pickup isn’t.  We run around to the backyard and find the rabbit,  floating by the porch drain, dead.  His solid black eyes seeing nothing.  His paws stretched out, waterlogged and useless.
and then…
…He comes in, hulking and quiet.  The silence of the house is weighted.  It hurts.  There is a shame coming from an anger unexpressed.  I look into his room from the hall  and see him sitting with his freckled back to me on the bed.  He is sinking and silent.  Then I see her face,  giant, pursed, as she shuts the door.
this is much later and I’m 14 now…
…we’re at Dunkin Donuts smoking and drinking coffee before school.  We’re late for homeroom  but we’d make first period and slide right in.  At 8:20am we get up, slap 1$ bills and quarters down and make our way out into the working class morning.  We walk down the length of the counter.  I’m ready to explain to anyone in my way that what I’m doing is my own goddamn business and if they don’t like it then they’ll have a big fucking problem on their hands and a fight they will not win…
It’s the bravest I ever remember being, then this…
…the last day of 9th grade at Upper Darby High.  Someone’s playing I’ll Stop The World in the parking lot.  She’s coming out from the stands toward me.  The sunlight catches her hair, her legs, her eyes.
She’s incredible, gorgeous as always but not so much the cheerleader anymore.  There’s something softer in her eyes and sad.  Her movements have an openess to them now and she’s moving toward me with the unmistakable language of her budding sexuality.  I want to tell her I want her, that I’d stop the world and walk away with her, across the parking lot and across the street from school, through the cemetery and into summer forever.  See you next year, I say instead, and walk away.    I don’t find out til the beginning of sophomore year.  Her father died that day, in the parking lot, when I walked away with more conformity than the lot of them rallying  in the stands behind me and yelling into the hot open air.  Goodbye bravery.  

I rip the sheet from the reel and sit there in front of the President XII.  Goodbye bravery, hello Blues.

This Perfect Machine

Advertisements
  1. I stand by my assessment.

  2. […]  Goodbye my old friend.  Au revoir.  I’ve no more use for you.  There isn’t anything to fight against anymore.  And everything to fight for.   […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: