Literary Orphans

by Anthony Bevo

sous-le-cerisier-en-fleurby victoriaaudouard

“Are you really that good?”

“Occasionally. There are times when I’m equally bad.”

“Well it’s still something to be proud of.”

“It’s all a big joke.”

“Yes, I suppose it is. But someday it might not be.”

“It will always be a joke, man.”

They walked down a railroad track near the fairgrounds during an aforementioned fall month that they discussed too much for me to even mention to you. I wasn’t there, but when he told me the story, he talked about it too much—the month and not what actually happened. I cared about what actually happened, but he claimed that since he saw it happen, since he was there—a stab at my absence—that it didn’t affect him so much. He was cruel in that way, well many ways too, but he always stabbed at my absence more than he should and I think he knew that, but it became habitual. Then he would say something to make up for it, though I had ignored him in the first place.

“You should have been there, man. We both agreed it was a nice day in—“

“I get it. It was a nice day. So what happened? Where is he?”

“He’s gone.”

“I see. Where’s he gone to?”

“I don’t think we’ll ever see him again. I thought something like that might happen today when I first awoke.”

“You thought you’d never see him again?”

“I thought it would be you, to be honest.”

“Of course.”

“Well you’re busy, most days.”

“And here we sit.”

“You could always make more time for me.”

“You know I’ve been working hard at getting this life together.”

“Do you think I bring you down, then?”

“No, it just takes most of my time. I enjoy our talks when you’re not agitating me on purpose.”

“I would never do that, especially on purpose.”

“Are you going to tell me what happened to him?”

“I told you, man. He’s gone.”

“Yes, he must be. I last saw him in July. He was really starting to come around.”

“I know! There we were, walking along the tracks smoking cigarettes he stole from the liquor store, and then he started talking funny.”

“In different voices or something?”

“No, he started talking about how funny his life is, after telling me how good he was at something. He told me that he had been in love with a girl from Arizona. He told me she was beautiful and persuasive. So I asked him if this was before, you know, and he told me that it was. He told me she was before everyone and then I felt uncomfortable because I knew he was feeling down on himself. I asked him why he was just now thinking about her. He told me that he always thought of her and that what’s-her-name was never as good at understanding him as much as this Arizona girl. He told me that what he went through last April was just a reminder that he didn’t have her anymore. So we talked about her some more and she sounded lovely. She expressed love for him first, under the stars in Cincinnati around two in the morning— so he thought he might break her heart eventually. He said he didn’t feel the same as she did but he said it back anyways—I told him that was a mistake, but he went on to say that he loved that mistake, that he loved her. And as we walked, he kept talking about her and the fun he had in Arizona, along Coronado Avenue, where she lived with her sister, who apparently I would have loved—according to him, but I doubt that because I’ve never loved before. Hey can we have a drink? Let’s open up that bourbon.”

“Okay, it’s late anyways.”

I poured him some bourbon and then some for me and then I gestured for him to continue.

“So after I knew everything about her and all the things that went well for him, he told me about a concert they went to. He told me that this concert was the start of the downturn because at this point he was very in love and she was making up her mind that this wouldn’t continue when he had to come back here. He thought they could make it work, but then he explained that she was a couple years younger, unfit to be in that kind of relationship—Christ, you know him. He always has to be in a relationship. He’s one loving idiot, right? Do you mind if I smoke?

“At this concert, they had good seats at his expense and he’s so tight about his money, so he must have really loved her. Hey do have a lighter? I gave him mine. And I don’t want to waste this cigarette, I only have a few left. Do you still have those cigars that make you feel funny?”

“Yeah, but why would I waste those?”

“Don’t be tight, I’m telling you a story, man. And while you’re up, pour some more bourbon in this. It’s weak.”

When I returned he was staring out the window, playing with my lighter.

“Here you are. I’m getting awfully sick of waiting on you.”

“Agh man, you can afford it. Back at the concert, he tried to hold her hand and be romantic, but she wasn’t having it. He didn’t mean she was cold turkey, but she wasn’t returning everything he was giving her. Then he did something really strange. He gave her this poem by Rudyard Kipling called The Liner She’s a Lady. He told her that she’s a Liner and he’s a Man-O’-War. I didn’t understand it, but he recited the poem for me. I think it was about a boat or something, but it mentioned a tram. So he looked down the tracks when he said that part. They went east to west. It was strange, but it felt alright and then we were silent for a while. Then he told me she liked the poem, but that he suspected she really didn’t because she didn’t read poetry. He said he felt foolish for his romantic ideas, but that she might like it now. So he sent it to her last February and all he received was a ‘Thanks’ in return. He said he felt even more foolish but that he’d love to see her again. He explained how he might be able to persuade her that he’s capable of not being a fool. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was close to that.

Then we heard the train coming from the east. He told me that locomotives were easy to jump. I laughed it off, but then he said, ‘I’m going back to Coronado Avenue. Do you want to come? You would really love her sister.’ I told him sure and then I asked him when. He said, ‘Right now. We’ll hop this train and head to Arizona.’ I tried to laugh again but his face prevented it. He had a mad face man—I mean really mad. His eyes were dancing. I told him he was crazy. He told me he wasn’t and then the train was only fifty yards away. He told me he was going to jump train whether I did or not. I tried to convince him otherwise, but the train was so close by the time I was done talking and he started to run with it. He grabbed a large handle that led to an empty cart. I was running with him, but my lungs were burning, man. I smoke too many damn cigarettes, but as I was running he put his hand out for me to grab.

“The train was moving too fast and though I was contemplating skipping town with him, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to Arizona. I have stuff here anyways, you know? And hell I only had a few seconds to come to a decision. So I reached for my lighter in my pocket and put it in his hand. Then I stopped running and realized I had exhausted myself trying to make a mad dash, so I just stood there staring at his compartment as it was further and further away. I half expected him to jump out, but he didn’t. I mean he never did. That’s why he’s gone, man. He must really love that girl. I doubt she’ll take him back though.”

“Why do you say that?”

“He’s good for nothing, except one thing that’s a big joke to him.”

“There have certainly been worse things to be good at.”

“I think it’s good, but if he doesn’t believe in it, how could he be good for anything?”

“I suppose he’ll figure it out.”

The cigar was taking its affect, mostly with his troubled mind, contemplating Arizona and Coronado Avenue, and possibly a friend gone forever, but then he started talking again.

“You know what the strangest thing was?”


“Well, on that particular day, just a few moments before he started talking about her, we decided it was the most perfect day in October, that we ought to commemorate it. He told me he would remember this day forever. He said I might, too.”

“Will you?”

“I sure hope so. It truly was a nice day.”

“Even now?”

“You mean because he’s gone? Hell, I think he’ll be back next week. She’s married.”

“How do you know that?”

“He was at her wedding in Cincinnati.”

“Then why in the hell would he try to go back?”

“He’s awfully foolish, especially for someone as smart as him. He won that award back in high school. He was most likely to succeed.”

“Yes, I remember that now. I hope he does.”

–Story by Anthony Bevo Authentic Nike Sneakers | NIKE Chaussures, Sacs, Vetements, Montres, Accessoires, Accessoires-textile, Beaute, Sous-vetements – Livraison Gratuite