9/15/15 Breeze (part 5)

“Are you hungry. Andy? Breakfast?” Brent was off the phone now. Brent stood behind the couch that faced the TV.

Oh my Gosh. Good God! yelled the TV.

Tyler looked at the TV. The camera zoomed in on a speck falling from one of the smoking building.

Oh, Dear God. People. People are, the woman speaking on the TV stuttered then said, People are jumping from the building. People are flinging themselves from the broken wreckage. This is–this is unprecedented. This is—

Tyler heard a cough. He turned and looked up into Brent’s face. The man wasn’t crying. No, this time the look on his face was much worse. it was stretched and thin and pale. He looked like Tyler had felt that time he’d gotten real sick and thrown up all over the desk at school. Dad was shaking his head.

“Let’s mute it,” said Dad. “I can’t listen to this.”

“What about the news? What about Alison. What–what—”

“We won’t know what’s happened, we can’t know,” said Dad. “We, we should play a game, maybe.”

“A game?” asked Brent, like he’d never known the word, like he’d never played a game in his life.

Now it look as though another explosion has hit the second building, said the TV.

They all looked at it.

It looks as though something has fallen off the second building. We have Dan Rutherford there, on the ground. Dan, can you tell us what you’re seeing?

On the TV smoke was billowing up. shot into the air slightly, but mostly it spread out, swallowing up other buildings in its path.

Yes, Dianne. I’m four blocks away from the World Trade Towers, and Tower Two has just collapsed, said a man’s voice.

The woman’s voice. It collapsed? The whole building?

Yes. It fell in on itself. It looked much like a demolishing of an old building. It looked like a demolition.

Yes, thank you, Dan, said the woman. It looks as though Tower Two has collapsed. These are just incredible images, incredible.

Dad crossed in front of Tyler and sat down on the couch. Brent did the same. Tyler looked at them. Brent with his wide shoulders and cropped hair, dad in his long coat with short, scratchy hair on his cheeks and chin. Both men looked drawn and pale and at a loss for what to do.

“Look at us,” said Dad.

“I know,” Brent responded.

“Tyler, come here,” said Dad. Tyler went and Dad wrapped his arms around him and help him close. “Everything will be alright,” he said into Tyler’s ear.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Brent.

“Sorry it takes something like this,” said Dad.

“Me too,” said Brent.

Tyler wasn’t sure what they were talking about. The news report continued to roll. No new information. No new footage. All anybody knew was that The United States of America were under attack.

“I don’t blame her, you know,” said Dad.

“No.”

“I don’t,” he said.

“Ok. Maybe you’ll get to tell her.”

“I’m telling you,” said Dad.

“You’ll get to tell her,” said Brent.

“I don’t—”

“You’ll get to tell her,” Brent repeated. There was a finality to his voice.

Dad nodded. Tyler looked at him. His father’s eyes were far and away. In a time and place Tyler didn’t know or remember.

9/14/15 Breeze (Part 4)

They kept showing the crash. Usually the second one. Footage of the first plane hadn’t been available. The second plane hit the second tower again and again and again. Tyler was sick of seeing it. He was sick of his soggy cereal and he was sick of Brent’s constant movement.

Brent would sit down, then stand up, grab a glass of water from the kitchen. Sit again. Stand again, pace back and forth, answer the phone. Talk to someone. Sit down. Stand up. Get another glass of water.

The phone rang again. Brent answered it. He seemed eager to do so.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes, she went to work. No. I don’t know. . . yes. He’s here. Here. Tyler it’s Grandma. She wants to talk to you.”

Brent walked the phone over and handed it to Tyler.

“Hello?” he said.

“Hey Tyler, how’s it going?” asked Grandma. Her voice was creaky like wooden floors or the front door of their house.

“It’s okay,” he said.

“Are you scared?” she asked.

“No.”

“You’re not?”

“No.”

“That’s good. Is Brent looking after you?”

The doorbell rang. Brent went to get it.

“Yes,” said Tyler.

“Come in, Andy. Thank’s for coming–I—”

Tyler could hear Brent talking. Then his father’s voice. “Thank you for agreeing.”

“You know I love you very much,” creaked Grandma.

“Okay,” said Tyler. “My dad is here.”

“Oh, you’re father is there?”

“Yeah.”

Brent came back from the front door. Tyler’s dad right behind. He was dressed in a long black coat that almost reached his knees. His hair was short and slick. His smile was wide, but Tyler could tell it didn’t reach his eyes.

“Hey buddy,” he said bending down and opening his arms.

“Dad’s here!” Tyler nearly yelled into the phone, and lept off the couch into his father’s arms.

Without saying goodbye Tyler handed the phone back to Brent, who took it and said something into it, but Tyler didn’t care what it was.

“Good to see you, dude,” said his father. “You keeping Brent company on your day off from school?”

“Yep,” said Tyler, as though he was only there because Brent needed him. Tyler’s dad always made him feel brave and strong and really tough, because Dad was so tough also. He was the toughest person Tyler knew.

“That’s good, tough guy,” said Dad. “Has your mother called yet?” he asked.

“I don’t think so.”

“Okay. Okay.”

For the first time Tyler saw Dad’s smile falter.

“Dad,” said Tyler, “Guess what?”

“What?”

“Mom is getting married.”

Dad’s renewed smile faltered once again. “–She–She is?”

“Yeah, Brent showed her the ring yesterday.”

Dad paused a moment. His eyes darted past Tyler where Brent was on the phone. “Well,” said Dad. “That’s great. She must be excited.”

Tyler nodded. “Did you see what happened?” he asked.

“The planes?” said Dad.

“Yeah, it was like,” Tyler made a flying sound and his hand turned into an airplane before it crashed into an imaginary building.

“Yes,” said Dad. “I saw the TV.”

6/19/15 Strangers

In the morning I can always find you on the other side of the bed.

You curl up amid the valley’s of blankets.

You elaborate on the dreams I haven’t dreamt

in which we’ve never even met

but as strangers

sit beside one another in a movie theater, both alone.

It is a strange thing to enter a theater by oneself

but we are both capable of it

independant as we know each other to be.

And as we watch a movie, not knowing the other,

about a man who has it good with a woman he loves

but drives her away by his indifference.

Then there is a comedic friend who

knows both the characters and brings them

together with one last final hurray in which

a grave is desecrated and a hot air balloon

crash lands in Wales.

All very tidy ending, really.

And that’s when I get up to leave

and you do to and the seat

on my right is empty

and the seat to your left is empty

and I turn to you or you turn to me

and one of us says, though now we

debate who actually said it,

“That was a nice first date,” and we both laugh and leave

and think we know what’s coming, but we don’t.

And to this day, I keep guessing.