THERE’S A VIEW

Response to Sadje’s picture prompt on What do you see #144 July 25, 2022

There’s a view outside my window
Which changes every day
The sun was shining bright, my love,
The day you came my way

There’s a view outside my window
Which changes every night
The moon is high or sometimes low
And tonight it’s very bright

There’s a view outside my window
With water smooth as glass
No need for fear of naught, my love,
As we lie upon the grass

There’s a view outside my window
With water smooth as glass
Is that a bridge to walk across
A deathly dark morass?

There’s a view outside my window
And I know not what it means
It’s rightside-up and upside-down
It is not quite what it seems

There’s a view outside my window
I watch it every day
The moon was burning bright, my love,
The night you went away

There’s a view outside my window
It’s lovely, don’t you think?
If I step upon the glassy water
Will I float or will I sink?

There’s a view outside my window
But I shall watch no more
My love, you are not coming back
Of that I am most sure

There’s a view outside my window
It’s very lonely, don’t you think?
I shall walk outside and take a seat
Close to the water’s brink

There’s a view outside my window
Please don’t gaze for very long
For you will soon discover
My love and I both gone

NAR © 2022

THE JOURNEY

Mid-August in Alabama is about as hot as hell’s back kitchen, or at least that’s what folks like to say. It was just me and ma making do as best we could since my pa got himself killed in some place called Vietnam. I don’t recall much about the day we got the news. Couple of soldiers in fancy uniforms came to the door and mama started wailing like she was being skinned alive. Ma never really got over that. Some folks said she went plum crazy that day. She’d sit on the porch in that rickety old rocking chair staring straight ahead, just mumbling to herself and fidgeting with pa’s dog tags like they was rosary beads.

I sorta became invisible to ma so I started spending my time down by the watering hole mostly swimming and fishing so we’d have something to eat. I went hunting one day, surprising ma with a rabbit and we cooked it up for dinner. Ma hugged me tight and put pa’s dog tags around my head. Next morning I found her hanging in the barn and started screaming till the neighbors came running. That’s when I began living with the Jenkins Family. I was six years old. 

The Jenkins’ was good hard-working farm folk and they treated me real fine. They had a truckload of kids – six boys and two girls but they didn’t think twice about taking me in. Ma Jenkins always said “What’s one more mouth to feed?”

At first the days moved slow as molasses in February. I knew right quick that farming wasn’t for me but I did my share every day. When I was about fifteen or so Ma Jenkins said I sprouted into a handsome devil, the spitting image of my pa. Right about the same time I started taking up with Nell Jenkins. Two years older than me, she was all legs, boobs and big sky blue eyes. We made love every night and she taught me stuff I didn’t think was possible. Somehow we never got caught. We was crazy for each other but I wasn’t looking to get hitched. I knew if I didn’t get off that Alabama farm I’d die there. One night while Nell slept I placed my pa’s dog tags on her pillow and slipped out. I was 19 years old.  

I got me a job as a long distance trucker; hard as it was it beat the hell outta farming. Shit! I been trucking for 16 years. I’m 35 years old and dog tired. I been thinking a lot about Alabama lately, maybe getting a job in a hardware store. A few days later I quit and went back to where it all began.

Wiley’s Diner was still there. I went in and sat at the counter. A girl appeared from the kitchen and asked what I’d like. “Coffee, please” I said and found myself staring into big sky blue eyes. She was a pretty little thing and my heart skipped a beat. Around her neck hung dog tags and I knew. Lord Jesus! This is my baby girl! I asked if her ma’s name was Nell and she smiled, saying “Yes. Do you know her?” I said I did a long time ago. I don’t know what possessed me but I scribbled down my name and number, asking her to kindly give it to her ma. She said she surely would.  Choking up a bit I said goodbye to my daughter.

Dear God – after so many years and thousands of miles Nell just might forgive me.

NAR © 2019

JUST THIS ONE

“Impressive collection you have here” said Jackson to the owner of the record store.

“Feel free to look around” came a voice from somewhere behind a stack of boxes.

Jackson browsed the tiny cubby of a store, appropriately named “The Inner Sleeve”, looking for nothing in particular. 

“Psst. Down here,” whispered a battered box stashed in the corner. Jackson crouched down to wipe the dust off a yellowed label.

SIDNEY BECHET” 

Feeling a jolt shoot straight to his heart, fingers racing through musty LPs, suddenly there it was- “Les Annees Bechet”, #1: “Petite Fleur”.

“I’ll be damned”, whispered Jackson. No longer was he in “The Inner Sleeve”. It was Paris, 1982 in that enchanting café … what was the name?

Café de la Paix. Yes, that was it!” he recalled. And then, in a barely perceptible hush, “Lisette”.

Slumping back against the wall, Jackson clasped the precious vinyl against his chest, caressed it lovingly with the same fingers that raced through the box just seconds before. The same fingers that released Lisette’s raven hair from its ‘pince à cheveax’ and showered it across her porcelain shoulders. The same fingers that traced her face as gently as butterfly wings – ‘ailes de papillons’ – from her widows peak to her crystal blue eyes, her nose, her blushed lips. “Just this one time” thought Jackson. Just once before returning to his insanely mundane existence in Stamford, Connecticut. Oh, for just one more taste of Lisette.

Slowly Jackson stood, a sadness like none other enveloping him. He suddenly realized he had been crying. He wound his way through the maze of boxes overflowing with records that were meaningless to him. He had found what he didn’t know he was looking for.

“All done, sir?” the clerk asked. 

“Yes, thanks”, Jackson replied. “Just this. Just this one.”

NAR © 2017