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2010 :: Issue 7/Fall :: Solitude

Geezer, Living Alone

Richard Jay Goldstein

Should of done this years ago. So quiet here you can hear yourself think. Plenty of sky too. Just the way I like it. And I sure do like the way that path winds under the pines. Makes sense, if you know what I mean. Cabin’s mighty nice too. Small enough so you can be in the whole thing at once. Not a bunch of loose ends. Not a house, more like something you wear. Here I am, sitting on the porch in the shade. Look out there at the sunlight hitting the ground. Got me a beer. Listen to the damn cicadas. Like an electric waterfall.

And the saxophones. Earl’s Tune. Glenn Miller. Gorgeous gal there, all in white. Her white dress, like clouds, white pearls. White teeth, white eyes. Snow, white snow falling, a snow curtain. Everything’s white, she’s whirling and whirling, her hair so white. She’s all over white, can’t see her. White. Wait.

Good grief. Must’ve fallen asleep. The easy sleep of old men. Read that somewhere. Jeez, my heart’s beating a mile a minute. But no, here’s the sunlight. Trees. Sage. Damn, smell that sage. That’s the way the earth smelled before people.

Cripes, it’s evening already. Where did the day go? Good thing I’ve got a fire going in the stove. Shot of George Dickel by the old elbow here, good book. What the hell else do you need?

Running along the Guadalquiver, gray stones uneven under my feet. River beating like copper in the sun. Sweat pours down me, and the smell of orange, like Sevilla is filled to the brim with sweat and orange blossoms. I’m stretching out on the grass in the big park, Maria Luisa, full of secret tile fountains, trash everywhere, blue trees. Pretty Spanish woman in sweat clothes talking to me, fine English, dark hair, blue eyes. She can tell I’m American just by looking. You are very flexible for a man, she says.

What’s that? Something out the window. Jesus Christ, an eye, a huge eye. God Almighty. What should I do? I’m standing up slowly, till I can grab the shade, pull it down. There. It’s gone. Jeez, my heart’s beating a mile a minute.

Here she goes again. Drums like a storm, like white water, like thunder in the mountains. Gorgeous when she dances. Spinning, like snow, everything white. Nobody but me knows how smooth her skin is, how warm inside the elbow, behind the knee. What she says, how she sings. Like strings of white light flying off her when she spins. White, everything white.

Good grief, must’ve fallen asleep. The easy sleep of old men. Read that somewhere. This place saves me, this cabin. Saves my butt, damn right. Quiet here, you can hear yourself think. Should of done this years ago. Look at the way the hill curves away. Such a sweet curve. The mountains like smoke way off there. The canyon there too, with the river running in it, but you can’t see it from up here.

Goddamn, there’s a hawk. Where’s my binoculars? Marianne brings me the binoculars. They’re almost too big for her fat little hands. Then she runs back to Carol. That one’s Carol, Carol’s forever. There’s fog, coming up from the river. Why are they walking toward it? They shouldn’t do that. Now it’s all around them, white, white. Rising. Wait, wait. No, no. Wait. White.

What’s that? A crash, like thunder in the mountains. The door comes flying in. A huge hand poking in the doorway, looks like a gigantic worm. It’s holding a spoon, of all things, a monster spoon. I dodge behind the table. There goes my George Dickel. Here’s the spoon, coming for me. God, look at the hand, a claw. The spoon’s in my mouth. I wouldn’t have thought it possible. I swallow. The spoon goes away. Hah! Fooled it. Jeez, what a taste. Tears in my eyes. I can’t wipe them. Why can’t I wipe them?

Where’s my George Dickel? Pour a goddamned glass. Thank God for the cabin. Fire in the stove. Dickel in the belly. Eye in the window. Spoon in the door. Got to send a message. George Dickel bottle on the waves. It’s fine in here, fine. Go away spoon. Go away eye. I’m fine. Doesn’t matter. Should of done this years ago. So quiet you can hear yourself think. Got the sun in the morning and the moon at night. I’m okay. Sweet curve of hill, sweet women in my bed, sweet hawk in the air.


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