Thursday, September 7, 2017

Dandelion Village and the labyrinth excerpt


I loved that sacred wall in the labyrinth, Dandelion Village, Marion's slight voice, cracking, fading, so much bigger than Tad and his infidelity or the dangling branch, it was a Lampedusa of sorts, testimony to the farmers, the salt of the earth people might say, not me, no, I never said those things, and Tad was wrong this time, because I could care less about the dead past, not now, not while the present was so visceral, when Marion was dying, not when he may have been falling deeper in love every minute, laughing at her jokes, watching her mouth, the nape of her neck when she looked down at the ground just so, but maybe Marion, or even her father, maybe Theodore Quinn, he might have said it, or men like him, the kind of man Tad might have wanted to be but never could be, these men like Theodore Quinn, men who climbed and fastened shingles and lightning rods to roofs, men who fixed, who hammered and sawed, brought trees down, men with sanguine cheeks and callouses, these men who worked hard, worked from dusk until dawn, prayed before meals, thanking the Lord for family and bread and drink, prayed with calloused palms used for tightening and hammering, later used for caressing a wife or a daughter’s cheek, men who drank hard, drank whisky, told stories while fire embers cracked on mud-caked boots, dazed, weary men who sat still as stones, enamored by wives busy and bending, lusting, wiping raw hands on aprons, swiping stray hairs away from tired foreheads, while these husbands, watched, voyeuristic, watched and waited for the taking, knowing the pleasure was more in the the hunt, anticipating the taking, when she was unaware, sewing, bent over the belly stove, emptying water into the basin. Those were easier times, Theodore Quinn might have said, good times, before the race riots, before the cults, before Jim Jones, before the Manson Murders and Helter Skelter, before the sexual revolutions, before women argued for the sake of arguing, burned bras, held signs that said women power and peace not war, before all of the angst and misery and modern conveniences that made life more complex, more dangerous, turned women against themselves, as they had too much time now to consider their own importance, to see themselves amounting to more than breeders, to reflect on their roles, to become problematic and snarky and dismissive of their men, no matter how hard these men worked.

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