Taking the long suburban road back to the ‘house’ that in reality has become a much smaller apartment through the emptiness of a semi arid landscape escorting my mother. One that is too far, knowing too late that we should have driven. Why we did not was a matter of forgetting for a while that the path back over open terrain always seems shorter than it in fact ever turns out to be. One’s age averaged and divided is occasionally put aside as a factor and the fiction of youthful endurance assumes a greater palpable fiction. A chain restaurant a block or two off the gravel path due east gleams quartz white as if it has just recently been built. A Disney castle mirage in the deep darkness of the mind. Salivation for the hopeful fantasy of plenty and tasty inside crosses the space between my ears within my own empty divide. I have grown up in the postwar age of advertising. The mental Utopia that the worship of everything new and improved allows you temporary entrance within. To conjure the mental picture is more immediate than to test the waters with your tongue and pocketbook. That is the actual realm of scant financial resources and the specter of starvation. The great kings and dukes of old along with their subsequent more modern social warrior imitators having forged a great mental trauma genetically passed on by too often playing too dangerously with the ship of state and so often running it aground. One remains ever mindful of their next meal hoping that if it be one’s last then at least it might be memorably distinctive as the best so far. This is progress.
Ron, the father, ends up on Johnny Carson as a guest. A failed entertainer from the ‘get go’ in his own mind. He rises up from the audience to follow the expected patterns of behavior on stage. His greatest secret dream. To be recognized as talented and out of the ordinary, and loved. What can any self-made man hope to find after he has found a knock off copy of the Philosopher’s stone and a deck of playing cards to gain a sufficient amount of ready cash? Money and all that it can buy is never enough. The ritual of an audience locked in their seats facing East towards the refresh of a hopeful morning Sun of the television is all too seductive. A crowning gift to the man who initially came up from nothing but for whom this persistent sense of the inescapable present provides never ever enough. this is the curse and blessing of his most formative era.
The two of us having wandered, end up waylaid behind a big strip mall on the bank of what is rapidly turning into a raging river rising up. The silt scraped from the bottom being thrown into the air like the froth of a chocolate milk shake. The building flood overwhelming the back access of truck supply lanes subsuming the loading docks. This apocalyptic chaos transforming dazzling cinder blocks from their intended task of securing items within to serve as a retaining wall protecting this unready location. The terror of the unexpected show of force of nature underestimated. A might deluge instantaneously conjured without a single drop of rain. Surely a figment of one’s pernicious imagination?
The awakening of these fictions in that other world of one’s former life precariously rewoven since the night before? Never to be believed but for the hint of a solutions that they pretend to offer? Should one play the gullible fool and volunteer their belief?
This quiet surrounding realm of framed photographs serving as dusty headstones embalming the past. Now long silenced.