|Blogs > rm_TappyTibbins > Better Left Than Never|
Oh, but the months passed slowly. We hid ourselves away. Wrapped ourselves in cold comfort of the company of electric heaters and dreams of sandy beaches and carved notches on the walls to count the days of our winter hibernation. But warmer weather, our parole, is at the station. Its getting on the train and coming home to throw open the doors of our isolation and toss us back into the streets.
Its time, my ladies and gentlemen, my friends and lovers -- time to make an orphan of our hats, our coats, our scarves. The gyms are filling with the hip cats and groovy girls looking to lose those winter pounds. The bars are ready to close their doors, to move their chairs and tables to the sidewalks. But be warned. These glorious days to come have a side-effect far more serious than the smell of melting doggy poo: the sun brings with it an infectious madness we all are likely to catch. A delirium. A fever so contagious it will likely clutch the whole of the city in its grasp. Spring Fever.
Spring is arriving, chasing winter from its room, and outside large wet flakes of snow tumble out of the sky and fall onto the pavement, melting instantly. I sit alone in my apartment, shaking slightly from the unexpected cold, the flat gray light seeping through the window coating me, embracing me, in a thin greasy pallor. A violin concerto plays softly on the air from my radio. I sit sunken deeply in an aged, tattered easy chair, the broken springs digging into my back like an old and tired romance, painful and comfortable in equal measures. A cigarette burns between my fingers, the cherry marching slowly but inexorably down towards my knuckles, the ash lengthening but not falling to the bare, stained hardwood floor. I have no books to read. No television. I have a phone, but no one to call. I drop my cigarette into a cold, half empty mug of coffee, withdraw deeper into my chair, close my eyes and dream.
August in the country is heaven to a ten year old boy. Sweet summer mornings of golden light and warm wood bedroom walls and the smell of crisp bacon popping and sizzling in a pan on the stove downstairs. A table set with piles of soft, buttery pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs and maple syrup, and the whole world pulling on the breeze through the open window for you to finish eating quickly, to run outside and join it, roll in it and dance with it the way only ten year old boys can dance. The meadows sigh with contentment as your bare feet cleave paths through the long grass, as though they had been waiting all summer for you to arrive. The creek beneath the old wooden bridge swells with pride as you inspect its shores for frogs and toads to catch, your feet wet and muddied by the cool waters gurgling between your toes. The girls walking along the road in their light summer dresses, flowers stuck gaily in their hair, blush as you laugh and make faces at them as they pass, then giggle as you stand silently watching them walk away down the road.
Afternoons bring the heat and the calm. Apple trees scoop you up into their arms and hold you on a throne of boughs while you sit eating their crisp tangy gifts, the clouds overhead twirling on the surface of a liquid sky. Long forgotten paths in mysterious woods call to be explored, ancient rock formations whisper secrets to you as you conquer them and bushes of wild raspberries, like market vendors of ancient Persia, thrust their wares at you, imploring you to see, touch, taste. And as the sun bursts and paints the sky with orange fire, the house opens its amber eyes and invites you in for dinner of roast lamb, garlic potatoes, asparagus and blueberry pie with fresh whipped cream.
At night, over the old wooden bridge and into town. The adults stroll lazily down the sidewalks in front of golden window displays of antiques or porcelain dolls, while the children race through the streets playing games with no rules, dodging the benches, potted trees and streetlamps that anchor the cobblestones to the velvet air. And when your lungs are set to burst and can take no more, you beg some change from your adult to buy ice cream which melts on the cone and slides cool and sticky between your fingers.
The phone rang, shattering the illusion of warmth, dragging me back to the cold April morning. I sigh heavily, pulling myself out of the chair to find the offensive, shrilling instrument. “Yeah?” I say, my voice gravely from disuse.
“Good morning sir.” It's a woman’s voice, full of life, but sounding bored. “My name’s Tammy and I'm calling you today from the Daily Herald about our new spring promotion.”
“Yes sir. Because our records here show that you have never subscribed to our paper, we're offering you three full months for free, based on a one year contract. That’s less than 53 cents per issue.”
“I don't read newspapers.”
“But sir… you do realize that newspapers offer a far more comprehensive account of the news than television news broadcasts, don't you?”
“I don't watch television either.”
“But sir, how do you expect to know what’s going on in the world?” I hang up the phone then, drain the last of a bottle of beer left over from the night before, light a cigarette and begin unpeeling a bottle of Wild Turkey. My phone rings again, but I ignore it and pour myself a tall glass. Slowly, as the bottle empties, color returns to my cheeks.
When the fifth is done, I dig my coat out of my closet, put on my shoes, and step out into the snow and down to the bar. I sit on my stool under the neon Budweiser sign, trying not to look into the grimy mirror that plays background the row of bottles that stand lined up behind the bar like wooden Indians at the penny arcade shooting gallery. I order two scotch and sodas, and sit drinking quietly for several minutes, as the jukebox scratches out song after song from its seat in the corner. Small tufts of white fluff try to escape from the cracked, split leather cushion of my stool, and float down to the floor, next to the wet, forgotten cigarette butts. I drink until my money is gone, and as the drinks slip down my throat, the day slides away. I return through the now dark and wet streets to my empty apartment and fall asleep, still dressed, on my couch, while the cars outside continue their endless pilgrimage to paradise.
Spring is coming. Soon even I will be unable to resist the call of the outdoors and the shedding of clothes and inhibitions in equal measure. I will succumb to the fever cured only by human contact; the pressing of skin against skin, the mixing of sweat. I will delight in my delirium until mercilessly cured. Do not despair for me, oh faithful reader. With any luck, you too will be caught in the grasp of this dementia, raving in lunacy so sweet that even words like "frolic" are insufficient.
5/19/2005 12:03 am
with luck, i might be headed into spring fever, but not likely. the days are already turning cold and gloomy. the mornings are dark, so dark, i can't wake up --- i don't want to wake, but stay in bed all day sleeping heavily like a grouchy bear in hibernation...|