Lopez

On the ferry against the rail
the deck as grey as the sky almost or vice versa
a kind of damp that works itself in finds the nooks hangs.
All the motion moving
or the appearance of such that the cars lined
below suggest.
We putter about with refined precision.
There are wreaths festooned with red bows
and garland strung.
A festive palor I suppose.
She is inside.
She is inside sitting at one of the booths by the window
contemplating I am pretty sure but I won’t take it much further than that.

“What do you mean by enable?” she’d said.

We had been discussing the proposed dynamic the whole drive in.
It was very early then and I guess still is now.
The shoreline and the trees marching are just visible passing.

“I don’t know,” I’d said,

“I think by showing up, by attending the
function, we are in a sense enabling the behavior,
the behavior consistent with the proposed collective merry absorption of certain substances.”

“The dysfunction,” I’d said.

So sure I suppose the use of the word dysfunction in conjunction with the discussion of her family of origin’s holiday traditional scenario is perhaps the crux of the matter.
Hence the crummy contemplative look.

I’ve witness to that look.
The lull before the storm so to speak.
The last time it was about a puppy in a box out front of Wal-Mart.

Spur-Line

“Well all I’m saying is that it was not all that bad,” he said.
“My hips hurt and there was nowhere to pee,” she said.
“We did ok, we did alright, right up to winter and some,” he said.
“The thrift store, everything was a quarter, or a dime, she said.
“We had plenty of blankets,” he said.
“And those big pillows,” she said.
“It wasn’t so bad,” he said.
“It was cold,” she said.
“Those guys spent Christmas with us, all the food from Vivian’s, he said.
“They were headed to Seattle,” she said.
“The stove worked good, we were stuffed,” he said.
“They split all that wood for us,” she said.
‘That was a good Christmas,” he said.
“The walk in along the hi-way, all the warm faces
always going by,” she said.
“All the color and the fields,” he said.
“And the rabbits, and skunks in the ditch,” she said.
“Boy you could run when you had to,” he said.
“Lugging all the groceries,” she said.
“Why did you come back?” he said
“Back?” she said
“That night at the Laundro-Mat,”
he said.
“I was cold and tired, he had a car,” she said.
“I remember looking around, putting it all together,” he said.
“Denver sounded so civilized, so pleasant,” she said.
“But why did you come back?” he said, “To a box-car then.”
“Why?” she said.
“Yes of course?” he said.
“For this stove, and this kettle,
and the macaroni and cheese,” she said.

Spur-Line

“Well all I’m saying is that it was not all that bad,” he said.
“My hips hurt and there was nowhere to pee,” she said.
“We did ok, we did alright, right up to winter and some,” he said.
“The thrift store, everything was a quarter, or a dime, she said.
“We had plenty of blankets,” he said.
“And those big pillows,” she said.
“It wasn’t so bad,” he said.
“It was cold,” she said.
“Those guys spent Christmas with us, all the food from Vivian’s, he said.
“They were headed to Seattle,” she said.
“The stove worked good, we were stuffed,” he said.
“They split all that wood for us,” she said.
‘That was a good Christmas,” he said.
“The walk in along the hi-way, all the warm faces
always going by,” she said.
“All the color and the fields,” he said.
“And the rabbits, and skunks in the ditch,” she said.
“Boy you could run when you had to,” he said.
“Lugging all the groceries,” she said.
“Why did you come back?” he said
“Back?” she said
“That night at the Laundro-Mat,”
he said.
“I was cold and tired, he had a car,” she said.
“I remember looking around, putting it all together,” he said.
“Denver sounded so civilized, so pleasant,” she said.
“But why did you come back?” he said, “To a box-car then.”
“Why?” she said.
“Yes of course?” he said.
“For this stove, and this kettle,
and the macaroni and cheese,” she said.

Train Driver

They crossed over the bridge and up the newly constructed walkway west. Over the part where during fall you look down and watch the salmon gather. He held her hand. She adjusted her gait and a bra strap to the incline.

“There are cracks in this new construction, he said.
“Cracks dear?” she said.
“The cracks in the walk, in the concrete,” he said.
“The sidewalk dear?” she said
“Isolated, yet significant incidents of failure,” he said.
“Incidence?” she said.
“Localized fissures, insufficient compaction,” he said.
“The foliage dear,” she said.
“There are things to consider,” he said.
“Mount Rainier,” she said.
“Aggregate, the re-bar, moisture content,” he said.
“This bench dear, lets rest,” she said.
“You have to be rid of organic matter or no compaction,“ he said.
“I am familiar with the concept,” she said.
“To affect the proper layering, small moist lifts,” he said.
“I remember moist, the effect,” she said.
“Monolithic slab, small-scale, long-term,” he said.
“Long-term?” she said.
“Gravity will do the work for you,” he said.
“Gravity?” she said.

