This is a story at a time when everything means nothing and tales are taken for granted by people who should know better. This is a story of things familiar, of events faced, of choices made, by the choosers or by others on their behalf. This is a story like that except most of all that is missing- most of a beginning, large parts of a middle, the bulk of the ending. This is a story about a black hole of missing stories where nothing is left but fragments and moments, moments floating around making clanging noises every time they bump against the tin walls of this life.
So reach out and hold this moment- a man is in a car and beside him is another man and behind them is yet another man and two of them are old and one is young and they are talking of a long ago time, they are talking of youth and women and what was once theirs. The young man is not talking as much, he is driving and is enthralled by the stories, yet he thinks to himself how he cannot bear to get old. How he is scared of the warping of his mind, the gnarling of his fingers and of his hands and body and most of all the looking to the past, always to the past that comes with the pile-up of the years.
And the moon is pale and wan in a slate grey sky and the young man is driving faster and faster and the old men are talking still and the young man is sleepy and he drives even faster, because he wants to get back in time to rest and sleep and then.
Then imagine, that a deer was born years before the young man and the old men met at the family party earlier that night, the deer was born years before the old men asked the young man to please drive them to a neighboring town, and the deer lived uneventful and roamed uneventful and ran after things it thought beautiful and sparkly. And that on that night it ran into a road after something shiny and that on that same night the sleepy youngman did not see that deer till two seconds before he would have hit it and something in him made him swerve, so as not to hit the deer and the deer ran on and lived all the rest of its life.
But imagine under that pale wan moon that the car has swerved and is overturned and the young man is now dead and one old man is dead and the other old man too is dead.
People will grieve and be shocked and wish it would have been different. And a friend of the young man, a classmate would say this about him, writing from the comfort of her too warm office on the 26th floor of a skyscraper in a cold city. She will say “I can’t believe you are gone Dade. It is all much too soon”. She will write this on his facebook page, on his wall, and two days before she did this, she took a picture of herself with her blackberry, held the phone in her right palm as far away as she could from her face and pressed the button with her skinny finger and blue laquered nail to take the picture. And right before the flash, she tilted her head up to the left, not on purpose, but an old habit, and took the picture, which she liked so much she used it as her new facebook profile picture.
So that way when she wrote on Dade’s wall, it was the same picture that many saw and one person was so striken by the profile picture of the woman with dark skin and low tightly-curled black hair and sad eyes, head tilted looking far away to the left, that he asked that she be his friend on facebook and she accepted and after weeks of messages he visited her cold city and they went to a restaurant where they both ordered steaks and hers was overdone, and she sent it back, and they talked. And after they both left they called each other every night except when they did not.
They talked, they loved, they fought, they forgave, they married. They think not of Dade once.
They grow old, they grow tired, they grow apart and they divorce. They had a child who when she is older is accepted to an expensive private college and she asks that both her parents drive there together with her. And they let the young girl drive, and as she drives they talk of old times, the mother, her tight curls now grey, sits beside their daughter and the father sits behind them both and the old parents talk of how it was when they were sure everything was possible. And they laugh at old stories that have been told too many times before and they are laughing when they pass a certain spot, on a certain road, where a deer once crossed and three men once died. And they know nothing of that spot, so they think nothing of it. And after the daughter gets to school, they drive the car back, and the father drops the mother off at her home, and kisses her chastely on the cheeks and he goes home too, pours himself a brandy, puts no ice in it, sits back, watches the news on the television and everything in life goes on or begins again, whichever way you like it.
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