Harold Abramowitz

A Whole Host of Events

23.
     The day was going to be beautiful.
     I put my hands out, looked at the sky.
     It was funny.
     A whole host of events.
     And even after all of that time.
     You wanted to lift your eyes up and stare the day in the face. You walked out the door feeling well, looking well. It was going to be a beautiful day.
     It is very weird to be alone, I thought.
     A kind of stranger walked into the room. A whole world in tears. And there had been a discussion of exactly that on the radio earlier in the day. And there were no distractions and there was no running about the room looking at things. A little after the morning. No, the daybreak. You have run out of the very thing that I came here looking for? You were surprised. You were under the impression that things were fine. Then you stole something and tried to find out how much it was worth. You went back to the store and asked the clerk a question. You thought there were very good reasons for feeling angry, at that point.
     The afternoon ended up being very warm. I had a lot of things to think about, at that point. It was going to be a very beautiful day.
     In the morning there was a horse drawn carriage and a warm furnace. Folding out paper and taking a little walk. You are talking a lot, and then you have to go, I thought.
     Why do you ask? You were asking a question. The ground where the snow was resting. It was high in the hills. There was no more asking. You are asking. I am running. I am running in and out of the house and looking around for something good to eat. I am asking directions on the street because I have no friends, and I don’t have any spare change to give to anyone either. I wanted to do things. I wanted to have some good luck. But when it is time to get out of here, you will know, I said.
     You were gallivanting around the house. You took your time. You washed your hands. You loved the way you looked, at that point. You sat in the living room and waited a minute. There was a tub with cast iron feet in the room, and you were about to ask what to do with the tub, how to fill it with water, and why it was there, but you stopped yourself short.
     There was a rabbit on the trail. All the children had seen the rabbit. And eating that much food at one sitting is just asking for trouble, I said. The radio was playing very loudly in the next room. I’d had it. I was playing the piano and wondering why I had ended up living such a dreary life. Why I was so lonely. I longed for something extra to put in my pocket, so to speak. I held my hands out. I wanted to buy something new. It was going to be a beautiful day. And it’s always so cold in here, I thought.
     But the thought of products. Of being beholden to someone else. The moment one has to have that one special thing.
     And I am the product of being born in a weightless room. And who am I to tell you what you should do with your hands, what you should do with your friends?
     It piles up. There are scores of colors. There is nothing left to do at work. But I have to sneak out of this room. I have to sneak out and hit the streets and look for many special things. Colors and other things too.
     Have you ever seen a better position? The clouds in the sky. And everything is so perfect, I thought. I have not wanted to be anywhere else for a very long time. But the time goes by extremely fast anyway. I guess that’s what it means to be satisfied. A whole world of satisfaction. Of people being put together. And if I were the best in the world, I thought. If I were the person I wanted to be, and this hurts me very badly to think about. I had all kinds of fantasies, at first. I had very many things going on. It was really bothersome to think about.
     It was going to be a beautiful day.
     Sunday was your favorite day of the week. You held something in your hands, and no one was particularly good at what they did anymore. No one could ever be counted on to do a good job.
But no one was starving then either. It was audacious and interesting. On top of the wall. The way I stare. The things I can see in your eyes. And it is real love, too, or so I thought at that moment.
     There is something special about you, I said. The nighttime. This is my least favorite time. I have to go. It was going to be a very beautiful day. I will go home and work very hard and do a lot, I thought.
     You sat at your desk and stared out the window. There was something moving in the bush in the garden.
     I put my hands out. I told lies all the time. There was a nest in a tree in the garden. I looked at the tree very carefully, I said.
But you are always looking down on people, you said. The field was full of blooming plants. The field was beautiful to look at in the wind. It was going to be a beautiful day.
     It had taken you a long time to feel the way you were feeling. And it was absolutely essential to feel that way once in a while, too, you thought.
     Even I’d said the same thing, and that had been on a Saturday.

