Saturday, October 25, 2008

Section 1

The first section of From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt.


I’m stepping to the black gate at the head of the path to the house. It’s heavier than I remember. I let Eve pass through ahead of me. Her dress feels like silk as I touch the small of her back. I don’t think its silk but the bottom by her legs blows like curtains, the white curtains that were in our first apartment. The ones that mom gave to me. But now she’s dead and I’m walking along the path holding Eve’s hand. I can see the black door. It still looks as bold as ever. Like it did when I used to slam it on Tom and pretend to lock him out. To the left all of the trees are lush and I can make out some honeysuckles. Eve doesn’t know how I gave Jane honeysuckles in eighth grade. My first girlfriend. There beyond the side of the house I know the blackberries will be sitting there or beginning to form. Some still a premature greenish maroon, while the rest will be the deep black-purple of a terrible bruise. Each small round circle of the berry sheen and ready to burst out the juice. We approach the front stoop. The well done stone work. I slept off a hangover while they did it. A sunny summer Saturday, but I kept the shades drawn in my room. I looked out the window and saw smoke and heard the sound of the buzzing saw. Tom was watching the Mexican workers and throwing the football to himself. He saw me in the window and I drew the shade, jumped into my bed and covered myself with the big white quilt I had. I didn’t want him or Liza to know. Mom would’ve frowned on it too, but by then, she knew I was different than Dad. Above the door there is still that dried wood decoration with the red berries at the center. I ring the bell and Eve smiles at me. She squeezes my hand. I love her and the warm clamminess of our palms together. I knock on the black. We wait and now Eve looks worried. There are slight lines on her forehead and her brown hair is blowing across her face. She always cared for Dad. He treats her like a third daughter the way he will kiss her forehead sometimes and always listen to her problems. I even know that she’s talked to him about me before, especially right before we got married and she was nervous. She talked to Dad about it before she spoke to her own father. I know she loves me and we’ve never had any real problems or any real fights, which some would say makes us a weak couple because we haven’t been battle tested, we bear no emotional scars from each other. I think it’s the opposite. Our lack of scars shows our strength. Which is why I feel terrible about what I know and about what she doesn’t know.

I knock again. Dad doesn’t answer as we wait. So I grab the gold handle and push down on the lever that Liza always called the doorpetal. I open the door and smell Mom’s perfume. Then I see Dad sitting on the steps. He holds a bottle of Cutty Sark. He passes a hand through his still thick grey and white hair.

“What do I owe?”

Eve laughs and I look at her. I know what she doesn’t know. She and Dad know that Mom is dead. I know that Mom is dead. But they both don’t know that Eve is pregnant. Only I do and I smile at Dad who’s scotch drunk again it looks like for the first time since before I was born.

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