At a Glance

I was watching them, and I knew there was something, something between them. Like a wall, or a chasm perhaps. You could tell by the way she futzed with the end of her straw paper. Stuffing stuff
in the end the way she did. And he admired the art on the wall. The Longhorn that bled pastoral. And Austin, there was the shot of Austin, at night, the tail-lit stream.

I don’t know. It just seemed like there should be more. In watching them. Something more revealed, of the dynamic. A public display and all, like a want-ad in the tool section.
(College couple waist deep in compromise, seek to maintain 3.5 GPA.)
But there was just silence, and them both admiring the art hung on the wall.
Maybe she had recently bailed him out of jail.
Maybe she was ‘late’…curled up in the corner booth. It could very well have been a menstrual thing.
He simply was in over his head. The understanding of this new system that he was to function within the parameters of.
They were busy establishing those. The parameters.

Drop-Cloth

And so yes I told the landlady, I would paint over the red wall, the one wall in the bedroom that was red. Yes, I would paint the wall, cover up the red prior to vacating the premises. It was a deposit thing. Yes. And well, the wall was pretty red.

So yeah, I purchased all the materials and piled them on an old bed-sheet in the middle of the room where the bed used to be. Paint, stir-sticks, roller-handle, roller-cover, and a couple of brushes. I figured two coats.

Well, it took three coats. To cover it up, the red on the wall in the bedroom. It was a tidy affair, the first two coats, The third coat did the trick, but I could have rolled out a fourth. Coat.

“This wall,” she said. “I want to paint this wall.”
“That wall?” I said.
“This wall, red,” she said.
‘That wall red,” I said.
“This red,” she said. “Fire-engine red.”
“Fire-engine red,” I said.
“We can do it together,” she said. “paint the wall red.”
“Red together, this wall,” I said.
“The wall next to the baby’s room,” she said.
“Adjacent to, the baby’s room,” I said.
“The power!” she said. “The power of red, as a color.”
“Next to the baby’s room?” I said.
“We can move the bed back,” she said.
“Back from the wall,” I said
“The power,” she said. “That’s what you say, right?”
“Back from the wall?” I said
“Red,” she said. “The power.”
“Some power,” I said.

Drop-Shot

 

So I am thinking it was a four-door Chevy, a Laguna maybe, with the half sandwich Driver Education board stuck in yellow on top and a little blurb about ‘Makes Frequent Stops’ attached to the rear. It was magnetic, the blurb was which the instructor Mr. Maven peeled off an tossed in the trunk after each summer morning daily session. The car was blue.

An apex as far as summers go, that summer was I suppose. Tabitha Sweeny had swapped her forehand/backhand drills (the 9-to-11 slot) for an hour or so of in car, supervised driver training amongst the backstreet Elm and Dogwood shaded lawns and 4-way stops yield to the right turn-signal…and so on and so forth.

I served buckets of balls most all mornings. Worked on my toss. I remember Tabitha generally hit against the wall prior to drills. I had watched her hit that morning and noticed that she had developed a smooth terse way of putting all her weight on and bending her right leg when she came in low, racquet back. During the follow thru she came up off the ground a foot at least. Some power.

So anyhow, it was a couple days later I guess. I am lugging my bucket of balls around and the coach comes up fumbling for a match.
The coach always had a pack of Marlboro 100’s in his front pocket, one lit in his hand and a racquet in the other. He typically mostly smoked and shouted. That’s what the coach did.

“You got a match Diaz?” he said.
“I don’t smoke,” I said.
“Right, found them, my matches,” he said.
“Good morning coach,” I said.
“Good morning,” he said. “Ok, look Diaz…we have a situation here.”
“Coach?” I said. “A situation?”
“Yes, well…Tabitha,” he said.
‘Some power,” I said.
“She’s dead,” he said.
“Dead?” I said.
“Yes,” he said. “It’s all very murky.”
“It?” I said.
“The dynamic,” he said. “The situation as it seems/appears.”
“Murky?” I said.
“It appears so,” he said. “A bit murky.”
“A dark oozing murk?” I said.
“That’s redundant Diaz,” he said.
“Coach?” I said.
“So rumor has it she failed her driving test,” he said.
“Driving?” I said.
“And then something about her bedroom closet,” he said.
“Closet,” I said.
“That’s all I know,” he said. “It’s all very muddled, murky.”
“Muddled murk,” I said.
“Diaz,” he said.
“Coach,” I said.
“Keep your chin up and your racquet back Diaz,” he said.