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.

ASHES

by Harold Abramowitz

I took a walk in the alley. I turned, thinking that I would see you standing next to me. It

was funny. I thought there was going to be a fight. I wanted to ask you a question. I put

my hands out. I thought about a million different things at one time. I took another long

walk. I tried to find something that I’d lost on the ground. I was certain that something

was going to happen. But what was going to happen? I kind of needed to know. I put

my hands out. You were growing up very quickly. It was a brand new day. I put my

hands out. I had to keep still. It was a more or less ordinary day. There was nothing

special about the day, at that point. I looked up and down the street. I tried to get a good

idea of where I was standing. I wanted to ask you a question. It was morning. We took

a walk and talked to each other. I was going to ask you a question right before you

started talking to me. I put my hands out. Unexpectedly, I had to steady myself. I stood

on the street, near the alley. I put my hands out. We stood very near the alley. There

was something I wanted to say to you. I put my hands out. The day was cold. I put my

hands out. It was a golden morning. It was going to be a very beautiful day. You put

your hands out. I stood on the street, right next to the alley. I wore a long coat. I asked

you how long you had lived in that part of the city. You could see me from where you

were sitting on the couch in the living room. I had waited a long time for just the right

moment. In fact, it was a perfect opportunity. I put my hands out. I asked you a

question. I was able to keep very still, at that point. There was something I wanted to

ask you about. I put my hands out. The morning was cold. I stood in the alley and

waited for you to come home.

~

It was funny. It was like I could hear everything you were thinking, at that point. I

turned and told you that it was like I could hear everything you were thinking. It was

funny. I put my hands out. I looked at the sky. We knew each other very well, at that

point, I thought. It was funny. We sat on the chairs in the garden. There was a song

playing on the radio. I asked you if I could come over. I wanted to come over. It was

funny. I was still not quite awake. I wondered what we were going to do that evening. It

was funny. I liked the song that was playing on the radio. It was funny. We were

thinking exactly the same thing at the same time. And I could have said just about

anything I wanted to, at that point. I was feeling a little bit frustrated. There was

something I wanted to ask you about. I put the music out of my mind. There were very

many things we needed to discuss. I looked around the room. I wanted to ask you a

question. It was a very nice day. The day outside was very bright. I could see you from

where I was standing in the hall. I put my hands out. It had been a very long day. It was

funny. It was getting later and later, at that point. I was feeling a little bit frustrated. I

wanted to ask you a question. It was going to be a beautiful day. There was something I

wanted to ask you about. I put my hands out.

~

I was waiting for you. It was a bright and beautiful morning. I put my hands out. I was

going to say. I was going to tell you. There was something big coming on the horizon.

You wanted to ask me a question. If I were to wake up early enough in the morning to

eat breakfast, I thought. I could see that we were not going to get a lot done that day. I

put my hands out. The sun rose over the canyon. It was a question of privacy, at that

point. There was a bird in the tree in the garden. I saw that it was going to be a very

beautiful day. There was much to think about. There were very many things to consider,

at that point. I put my hands out. I put my shoes on. I could see you from where I was

standing in the hall. I couldn’t hear myself think. I wanted to ask you a question. I put

my hands out. I was sure that the world was going to explode, at that point. I was sure

that there was going to be explosions and hands and arms flailing. And this was the

world, I thought. It was a real part of me, too, I thought. It was like I was standing in a

corner. I was not going to let myself think of anything more important than that, I

thought. I put my hands out. Yet I was in charge of that moment of the day as surely as I

was in charge of anything else, I thought. Like I was in a circle. I couldn’t believe in a

cloud, though. Could you believe in a cloud? I wanted to ask you a question. I was

feeling a little bit frustrated. I put my hands out. We were never wrong. You said as

much, too. You said that it had been a long day, and that we only ever made matters

worse. It was funny. I wished that I had a plum, something healthier than what I had

been eating, for breakfast, at that point. The summer was going to be warm and

beautiful, I thought.

~

It was going to be a very beautiful day. I put my hands out. It was summer. If I looked

across the canyon, at that point, I might see a million little boats in the sky, I thought.

You said that you were not going to complain, that complaining only made matters

worse. I only asked that things be kept in good order, I said. Everything was going to

happen in due time, I thought. There was no question of running late, of making a mess,

you said. It would not have occurred to me to challenge the way we were doing things, at

that point. You sat on the chair in the kitchen. I put my hands out. The sun shone

brightly in the sky. It was a brand new day. I wondered what we were going to do that

evening. It was funny. The day was brand new. I looked across the canyon. There was

definitely something new in the air, I thought. It was summer, a brand new season. The

sun shone brightly above the canyon. There was definitely something new in the air, I

thought. I wanted to ask you a question. I put my hands out. You wanted to ask me a

question. There was a song playing on the radio. I put my hands out. I was in the house.

The day was going well, at that point. Things were going well, in general, I thought, at

that point. I felt good. I pointed my finger at the sky. I wanted to ask you a question. I

put my hands out.

~

The sun rose over the canyon. You stopped what you were doing and asked me a

question. I thought that I’d put my best foot forward, at that point. I put my hands out. It

was going to be a very beautiful day. In the meantime, time was going by very quickly, I

thought. I could have done a lot of things differently, at that point, I thought. I took the

ring off my finger. I had begun to look at the canyon in a very different way. You said

that you agreed with the way I felt about the canyon, at that point. It was going to be a

very beautiful day. I put my hands out. I wanted to ask you a question. I looked at the

scar on my stomach. I could see you from where I was standing in the hall. You were

something of a fixture in that town. It was hard to think of asking you to move, at that

point. However, I took the coward’s way out. I was feeling a little bit frustrated. I felt

good. I was in the middle of the house. It was a brand new day. I took another long

walk. I pointed the shovel at the ground. You smiled at me. It had been a very nice day

all around the canyon. It was a brand new day. You looked at me. It was like the very

first day all over again, like the world was brand new. However, I was concerned that

you might have felt a little bit   trapped, at that point. It was a brand new day. I wanted to

ask you a question. We drove the car to the edge of the canyon. I put my hands out.

NOTE