Today, quicksilver March clouds hug Torqwamni Hill in a multilayered embrace composed of soft kisses and the murmured promise of a twisted-shank thrust below the sternum and into the heart. Both may be interpreted as acts of affection. And it is Tennyson who claims that spring is when young men think of love; yet nothing the Lord says expands well on what the young ladies make of the situation. Perhaps this is because it is less poetic, and concerns what passes from mothers to daughters on the subjects of cows and the price of milk.
Every girl loves a showman reckoned Big Micky Taverne.
Stand behind their car as the waltzer takes a group of them up and down. Watch as they huddle up, heads rested on shoulders, screaming in unison. One if not all will be giving you the glad eye, willing you on. Come on they’re saying, give us a spin. So, you do and they scream so loud it would burst your eardrums if they weren’t already bust from the music.
In my father’s building, there was a daily ritual. The old ladies from the building would gather in the lobby and wait for the mailman, saying things like, “I hope he doesn’t come as late as he did yesterday,” or “Remember that Thursday in October when he didn’t come at all?”
Her chiming phone, the ring tone meant to be soothing, shattered their sleep. Alice sat straight up. “Yes-yes, what is it?”
It was Mrs. Johnson, two doors away. Her daughter had not returned from last night’s party at the beach. Did Keith know what beach? Could he go down there? It was almost light.
We’d been drinking for hours when he asked me about her. Normally we talked about the rugby or pussy. It’s not that we didn’t have anything meaningful to say to each other; it’s just that when most guys get together they need an hour or two to talk shit before getting to anything real.
”I used to live up there, in the red house. My window was just behind the oak tree and I stared out during the night, over this graveyard. I guess you can imagine how I’d fantasized. Wandering ghouls and vampires. Back then only this lamppost existed. Not that one or the one after. This lamppost was like a lantern, a lonely lantern in the dark, and during damp autumn nights when it was dead silent I snuck down here and stood next to it. Heard only the flickering sound of the lightbulb. The hedges were walls all around me. And when a wind flew through the branches and when someone visited the graveyard, I hid in the bushes.”
Erica pressed out a mint from the candy tube and ate it. “Time to go?”
Over millions of years ago Breakheart Woods, between Saugus and Wakefield in Massachusetts, had been bookmarked by boulders and blow-offs and earthly cataclysm, and to this day, somewhere in its innards from those first struggles of granite and earth fire, from violent fractures and upheavals to be known again only at the end of it all, was a cave, a cave as dark as a heart, a cave that once, I believed, pulsed with a heart. Now we were searching for that cave, in earnest.