Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Aunt Clara Part Ten

Yvonne got in her car and drove away and I got into mine. It was early afternoon, but instead of going home, I decided to go to the bar. I had to think this thing over. 
As I pulled into my regular parking spot the voice of my father was in my head. I was ten years old. I said, "Dad, have you ever thought about thinking about thinking?" He laughed just a little, which hurt my feelings. I was serious as a ten year old could be. 
"Son, if you keep on like that you will drive yourself crazy. You think too much."
"I can't help it," I replied, "I'm just trying to figure it out."
"Figure out what?"
"I don't know," I cried, "Maybe just everything, that's all."
"Well nevermind all that , son. You just live and be happy. You've got a mom and dad and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and friends and people who love you very much and that's all that really matters. Now you go and pick up sticks out of the yard and get ready to help me now. Then we're gonna wash the car. Okay?"
I sighed a long sigh of disrelief. 
"Okay," I said.
Now here I was, forty years later, still trying to figure it out. Had I driven myself crazy with all that thinking? Well...that's debatable. I've heard that art is subjective. And pain. Maybe crazy is subjective, too. How would I know anyway?
I got out of the car and slowly walked the hundred feet of so to the back door of my second home. The bar. I opened that door and felt the cool A. C. and the darkness of the place take me into its arms. 
There was only one customer in there so I pretty much had my choice of stools. I picked one near the jukebox and sat down. Then I immediately got up and turned to that jukebox, a modern digital one, which only took bills. I fished in my pocket, pulled out a couple of singles and stuck them in the slot. It grabbed them one at a time and the screen came to life. Too many choices, I thought, too many choices, but I'm not puzzling over this one. I knew what I wanted to hear. Dylan, the shakespeare of our times. "It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding": 
"Darkness at the break of noon 
Shadows even the silver spoon, 
the handmade, the child's balloon, 
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying..."
I turned back to my stool, sat down and a nice long drink of Guinness. Crazy comfort, I thought.
"A question in your nerves is lit
yet you know there is no answer fit..."
Joyce, the bartender, walked over and said, "Davey, this one's on him."
"Who?" I asked. She pointed to the gentleman at the other end of the bar. 
I looked down and raised my glass in his direction and mouthed "Thanks". He slowly got up and strolled, or more swaggered, over to me, stuck out his hand and said, "Jack is my name and gambling's my game. Any Coltrane on there?"

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