Sunday, January 17, 2010
The Right To Be Wrong
When I was richer, I used to take my son out on long walks through the forest that surrounds my estate. The forest would eventually gave way, opening the view to a vast field of all the shades of green, I would tell my son that this is all I have to my name. Of course, he was probably too young to realize the double meaning in my words, and only I hope he still remembers moments like that, especially since I am no longer by his side.
Memories of battleships and the first submersibles, my company had made for the war efforts, flash by as I cruised down the country road. My first wife is buried somewhere out there, her ghost rides passenger for the first five miles and vanishes before my house. She knows I have a new life; our time has passed, and I haven't visited her grave since the last century. I whisper her name over the whiskey and under the stone she fades beneath.
Josephine is my last attempt at a second son, my wife could not bare another. Elisabeth cries alone, takes trips down to the lake, and imagines drowning some day in those murky waters. I hold her hand, I tell her she is all I ever needed, and then I start by kissing her; the rest follows suit in my will, and her duty as my wife, to me, to me I say. I am not fit for such decency, I have taken something once beautiful and turned it plaid and ordinary.
In the garden, my son and daughter discovery the world of insects and of small and fancy plants, unnatural to the environment. My wife reads them Darwin, and I listen from behind my pipe, the sun is swallowed by the clouds today. Timothy, seven years old, to take care of his younger sister now, as I watch from miles away. Across the ocean, in a field of stars.
Elisabeth, you have grow with our children, you have taken my body, and sank it in that lake. I wonder if you imagined my body as yours, with each scar as your own, my eyes looked to the skies above, my body limp to the touch; sinking with stones tied to both hands and feet. What fitting words should be said to a man who profited from the restless arms of war, who showed his love in abstract ways, and carried the weight of his guilt before the weight of others.
To my son, to my daughter, to my wife, and to the one from another life: the sea wakes, the storm surges; beyond this port to the field of white crests, let the world fall to your toes, and may the landscape before you now fade to your discovery of new lands.
Look upon my banks, I'll be here for a while.