As the storm was penetrating the atmosphere with its shifting, jeering and driving winds: blowing everything about around inside out and on top of trees city lamplights, the city, the daughter now was but fifty-yards of the Capital; she is proud she has made it this far, as she fights her way north, farther north, and a little west. People are hiding in cars, a few tell her to come over, wave and yell at her to come over, but she won’t, she got to go north she tells herself, her father told her to, and that is what she is going to do, plus, if she doesn’t her father may miss her on his way trying to catch up to her, so she nodes her head at them: ‘no’, as she looks back to the ground, heading north, north behind the Capital, and up to Rice Street.
(The winds come and go 50, 70, 80 miles an hour.) The old man sees the top of the stairs, and begs to get up to the top, begging his body to perform, just a little more, just enough to last to see his daughter safe. He knows if he can last a while longer, everything will be ok for her: and ok is good enough to die with. He can last, his heart beating slowly, his face turning into a pale wax form, death form: he could last a while longer. His heart beating one beat after the other, slowly now, so very, very slowly, he can count themthe beats, his mouth open: one by one he climbs the last few stairs, and slaps his hands together to get the circulation moving, they are white now, as if he had taken a three-hour bath, they look like ninety-year old hands.
‘One two, one two,’ he counts, now he’s on the top, on the top of the stairway looking at the city’I made it,’ he tells himself. Now the old man finds himself, not running nor walking, but going forward, with the swaying wind, as if it is pushing him to the street, little effort is made, the current of the wind is doing it. ‘Good,’ he mumbles to himself
his daughter sees him,
‘good,’ he says, self-confident of his vitality now, he moves faster as the ugly weather persists on dominating his environment, his shell of a body, which is fighting against the fire in his lungs again, as he spits out water.
‘Forward, forward, forward,’ he yells as he seems to be going into a coma or some kind of trance. He tells himself to wake up, get that heart moving, you got to catch up to your daughter
he must have walked a mile or two he finds himself by his daughter now. As he looks up, he is surprised, he had kept his head down so long fighting the winds and water that he forgot to see where he was going and here he was.
‘Are you mad?’ the old man hears his daughter remark, with a childlike voice, scared of his facial expressions, expressions that might emerge, yet have not.
‘No,’ he says, he tells her ‘I told you I’d catch up, and you did exactly what I told you, you went north and’
The old man couldn’t think of what he wanted to say. He noticed as he looked up into the sky again, it was not letting up, –as he had hoped, then he looked around, everything was water, and more water. But now he tells her: ‘we’re close by the house dear, just a little more north, to Albemarle Street, remember if I can’t see it, you will be able to, you got better eyes, look for AlbAlbAlb’ And she crossed Rice Street now and continued north and a little west. They both stopped, the old man was not keeping up,
‘go on I’ll catch up,’ the old man volunteered.
‘What’s wrong (she asked)we got to go Papa,’
‘I’m not going without you’ she started to cry.
Wind and Water
As he looked upward, it was a worthless twilight, tainted winds, his neck muscles were becoming numb he lowered his head back down.
“Ah,” he cried, “No need for hope,” no one answered, it didn’t matter, and he was at his wit’s end.
He knew this would be the last hour of strugglewater was his destiny for sure now, and for certain it was close by; with the rain and wind, the breaking up of the Mississippi, it was to be expected now: ‘resistance breads resistance’ he told himself, hence, ‘the river gives into the rain and the wind (it must give: he concurs, someone has to, or something has to). It is not any different for one life to give life, but one must give in first; call it being slain, whatever one wishes, one may call it surrender and so it is, so it must be; one must give in, in order to preserver the other [?] The river is no different. This is the will of nature. Someone is born, some one dies.’ It was like his mother, who had died in the hospital, while someone else’s daughter was sparedhe had met the guy [the father of the child] at the hospital, and then thereafter, after the death of his mother and the resurrection of this guy’s daughter, they had met in a bookstore, and talked.
