Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cape Hope

Abe stood on the precipice of Cape Hope and cast stones into the air. They landed about him in the cast of his shadow, not one landed on him nor anywhere cepting his shadow. This could be explained by the sea wind blowing into his eyes and the sun assigning itself similarly. But on another token it could be that he was finally sated in his near lust for angst, he crept toward the edge with his toes and crept away with his mind. Abe was not a man though he fancied himself one. He was one of the misused who confused heartache with maturity, yet could not make the connection between the two because, for all practical purposes, there was none.
His shadow diminished when he sat down and the stone encrustation meant nothing now, nor did it ever. But it’s always easier to find the meaning in something once it has been done, rather than set out with a mission in heart. But this was the life of the young person, a young person, not merely a literary device nor poetic license without direction. However this young man was catapulting his version of life into the air so uncaring, he could not see and did not know that the words he used where so old and rusted that their original meaning could not be taken seriously again. His words landed on deaf ears as the truth landed on his ears, he was so eager to be downtrodden that he missed a bird’s feces as it landed near his outstretched hand. If he had been as perceptive as he thought himself he could have waited under it and given himself another reason to cloak truth in his self-pity.
Most folks who think about it do not mind a lie told in the context of being a lie, I don’t even mind telling one of these lies for I am a story teller. But anyone who tries to cloak their lie without consideration of their own transparency I will not stomach, there are those who make up their lives as they go through words that come to them from sources that they may have absorbed but not experienced. There are those who have convinced themselves of some kind of lie that they fashioned in a moment that is but only a moment. A life is the accumulation of many of these aggradations and desolations but not a moment, there are life-defining moments and moment-defining lives, but those are comprised of people and not caricatures. The story is secondary and the words a worthless afterthought.
Taking himself to the Cape was as close to a stage as he could get but he was acting, though he didn’t realize it and couldn’t understand how or why. This stage was the stage of the world and no one was watching. Maybe some wheeling gulls or gusts of wind that carried the salted air further inland, but the wind carried no scent of the boy, nor his made up troubles, nor his pent up frustrations that catapulted a smell into the air meant only for those foolish enough to think that they care about his self-pitying life.
His thought process was an empty one and his thoughts equally void. Yet, like a train wreck, one could not help but continue to peer into the abyss that he cast his ideas into. But also like a train wreck those who witnessed felt no envy for not being apart of it.
As the sun crept lower from its afternoon high, the life behind him marched on with no particular rhythm cepting a seeming method to the madness. As shop doors closed and window shutters were pulled to, as gulls were flying to the pier or the boatyard to rest, as the lighthouse claimed its light and then sent it out for ships and sailors that were probably not there, the boy found himself finally coming to a conclusion and everything he saw sang a sad note that was not pulled from a benthic dead-zone of inanities. He rose, slowly at first then reaching a height reserved for those who are perfectly sure of themselves. The boy now relaxed for the sake of relaxation, he ambled to the edge of the cape, he took two steps back, he looked over the edge and imagined it much higher than it truly was. His foot scraped loose gravel and loosened more, then in the same motion he kicked the stones into the crashing waves. They scattered and scrambled in the surf and he imagined them landing on the bottom after tossing and turning with the conflicting currents.
He planted his foot and prepared himself to slide it over the edge ‘til no ground met it. In the coming dusk he imagined meeting the ocean’s surface and getting to know its bottom. He thought his life would flash before his eyes but try as he might, it was not time for that yet.
He shut his eyes, this perked up the other senses and he heard a vehicle’s tires crunching about the lightly coloured gravel. When he opened them he saw a quick blue flash, at first he thought it to be his eyes adjusting to the dimming light but he heard the crackle of a radio, some country song. The hum of the engine stopped and the crash of the waves picked back up. He spun to meet the intruder and saw a face he didn’t recognize in a uniform that he did.
“It’s getting late to be out here son.” the officer said.
He thought, “I’m just watching the sunset.”
“Well you don’t need to be that close to see it. Come back over to this side of the guard rail if you’re gonna watch it.” The cop paused and they looked each other in the eyes. “You’ve got to let the sunset come to you.”
He looked back the ocean and then back again to the cop. “Yessir” he mumbled.
As the boy hopped the guardrail for the second time that day the cop watched him. He noticed the slumped shoulders and shadowy walk. He stood there for a second and said, “You best be gettin home b‘fore long. There’s always a sunrise to catch in the morning.” Then he got into his car and drove on.
The boy sat on the grass and did the second important thing he ever did in his life. He watched the sky and then he went home.

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