Do you remember this one — someplace not far from here, down aways across time, unspeakable fears spilled out of a gouge in a young boy’s heart, while from the vantage of your bedroom, there wasn’t a single current of visible motion. The usual jug of filtered water and a clean highball glass beside the bed. A box of plasters, disgorging flimsy rescue, one wrap left there, unpeeled.
You winced, went shuffling out onto the deck in your pyjamas, overcoat, beanie hat, gloves. The plaster over your nose from the scratches. The ones on your arms, you had just washed and left to heal in the air. Leaves from the maple that overhung the long yard lay like damp clawed hands on the boards. The machine was making you coffee inside. Or, you hoped it would be, or else the thrumming was something else. There had been that chat of black bear from the neighbour, squatting on fat haunches or rising on their tiptoes to spy through the prim French windows of better houses than this. Turkey clans, skeltering through the woods, often ended up on the picnic bench and improbably, up on the top of the yellow plastic slide, crying their inscrutable, stupid cries. The lake at the end of the yard was pink that morning. Certain metaphors are undeniable.
You yanked the door closed over the bristling insulation, eyeing the big coolerbox of blue-black lobsters, plonked on the counter. It made a ticking sound. Big pot on the burner, and the pliers beside, waiting those boys, come lunch, or whenever. Make your noise now, while you can, you thought. You’d had time to explore the house in the last couple of days, taking relish in it. Under the deck was where the wood cord was stored under tarpaulin, blocking the rusted tin door to the basement. Honey in the morning was the treat, then. They’d had honey in the comb, each chewable cell filled with viscous amber from local flowers. They’d left, too, a white loaf from the old farm store, at first pillowy, then cusping on stale, but you didn’t want to be picky. Scraped your knife over it, spreading the sweetness.
And the sun came up, fully splendid. In between glistening bites, do you remember how you listened, to the house and its sighs, creaks, clatter of the old heating system? And how, very quietly, muffled below the sandwich layers of boards, drywall, metal sheeting, there came a faint sobbing. It all adds up to something, you thought. You thought, I might write about this, some day, and maybe you did, but right then you just sat, listening, to the scratch, rustle, sob from the rooms, the hidden corners of that old worn-down house perched by a coldwater lake, on that bright, late fall day.