Here it is, the milky-blue stone; and the memory–
Taking the path by the lake to his house,
the one held in the cupped hands of lush, green oak trees. Beautiful and serene, the lake house was one I’d wanted to live in at that time; I still do.
I walked, from my usual spot of longing observation–a little shelter of bushes where the boats came and went, and the trees hissed in stirring meditation.
But no more wishes to evil gods. As I approached the outer gate of the house (a knock on the door; I mumbled a response loud enough for them to leave me alone to my stupid box of rocks), I felt the wind take my skin and hair in its grasp, taking my stomach and squeezing it. The blood rushing (the blood rushing now). I swallow, I swallow, I swallow.
Do something fierce, my head said.
Do something, said my hands.
I clutched the first rock I saw, off a mound of them surrounding their red and brown-painted mailbox. The boy’s mother, the boy’s mouth, moth, mouther, painting, opening, giggles rants and rants and rants show im show im show im! as images had flooded my brain (like images now), coming and going; but hovering over all these, the din of that fierce something-or-other which at one time dwindled now expanded in my blood.
A law was in my own hands now, like the stone (the stone I knew wasn’t in that box, but instead this blue one) was in my hand.
From that far out, I could do it, I’d told myself. I could break it from this. And I did; but not trusting the action, I followed it up with another picking-up of a rock (milky-blue).
The window seemed to explode, as if it’d sneezed, and joy of the aim met but then fright of the action fulfilled froze me. Run I stuffed the blue stone (stone #7) in my pocket–the accomplice–the stone unthrown, but could not move.
Then I broke my fright and ran home (another knock on the door, heavier and with more urgency. Papa, my son announced, was about to be sung to, and his candles about to be blown out. From that voice of his, all-business. And what of my voice? I freeze again. And for me to say to my son and in what voice?), with a pocket full of rocks. A dog had began barking by the house, and I had pictured for an instant the terrible pain of flesh being ripped by dogs’ teeth, like in a movie. But I out ran him. Or maybe it was a stupid, fat dog.
(I stand up and then sit down again. “In a minute,” I answer. The shuffle of his step only sounds after the shuffling of his exhalation in annoyance. Or is it despair? I was never good at differentiating the two.)