Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Word Color is Spelt with 'U' in it.


   It was one of them days where you keep finding your shoelaces untied, and when tying them, it always a seems you find yourself in the most inconvenient of places. It was a Thursday morning, no wait, it was Saturday, I forget, but it was hot if I recall, and there I was tying my laces on top a rusty air conditioner which hummed. When I put my foot on it, it hummed some more. I was angry, for it must have been the third time I’d a tied them in the span on 3 minutes or so, I can’t be precise. Suddenly from above appeared an old man, who was bald with an untamed beard, wearing an old tattered brown suit. Holding a television remote control, and appearing to be in a bit of a daze, he looked to me and asked. “Young man, do you know of a Church where an old man can get married?”
    I wanted to ignore him, but such an odd questioned baffled me. “No, I don’t,” I said while tying the lace more aggressively, with the intent to make sure that such an unfortunate circumstance would not repeat itself.
    “Well you see, I’m in a hurry, a hurry to get married. The rapture is coming, don’t you know? Soon Christ will come down from the clouds with a fiery sword on a white stallion, and the unjust will be torn and the forgotten shall be heard. For it is written that on that day the lion and the lamb shall lay down together!”
    “I looked to him and blushed. The poor old senile man must a gotten mixed up with them door bell ringers who tell you the end is near and not to eat pork or have untimely sex. “That’s not in the Bible.”
    “Yes son, yes it is. Now where can an old gentleman like myself get married?”
    “Whom are you marrying?
    “A woman, a pretty woman, the prettiest woman you’d ever a seen. You should see her son, you should see her in the afternoons, or in the mornings. No son, in the mornings- you should see my dear in the morning when her face is as pale as the moon. What is your name son?”
    At this moment I was frustrated, not with him, but with myself in the sense that our conversation had gotten on as long as it had. I had now to end this escapade. “I’m sorry sir, I don’t have any change?”
    “Change, what kind of change do you seek? I seek not to get changed, more for anything to change, I only look to get married to my dear.”
    “No, money, I don’t have any money on me.”
    “Money, I do not need money. I am the richest man in the world, for I have the love of my dear. My dear, my dear, you should really see her beauty son, in the mornings when the sky is grey. Oh you should see her, no, you should hear her. She’s the voice of a nightingale lost in the wilderness in spring. Oh my son, you should really come hear her.  What is your name?”
    “I have to leave.” I began walking away but he turned towards me and sought to grab my arm in plea.
    “Wait young man, I just have one request. Would you have the honour to walk an old man across the street?”
    A bit creeped out now, I looked to him with anger. “You look capable.”
    “Please son, for is it not written that when you stand at the Gates of St. Peter, you will be asked by God, ‘When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was naked, did you clothe me?’”
    “You’re clothed and crazed,” I said, “ I have to get going.”
    “Please, young son, for I broke my leg.”
    “And you haven’t a cane?
    “No son, not today, I left it by the fountain, where I left my poems. I have the hobby of leaving my poems on park benches to later gaze out my kitchen window to see if anyone will read them.”
    “And you forgot your cane?”
    “Yes son, yes I did, for one of my poems blew away and I tried to chase it but to no avail. It will now become a gentle whisper in the wind, and breeze behind those who’ve forgotten how to love. I chased my poem up to this street, and then I realized, I’m a man with a broken leg, and without a cane. You will walk me across the street won’t you?”
    I don’t know if it was out of pity or amusement, but I stretched out my hand and said, “come”
    He wrapped his arm around my left and we preceded to make our way to the corner of Preston street.
    “Thank you son, thank you. By heavens thank you for your kindness.”
    I nodded and looked across the street, sighting the bright red letters which said- ‘DON’T WALK!’ and beneath- the ticker counting down from the 57th second.  I looked down to him and saw the brightly coloured remote control he was carrying.      
    “Why do you walk around with a television remote?” I asked
    “Why this here?” He said, holding it up with his right hand. “Why son, this is not for the television. This is for the weather. I can change the weather with this remote control. I can make the sky pink, or hide the sun and make it grey. You see this button here son, this little tiny blue one right here?”
    Spotting the tiny mute button on the remote- I nodded.
    “This button makes it hail. You’ll notice you haven’t seen much hail lately. That’s because this button doesn’t work.”
    I chuckled and was reminded of his poems. “Oh really? I said “And which one controls the wind?”
    “The wind son? Why that would be this button right here,” he said pointing to channel 2.
    “And does that one work?”
    “Oh yes son, yes it does.”
    “Then why do you chase your poems in parks, if you can control the wind with this remote?”
    “Ah clever son, a clever one you are. I think it’s best we walk, no?”
    Looking across the street in bright green letters it said- ‘WALK’. We began to make our way over to the other end.
    “Well you see son I would, I would control the wind and get back my poems which blew away, but I’m afraid the batteries are no longer charged.”
    In a smug look, I nodded, “The batteries are dead?”
    “Yes son, double A’s they are, and they’re dead. I’ll have to buy some new ones. You know the hardware store on Sussex and Kent?”
    “That’s where I buy my batteries. You can buy them there for a whole 10 cents cheaper than you can at that superstore in Barhaven, you know the one I mean?”
    “Yes,” I said while unlooping my arm from his- we had made it to the other side.
    “Ah, and here we are, thank you son, thank you. The Lord will know of your deeds.”
    “Sure I said, you have a nice day now,” and I began to walk away.
    “Wait son, wait. Let me at least do a favour for you. Let me bless you please.”
    Rolling my eyes I looked back, “No I don’t believe in God or any of that superstition.”
    “Please son, please, it is no matter, come come!”
    I just wanted to be rid of this man, so I moved back towards him. “Okay.”
    He patted my forehead with the back of his right hand and began to mutter something under his breath. He looked up towards the sky with his eyes closed. I think it was speaking Latin, for all I could make out was Kyrie Eleison Kyrie Eleison. But then suddenly from out of his muttering he stopped, and his eyes burst open.
    “Pen, pen! I need a pen, inspiration does not permit you to choose when she comes. She comes on her own will, and she’s here now knocking. Pen, pen, young man, you must have a pen!”
    I reached inside my pocket, and just by luck it appeared I had one, though I don’t recall ever using it before.
    “Thank you son, thank you. Now just wait one moment.” He reached inside his pockets. He pulled out some spare change, a yo-yo, a big ring of keys, and then an old crumbled napkin. “Yes, yes, here it is, here it is. Son, hand me that book there of yours, I need a surface to a, to a..”
    “Here,” I said, handing him the book.
    Taking the book in his hand, he flattened the napkin against it. “To write on, thank you son, may the heavens thank you.” He went straight to work, as if in a deep trance. “Here, come here,” he said, “come see, it is for my dear.”
    I watched the old man slowly paint his words gracefully in bright blue ink.

