Page 42 - WTP Vol. XI #5
P. 42

The Failure (continued from preceding page) room filled with love? I had no choice.
“Whiny, the young one has become whiny,” Brother said from the sink.
 “Who’s there,” Mom said, singsong, as I came into the lamplight.
I lurked through the hall into an unused room with silence in my wake, creaked down on the piano
stool. The grand piano turned the whole house into an instrument, its hollow chamber shaking with the perfect lord-pleasing finger-wide fifth. It was not pos- sible for Brother to resist; footsteps crossed the hall and he selected two old fashioned cacti rain sticks from the basket of rattles, playtuney thingies, lyres, bongos, and shakers, and stood beside me listening deeply to insert the rain sticks in the appropriate place. I clamped firmly on the following chord re- quested by our need for certain songs and missed it, wrecking the universe, but was allowed to try again. As the rhythm got going he shook his rain sticks attentively, nodding to each other seriously. This pleased the parents; so long as we could play music everything was ok. It came through the halls to my heart, their listening. We sang renditions of the songs that had torn me apart over the years, The Blues,
“Only the wind,” I said, “from the penis of the sun.” “I beg your pardon?”
“Evening, sun dick,” Brother said.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Father said.
“Jung sayeth the wind cometh from the penis of the sun,” I said.
“What Jung wants Jung gets in the minds of the troubled youth. Give Jung to the lost and suddenly Jung is all there is,” Brother said, “they lose track of what’s appropriate, as if its normal to come home with penises and stars on your lips. Well, enough, enough, sun fucker. Read A Long Way Gone like every- one else and close your cavern of lies.”
the Boss, the Bard, hollering agony freely my voice rang true, blaming nobody but myself. Music made everything good. Rise up from the dead, rise up from the darkness—music a lover’s touch coming up from within, strumming heart-strings with fire, breathing peace on the universe.
“Penis of the sun, now really,” Father said, “the wind is movement of air from high pressure to low pressure. Penis of the sun.”
“Gonads of the moon, where the waters reign su- preme,” Mom said, “hence waves on windy days.”
Dad and Mom came in to say goodnight from the liv- ing room doorway and told us not to stop on their account. Brother, now energetically playing a wood- block, whacked it at them to acknowledge this. We played as they went upstairs, then lowered our volume so they could sleep. There was a disconnect between Brother and me now, a fatherly wedge, we were competing to be better than each other. He looked over and I nodded to affirm what he was sing- ing. It hurt thinking of them lying in bed worrying. Each person in the house would take everyone’s pain for themselves if it would spare the others, agonized that it didn’t work that way.
“Well, this has been lovely,” Brother said, brushing off his pants and clearing their glasses to the sink.
They had been looking through the book of historic photographs. The pyramids; the digging of the Suez canal; the tribes in the Amazon standing by wooden bridges over creeks; Paris in the 1910s with gas lamps being lit; professors of natural history sitting behind their desks; steamships in New York’s harbor; mountaineers pausing in the rubble of avalanches on their way up from base camp; Native Americans in the West on precipices above the plains; an aviator with one foot on the ladder to his cockpit; Turkish baths with sullen men chest deep in heat; a woman in an opera dress beside a horse drawn carriage; scaf- folding around the Empire State Building.
Alone in my room, surrounded by happier days, I put the water glass on the windowsill where it caught the lamplight, and opened my computer: one more con- struction timelapse; the videos were totally addict- ing. Then I looked through Reddit. I felt personally attacked by the memes of that twenty-five-year-old guy who sticks around his hometown telling everyone how great he was in high school. You should have seen me in high school, dude. It was a sad thing to say, and to feel. In the halcyon days of high school his par-
It was silent for a long moment. This was the unbear- able fact of my presence; I had become barbed, stifling their happy brains out of fear of sharp rebuke. It is a demon’s lair, my chest, my bony arms, but good lord am I trying, my loved ones, I’m trying to improve, to go my own way I promise.
ents and teachers were doing the hard stuff while he focused on making friends, so of course he felt great,
“I am trying to improve,” I said. 35

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