Sunday, March 07, 2010
6:40 PM |
An Excerpt From 'There are Other Things Beside Brightness and Light'
I once cared about a dog named Tibby. It was a white Pomeranian—one of those frivolous types of dogs that are easy to love because the busy brilliance of their thick hair reduces even adults to squealing children. Tibby—if I try to recall correctly—was a gentle soul, and he had eyes that seemed to see through me. I was a young boy, and he was my world—a yapping mass of cuteness that required devotion. I fed him, I bathed him. Tibby slept at the foot of my bed. Once, in a boring drunken episode, my father shot it with his gun, because the dog barked too loudly and made him spill his beer on his shirt that barely contained a swollen belly.
“Why did you kill the dog?” I mustered enough courage to ask my father after mother buried the animal in the backyard, near the garbage cans, which was shaded by a hollowed out acacia tree in the dark subdivision we lived in.
My father snorted. “Because I can,” he guffawed, his breath smelling of beer stink. Hell, I quickly knew, smelled like this.
I remember that was the first time I ever felt pain. Perhaps also the last. I was nine. It throbbed like an ancient truth, coming to the fore from the gut, ending as a strange tingling between my legs that surprised me, just for a moment. There was pain, and there was father looking at me like I was a mouse. All I could see in the feverish anger that swelled my thoughts was Tibby’s shattered head upon my father’s body, blood dripping down its jaws and into the soiled beer-stained sleeveless shirt my father wore that night—five years, eight months, and thirteen days before he died.
I had a hard-on. I remembered that most of all. At nine, I had a fucking hard-on.
Later on, in my quiet days, my imagination tries to springs on me the sound of a dog yelping, in that frightened drawn-out cadence that signaled a knowledge of pain. But I have learned to drown that out with the noise of nothingness—a gathering blob of pure vacuum that settles in my head and sits in it like a strange dark dream.
And all I would ever learn to see would be the dark side to everything.
 This is Where You Bite the Sandwich
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