(Said Günter down-trodden) ‘The river knows the rain and the wind, and when it will stop: as I know Jean-lee will be home safe soonit is the way things are. A lowly fee to pay for a generation of life for a youth; the augmenting rain and the waking quiet of the wind, the wind and the rain colliding together and the river, yes the river, they all know one anther like cousins, they all worked together, cooperate; illkept they may be for mankind, but together they are a force, we all know, we all sense this, we just don’t say it: no book written on such a choice,’ he mumbled. Adding, ‘The unerring heart, the infallible unerring heart of the rain and the wind, fills the Mississippi with love, so much love it does not stop to resist; it is like me,’ the old man chanted; it was now more than dusk.
He looked about, he knew by the sounds, the cold-blooded ongoing sounds of the insects and the water shifting, the bats flying by, the bodies floating by, a few skiff’s broken up, floating, adriftgoing nowhere, in circles, he was not the only old man drowning, but then, there was only one of him, so to him, he was the only one, the only one in the wild eye, of this storm. The deadly icy air had taken several lives, he had noticed, as they were floating by, bobbing their heads up and down, then down, down, and never coming back up again.
“Everybody has their day to die,” came a murmur from his mouth; his mother died, he now remembered it clearly, he and she went to Stillwater, looking at the steamboats going up and down the river, she didn’t know that day she had only forty-eight days to live then.” (More thoughts.) ‘She created a good life for herself here on earth, and prepared herself for her life after death. She was wise, simple, shrewd, and lived to be eighty-three, longer than I’ll live’ so he told himself.
“Men and God, men and God,” he unintelligible trembled with his lips; thinking about now, WWI, the Great War, his war, where he had to kill people, now he was dying, the storm was killing him, he said with justifiable lips: lips that were no longer unfeeling, “when you become God, like God, or full of God, you won’t need to kill anymoreuntil then it lingers in us alllingers in us men anyways, at least it did in war.” His iris-less, pupil-less, he seemed to be fad into, the up and down motion of the water, getting dizzy and more sick and lightheaded, as the waves pushed him to and fro making him wobbly and twisting his body in circles to where it was sore to even think about movement, hanging onto the rope as he became more woozy, more unsteady. The water pulled at his chest downward, down and up and behind, as if it was trying to suck him into a vortex, an under currentyet, he would not let go.
He said something but no one answered him. He said it calmly, yet he noticed they both stood looking at each other, drenched with water, half naked, blistered from the hammering winds and cuts all over his face from debris flying all about, helplessly he continued to look at her face.
‘I can hold the rope Papa,’ she said.
‘Yes,’ I know you can, ‘the rope, yes the rope’ he mumbled.
The old man opened his eyes, and he was by some bushes with his daughter’Are you all right?’ she commented.
‘I’m lost,’ the old man said, looking at his daughter, ‘I’m not sure where the house is?’ The old man looked at his daughter; she looked so young, so very young; he had in his mind a picture of her when she was eleven-years old. After her mother had passed away she had asked him,
“Will you ever leave me,” and he said,
Life was not always easy, but he never did leave her. As he blinked his eyes dry, he stared at his daughter again, she was fifteen-years old, and she had lived with him for a number of years, until she got married at the age of seventeen.
Now he heard her voice again, as if it was looking for a solution
‘Dad,’ it said [the voice], ‘the house is just around the bushes.’
He thought about what she said, ‘bushes, around the bushes’ and now he was stone-frozen, it seemed like, unmovable, he couldn’t move, ‘bushes,’ that was where his mother used to livehe hesitantly told himself, the house was around the bushes, why are we by her house he thought: it’s out of the way: we should be going to Albemarle Street, not Cayuga Street. He was now thinking about his mother’s house, where he was raised, but Jean-lee confirmed it as his house, was he delirious [?] Jean-lee even confirmed they were going to have a hot-dinner once they got into the warm house. Something he had said before, told himself: why was shehe stopped (thought) ‘is she part of me,’ he asked himself, ‘part of my: now?’ Somehow he couldn’t move around the bushes; that is, he couldn’t move period.
see Dennis site: http://dennissiluk.tripod.com