Sunday, November 9, 2008

Section 5

Please see Section 5 of "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt" below. This is the introduction of the patriarch of the family, Ben. From this point forward the narrative cycles between the five different viewpoints you have read so far: James, Tom, Liza, Maggie and Ben.

If you have been following so far, it is September, their mother has died and each sibling is coming home - some have not been home longer than others. Liza has just started college, James works and lives in Washington D.C. with his wife, Eve, who is pregnant. Maggie is a travel photographer who lives in Boston. Tom lives in a different town on Long Island and spends much of his time riding the train. Ben shared a medical practice in town with his brother, but he really wanted to be a comedian. He was known as a legendary drunk before his wife, Rose, made him stop drinking.

Enjoy Ben's first section.


I’m sitting at our long wooden kitchen table with James and Eve. I’d have to say that Eve looks stunning and she is the kind of girl I would’ve married when I was young. However, I did marry the kind of girl that I would marry. My bottle of Cutty Sark is standing in front of me. I love the taste of it, the look of the old sailboat. I once saw a terrific photo of a cutty sark burning up at sea. The horror of the flames rising and rising against the black clouds and the dark-green hellish waves. It really did look like a medieval painting of Dante’s Inferno. But this bottle is a fine light green and Hart Crane jumped off a cruise ship and not a cutty sark. Does anyone read him anymore? He was my favorite when I was young and still is though I haven’t picked up a book of his work in a long time. There was something to the language, the way it sounded old and yet fast and new at the same time. If there was ever a language that fit the word fleeting then it came from his mouth or brain or soul.

James isn’t trying to take the bottle from me. He and Eve are drinking tea. They have the kettle in front of them resting on an iron trivet. The steam lifts up and my eyes are following it to the navy blue painted ceiling and the strong beam of sunlight that is cutting through the skylight and along the wall. I take a drink from the bottle. James is talking to me.

“Dad do you think that is the best solution?”

“I was never good at math.”

“But you’re a doctor.”

“We didn’t invent calculus or calculators.”

Eve’s hand touches my arm. I feel her nails slightly through the thin green striped sleeve of my white shirt. Her hand is very tan.

“Are you alright, Ben?”

Her hair is still slightly damp and it’s pulled back in a bun that all girls seem to wear their hair. A few strands are falling on her forehead. Her hair is dark brown and her eyes are a lighter shade. You would call them mocha. Everything about her is brown – bronze is the better word. There is something ancient about her, a crafted sculpture. When your son is a child, you hope that he will grow up to marry a girl this beautiful. Even the most humble man at one point or another while looking at his son move and fumble about in the world trying to figure things out, hopes he will marry a girl of outstanding beauty because in some way it makes that deep masculine part of all men proud. However, what you never expect is that it will actually happen or that if it does that the girl will be Eve rousing something in you that is more than sex or more than love for a daughter or daughter in law. I think it might just simply be Love and maybe that is because she reminds me of Rose so damn much even if she doesn’t look a damn thing like her.

My head nods at Eve. “Thank you, Eve.”

She looks a little confused but humors me with a laugh.

I hear the front door open and close.

“Hello?” It’s Mags. My oldest daughter is back. So many women in my life the most important ones are swirling around me now. Liza upstairs, Eve next to me and Mags walking down the hall. But not Rose and because of that I can feel the stitching in me coming undone. She was the surgeon of my life.

Tom walks in from the back door. Mags’ hand is on my shoulder now.

I take a drink from the bottle and feel the burn in my stomach like a ship bursting into flames on the open water.

No comments:

Post a Comment