The sun dips down gently
Beneath the green meadow
It was spring now it’s summer
Time will pass and we’ll be fall
In the grass we laid and kissed
In the ground we’ll sleep and wait
I am old and not in love
For I am old and I have loved
Eyes awaken when it’s morning
And I think of her when rain is pouring
Glad you and I were once ever lovers
For it’s people like you who give life C-O-L-O-R

    I smirked and whispered, “you.”
    “What son?”
    Putting down the pen he looked up, “Me?”
    “No, U, the word color is spelt with you in it.”
    “Ah right son right? ‘U’, British English.”
     “Very well,” he said. He scratched out the last word in his stanza, and replaced it with my suggestion. “Very well, very well, enough of that now,” he folded the napkin gently and placed it back in his dirty ragged trousers. Giving the pen back to me, “thank you, thank you, now where was I.”
     “I must get going.”
     “Right, son right. Rat race we live in right? Right, back to it. Enjoy your afternoon.”
    I nodded back to him, and preceded my way down to the other end of the street. A few steps away I heard him cry.
    “Oh son,” he yelled.
    Looking back in bitter annoyance, I thought ‘won’t this man ever cease?’
    Eyeing down, he waved at the ground. “Your shoe lace’s untied. You’d a have that tied up, least you end up like me with a cane too someday.”

     I resumed to where I started, tying my shoe. That night it rained. Though half asleep, I could hear the sound of crackling icy pebbles brush against my window as the wind gently hissed beneath the shutters. I smiled and nestled deeper into my pillow, ‘he must a bought them batteries.’   

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