I am grateful for: “a wild place to breathe in whole…”

“the china store and the bull” (mixed media) by K. J. Legry

He sat across from her on the train, where he’d been assigned and he was startled and very happy by the arrangement; their tickets declaring them both “singles” and he had stood behind her in the pre-boarding line talking on his cellular phone the whole time to some guy-pal, like maybe a college roommate but probably more like a business associate, and he asked ‘would there be any good looking women there when he arrived for his visit?’ standing right there behind her, he was asking this.

 
So, I mean… you could see him visibly light up when he got to be seated with her and even though she obviously wanted to read her book about child abuse trauma (and he interrupted her to ask her what she was reading because he was an opportunist and this was his idea of an intellectual pick-up line) he found himself mildly disturbed by the seriousness of her subject matter so rather hopefully inquired if she was a student to which she replied basically, ‘no’ by shaking her head and offered nothing else which intrigued him more than he could have ever imagined and made him entirely uncomfortable and so he fished again, ‘are you a social worker?‘  And the woman looked directly at him with her beautiful (gray or green or blue; he could not be sure for certain what color) eyes and she lied. 
She told him she was considering it.  
 
Immediately his mood brightened as if he’d found the right stepping stones and striving for dance steps, he complimented her for pursuing such a higher cause and he launched into his childhood story because maybe this beautiful woman could actually save him from bachelorhood and a subtle repression he blames on his sister’s photography.  He mentioned he was actually a pretty good sculptor back in university but that he had ‘purposely gone into the dry, boring, profitable field of computer engineering,’ and he made sure to stress to her, ‘successfully.’  He said he didn’t want to be like his mother who was a master glass blower.  A mistress of the crystal ball.  Literally providing instruments of hocus pocus up and down the west coast.  Mostly middle-aged women sported her witch-balls (intended to ward off and or capture dark spirits) in their whimsical tea gardens, although several psychics paid top dollar for table-top oracles elevated by silver-plated tripods.  Wand knobs, divination pendulums, and ritual chalices sold like hotcakes.  However, and he winked at the beautiful woman when he said this, his mother raked in the most cash for her rearview mirror car ornaments, glass chillums, and elaborate water bongs.  He laughed self-concously and searched her face for signs of liberal or conservative reaction.  She gave neither but nodded to convey that she’d heard.  
 
Her reservation frustrated him but he found the nod encouraging and so continued in a lively manner, revealing that he didn’t want to end up like his father who was a master wood carver.  He was paid by some Hopi or Chinook Indian to carve a totem pole, even.  He grinned and reported his father was pure-blood Irish-Catholic.  Not a drop of American Indian but at the EXPO where his father’s booth proudly displayed his polished life-sized mahogany Jesus bust with a detached centerpiece of hands folded in prayer, a Chief, no less, approached him and praised him for being a true visionary.  They discussed wood grain and how to coax the spirits from the rings.  His father had additionally provided a small demo of his skill at a wood block where he informatively described his blades and planes and proceeded to whittle a whistle in the shape of a dove and when he lifted his lips to blow through the hollow tail, a sweet perfect note in ‘C’ sang out the beak.  His father had designed and built the alter at their church and donated his oak banisters and handrails to senior centers and nursing homes and taught how to build his benches, picnic tables and bunkbeds to a Boy Scouts of America troop.  He confessed to the beautiful woman how his father made his actual living on elaborate personalized coffins though. ‘King Tut woulda been so lucky to have been buried in a sarcophagus carved by my father.’ he assured her as she sat silently and listened.    
 
He looked to her now, not so much at her, but more wanting comfort, that her companionship would bear with his every conversational whim and he longed for a stiff drink and asked abruptly, ‘Do they serve cocktails on the train?’  The woman shrugged and said she didn’t drink, but that they hadn’t announced the dining car being open yet.  It was closed between lunch and dinner, she said.  He nodded grimly, jarred by her statement, and he leaned forward to ask, ‘You don’t drink ever?’
 
“Nope.”  she said.
 
Just nope .  That was it.  
 
Nope…’ he sighed and fell back against his seat.  He muttered, ‘Yeah, my family are all alcoholics.’  His right knee jiggled and hopped closer to her leg, narrowing the space between them and then he distractedly recommended that she see an animated film about a rag doll, if she hadn’t already… he forgets the name, but it’s some macabre version of Raggedy Ann that Neil Gaiman ripped off and they remade it in CGI. 
 
When she moved her leg away from his.  He said in reference to the movie, she’d like it.
***
The Heartless Bastards “Parted Ways” (official music video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.
Heartless Bastards “Parted Ways” LYRICS
And the wind it tore through the atmosphere
And the air it filled with dust
Such a far connection within every direction
Some places I’ve already been
And no, drive slow,
Loneliness too many things have changed
And no, I just don’t look at things the same way now
Since we parted ways
Out in the space, I’m alone with
The only hum of the wheels, they are carrying me
On to a wild space to breathe in,
Oh I need it, a wild place to breathe in, whole
And the sun went down in this little ghost town
Near the valley of the rio grande
I need a little bit of whiskey and a little bit of time
To ease my troubled mind
oh Lost love and loneliness, so many things have changed
And no, I just don’t look at things the same way now
Since we parted ways, Out in the space,
I’m alone with the only hum of the wheels,
They are carrying me on to a wild space to breathe in,
Oh on to a wild space to breathe in,
Whole…
out in the space,
I’m alone with the with the only hum of the wheels,
They are carrying me on to a wild space to breathe in,
Oh on to a wild space to breathe in,
Whole out in to the wild space  to breathe in whole
 Gonna get on out Just gonna get it out Oh Now if I want to be free, I’m gonna run Takes a lot, oh so much of my energy I’m going around and I have found In order to leave in this great big town, Takes a lot, take a lot, takes a lot, takes a lot
Songwriters: Erika Wennerstrom
Parted Ways lyrics © Reach Music Publishing
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