Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hell Bent




Coming toward me, Daisy, concern and sympathy sculpting her lovely face, stopped in the doorway and crossed her arms in a self hug rather than defensively. She respectfully remained silent and waited me out. Defiant tears, more from anger than grief, clawed at my cheeks in a tantrum while resisting their plummet to my chest.

“Pack us up Daisy. I’m going back down to hell and you’re takin’ me dammit. Gal needs us. Shit, it’s already been nearly two days since Clay died. And here I am, F-ed up to no end, near useless, and some friend I was when it mattered most.”

Forgetting the obedient walker still sitting beside my chair, I tried getting up. Pinned-up bones in my lower leg, armed with old styled Ojibweh knives of flint, stabbed at ganged–up muscles surrounding them. I fell back into my seat and pounded myself in the head with the fist of my right hand.

“Look at me! I’m a worthless blob of wrinkles, broken bones, and a wretched soul.”

Sweaty rain, making every effort to quench and sooth the heat of rage, poured from my scalp. Daisy dashed for the bathroom and came back with a wash cloth soaked with cold water.

“Don’t fight me Hon,” she said, handing me the rag and taking a step back. “I know you feel terrible right now but will you please settle down and think for a moment? You’re right; it has been over a day since the message. It’s already 3:45 in the afternoon and really, you know His favorite Gal. She wouldn’t hesitate to ask anything of us and yet she didn’t. Give her some credit. She’s a very strong woman.”

Holding the cool cloth to my forehead, I wished it would quell not only the physical heat of passion but that which continued intensifying within my spirit. I had been in a state of near-constant friction for a week. Perceived changes in my wife were doing the same and I addressed it.

“Daisy dear, I know what you’re saying, know you are right, and know I can’t possibly get down there in my condition. So, okay, I won’t fight you on that but…”

“But what? What are you going to fight me on instead?”

“Not fight, challenge is the better word. It was tough enough enduring continuously unpredictable behavior with Clay but no, then I get in a wreck I couldn’t avoid. I was out of my body not once but, a few times I believe, because my heart stopped. My memory and brain are a mess. Yet, I know this. You are not the Daisy I left when I went down to Clay’s.”

Getting a kitchen chair, Daisy returned and sat before me focused and tuned in.

“In what way? Be specific,” she said.

The request and command made my mind’s hands drop the few points of evidence they clutched. Rolling under a figurative cabinet, my argument went with them.

“Oh never mind.” I sponged sweat from behind my neck. “I’m shit out of luck in every which way. I’m going to bed and everyone and everything can go to hell while I do.”

Disappointed and self betrayed, I angrily heaved the wash rag toward the kitchen, struggled to my feet, and hobbled toward the bedroom. My subconscious tried to speak to me through the din of my loud thoughts and emotions. 

The message on the machine said May 31st. You were with Clay, still fishing, at the time the message was recorded. Someone’s messing with your mind man.

“What’s new?!” I asked.

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