Monday, 23 March 2009

22 March 2009

yes.” And he stared with rocky sorrow into his hands. “Can’t talk no more…do you understand that it is…or might be…but listen!” We all listened. He was listening to sounds in the night. “Yes!” he whispered in awe. “But you see…no need to talk any more…and further.” “But why did you come so soon Neal?” “Ah,” he said looking at me for the first time “so soon, yes. We…we’ll know…that is I don’t know. I came on the railroad pass…cabooses…brakeman pass…played flute and wodden sweetpotato all the way.” He took out his new wooden flute. He played a few squeaky notes on it and jumped up and down in his stockinged feet. “See?” he said. “But of course Jack I can talk as soon as ever and have many things to say to you in fact I’ve been reading and reading all the way across the country and digging a great number of things I’ll never have TIME to tell you about and we STILL haven’t talked of Mexico and our parting there in fever…but no need to talk. Absolutely, now, yes?” “All right we won’t talk.” And he started telling the story of what he did in L.A. on the way over in every possible detail, how he visited a family, had dinner, talked to the father, the sons, the sisters (they were cousins)---what they looked like, what they ate, their furnishings, their thoughts, their interests, their very souls, and having concluded this he said “Ah, but you see what I wanted to REALLY tell you…much later…Arkansas, crossing on train…playing flute…playing cards with boys, my dirty deck…won money, wooden sweetpotato…Long awful trip five days and five nights just to SEE you Jack. “What about Carolyn?” “Gave permission of course…waiting for me…Carolyn and I all straight forever-and-ever…” “And Diane?” “ I…I…I want her to come back to Frisco with me live other side of town…don’t you think? Don’t know why I came.” Later he said in a sudden moment of gaping wonder “Well and yes, of course, I wanted to see your sweet wife and you…gone and done it, old man…glad of love…love you as ever.” He stayed in NY three days and hastily made plans to get back on the train with his railroad passes and again re-cross the groaning continent, five days and five nights in dusty coaches and hardbench cabooses and still he didn’t know why he had come, and of course we

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