Thursday, February 28, 2013
Winter Dreams The Same Dream Every Time
An old man lies in a hospital bed, dying of nothing. His son sits in a chair fit for a lobby and waits. The snow slants down outside the window. It's collected in the corners, where the brick meets the sash, and formed a kind of porthole into a world gone beneath a winding sheet.
Some sort of machine wheezes and sighs. Every voice is a murmur like a pew near a confessional. The son wonders if there's any noise of life in this place. No tinkle of a fork on a plate. No hammering of seconds on a clock. Music has never entered the building, and never will. The memory of the jarring blast of metal bells on the old man's phone in his walkup parlor would sound like a calliope here. Everything that passes sounds like a black mariah, the horses with burlap on their hooves.
The old man says nothing, just looks at his son, and begins to cry. His son can't help it, he begins to cry, too. They cry for the same reason. The son doesn't want to be left alone in this world. The father is afraid to leave his son alone in the world he's made for him.