Stalking the Average Man
Saa-ra studied the sky as if it was about to change into something else; I couldn't help but
take a peek. It felt like forever, but was probably less than thirty seconds before I realized Bonnie
would sit there until we were staring at the moon, waiting to hear what had come to my mind.
-I know you‘re looking for every experience the audience might possibly relate to, but I can
guarantee this isn‘t one of them. |
-With what will you guarantee this? |
-I need a break for the can, | I said, standing.
-You can tell her on the way back, | Saa-ra said.
Patte rns of Intent
A few steps later, I said, "My ex-wife called me, after two years without any contact, and
rambled about her life being over because she had herpes, then she made references about
making sure her life was over. I had no idea what I was going to say, but I told her to come over,
things had happened since we'd last seen each other. I still had nothing definite to say when she
arrived, but my mood changed from concern to a feeling of such indifference that when I found a
barely related incident I just ran with it. |
-What it was, specifically. |
-That‘s the thing, it wasn't specific. |
Saa-ra said nothing to interrupt the sounds of our footfalls.
Clearing my throat, I said, -I told Lynda that, in Salvador, the army had started killing
people in a small village because they had allegedly helped the guerrillas. If it were true, the
villagers wouldn‘t have had a choice but to help. Nearby neighbors grabbed whatever they could
carry, and ran into the jungle. Soldiers had been tracking a couple of families for three or four
days when we came across them—first the soldiers, and a few minutes ahead, the families. |
Abruptly awash in a wave of sticky vertigo, I reached for Bonnie's arm to steady myself.
Cold and baffled, I took a few breaths before I said, -We told them they were really close to
being caught, but they chose to stay. It meant certain death, but it didn't matter to them. |
-What did your wife think about your story? |
-She calmed down, which surprised the hell out of me, because I barely got the gist of the
story myself. |
-What was the point of your narrative? |
-Other people had worse things to deal with than controllable infections. |
-She heard a story about self-pity killing her; she needed to move on. |
I stutter-stepped with the realization that Saa-ra‘s version hit the mark—it had been in
Lynda‘s eyes, but at the time I wasn‘t about to screw around with success by questioning why
she seemed to feel better.
-We have more, | Saa-ra carried on as if she was adding to an order through a takeout
speaker. -Your interpretation of stunned amazement suited the moment in Ethiopia when you
exclaimed, =This cannot be.‘ In reality, Philip was stating his intentions through you and for you.
Also, knowing about your father‘s imminent return to us was an omen of your raw abilities, and
evidence of our benevolence, because disappointment cripples you. | She paused. -It is also time
to tell her. |
-Tell her… | I suddenly knew what she meant; -what? | uselessly dribbled out of my mouth.
-If you have no questions, we will leave you for now. We love you. |
-Uh huh. |