Thursday, July 9, 2015
BREAKING THE SURFACE--FROM: THE TROUBLE WITH DREAMS
(The broken blocks of concrete, from where they came I didn’t know, had these rusted, spiral looking, pipes coming out of them. They lay either just past the lip of the ocean or, during high tide, ten to thirty yards in the water. The wind and ice laced rain scratched my face. I walked along the circumference of the ridge above the ocean, looking down at the rocks, some huge and some not so, busted up tin cans, rusted by the sea, and in one place the frame of a car, its steel the color of burnt orange, lying there in the water, half submerged. Sometimes, just the hood would be visible, other times you could see the water inside as high as the topmost part of the windshield, and at other times you could make out the grill, though it was impossible to name the make of the car. What’s in the trunk, I used to wonder: a body, weapons, a cache of gold, a valise filled with water logged bills? Have they looked? Has anyone looked? I scampered down the rocks, my sneakers slipping and sliding off the greenish black and slimy seaweed, holding the uppermost rock with one hand and getting a hold on the one lower until I could safely jump off one and onto the beach. My feet sunk into the wet sand. It felt good. My ankles and legs, so young and giving, cushioned the jump and gave me a feeling of exhilaration while lifting off and flying in the air, landing precisely where I wanted to. I wiped the rain from my eyes and face and walked along the beach like an explorer warrior, ready to conquer a new land.)
Blood pressure and bedpans, beeps and bright-eyed interns, brought me back from the deep. Some new doctor was telling these kids about my case in the language doctor’s use, like I wasn’t in the room. It gave me the chance to look at the calves of this young Japanese intern. She wore a skirt that ended at her knees, a white shirt which was tucked into her waistband, and the obligatory white jacket with pens, notebooks and papers sticking out of every pocket. Her jet black hair shimmered and framed a face that could have been a mix of Asian and Caucasian, but her mom was definitely Asian. She was altogether beautiful. I knew what was up above those knees and didn’t mind that when she turned to look at me she knew what I was thinking of. Cautiously, she smiled.
“Doctor,” I called over to her.
All heads turned toward me.
“The pretty doctor is the one I want to speak to. I’d like to ask her something.”
She looked over to her superior for approval. He smiled and nodded his head. She walked over to my bedside and in her best beside manner said, “What would you like to ask me?”
“Doctor, why is there this pain in my heart where love should be?”
Her smile radiated out toward me, but she quickly tamped it down. “I really couldn’t answer that,” she began, “but I think, given enough time, it will fill again.”
“Can you promise me that?” I asked playfully.
“The only thing I can promise is that we will do our best to make sure you have a chance at having that happen.”
“Would you come back and talk to me about it? I’m lonely as hell in here.”
“Not too lonely by the looks of all these flowers.”
“Flowers without roots.”
She laughed despite herself. “I’ll try. I have to go now.” She turned to leave.
“Doctor,” I whispered, “I’d really like to speak to someone who laughs like you.”
Her walk hesitated for a beat, but only a beat, before she was with her group again and gone. Dr. Murakami-Roth was on her name tag. It seemed like a good combination to me, but I knew she wouldn’t come back again, and not because she didn’t want to.
© 2015 Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2015