24.
     There was the fix. Or the fix was in. At least that’s what you said, or how it was put. There was a tree and a dog and a fire hydrant. And then the summer came. You were sitting up straight, under no illusions at all.
     But you never call me, I said. The summer had been uncharacteristically warm. I was at home. I was talking on the phone.
And people are funny.
     I lived in a house.
     There was a purse on the floor, and a bag, and a saddle.
     You are after the first thing you see all the time. I find it terrifying, I said.
     Somebody so personable, you were trying to see your way through. It was a strange moment and there were a lot of reasons to be afraid.
     I am going to your house after school. What I was waiting for, I never found.
     It was the summer. You lived in a house. You put your foot in the door. There was a real question of the way things were going to be.
I sit in this chair every single day, I said.
     I can’t believe the things that are happening to me. It happened in a boat at first, and then on the shore. In luxury buses. There were good things that were going to happen, getting ready to happen. I was so happy. I couldn’t believe how happy I was.
     The thorn. I was wearing the thorn and then wondering why I was there. Why was I there? What was I doing in that spot? A figure. The way things are done around here. And there is trouble. I think there is trouble when I’m around.
     A morning. You were sitting in the morning sun. You put your hat on. A table. And vegetables. And coffee too. Sitting in the morning and wondering what to do with the rest of the day. It took a long time to decide. The function of the day. The way the day was going to go. And you felt jumpy and irritated. You were moving all around. Not a word from your friends, though. No relief. And everything cost so much money. And the horror of looking at a life without reality. Without the tides. The terror of the tides. The loud mouth. The making of a million dollars. And then there was one and then there was another one. And then you were told, instructed, in a way, to tell lies.
     I am afraid of the things I see, I said, at one point. I am afraid of the things I am beginning to see. The things that are beginning to come around. And the proof is in the pudding. And this is the answer to the various questions. You see, I was seeking answers in those days. I was seeking answers and asking for the truth and telling lies. I never told any lies, but lies seem glamorous to me today. And why do I think anyone would be paying attention? I asked.
     Why, it would make anyone feel guilty. The expense. The razors and the pins. All the sharp things that were lying around the house. The things that moved silently at night. No bump, you know. Then you smiled. You were wearing a blazer and a cap. A sweater and shoes. You were like a famous dancer, and the way you lifted yourself up and moved around was very special.
     There are special things in this house. There are special things that are surrounding us at all times, I said.
     I should come here more often, I thought to myself. I should put my house in order. I should take my shoes off when I get in the door. I am standing in the doorway, and I am asking myself some really stupid questions. I have a voice in my head, and I wonder how I am going to get any work done that day.
     I am wearing a suit and I have a certain expectation about the way things should be. I put my hands in my pocket and settle in for the night. I was walking out in the rain and telling myself that things were going to be good, that things were really starting to improve.
     There was an argument in the house. Outside the house. There was an argument in front of the house, on the sidewalk.
     Of all things, coming home in the middle of the night and finding out that there was good news. Good things really were happening. I was excited. A whole world was opening up for me, at that point.
     I could have told you that that was going to be the way it was. I could have told you. I should have told you that I was going to be coming home late. But I really wanted to apologize first, before I said anything else.
     And it’s like a dream, you know.
     The way things are. A bed of flowers. A hope chest. A really pretty flower garden. And, at times, it was clear that everything was going to be okay. If you put your mind to it. If you were going to amount to anything, or rather, if your day was going to amount to anything.
And then it happened. No, it happened. It was really happening. Like music. You thought so. You thought so and then it happened. It all happened fast. It all happened in a flurry. A rush of events. Unbelievable events. You thought of the way things were. You thought about the way things were all the time. It was no lie. There was no lying involved. Forcing your hand. Asking for help.
     It was another day. I was supposed to have gone to work. I was asking for help. The best thing I could have said under the circumstances. And in my eyes. There were good things happening in my eyes, or so I believed, at that point. A little complaint. A little bit of a bad omen, I thought, and then there was too much time. But it wasn’t clear if an apology was in order or not. I wasn’t sure about whether or not I’d already apologized.
     And they look at you. With eyes. Or that’s what you were thinking, at that point.

Nominally about story and perception, at its heart, Harold Abramowitz’s writing is epistemological. It asks that attention be given to the mode of telling. He is the author of books and chapbooks, including Blind Spot and Dear Dearly Departed. Harold co-edits the short-form literary press eohippus labs and teaches in the Department of General Studies at Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles.

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