That’s what became of him…

There was always somethin’ that he couldn’t place his finger on…little fact or a trace of a thought that escaped his mind…kept him up at nights…wonderin’ just how things got so bent outta shape…he wanted to call up and ask her…wanted to…never got ’round to it…

Instead he’d just walk ’round all day bangin’ his head against brick walls…talkin’ to himself internally ’bout this last love affair gone awry…it was always goin’ awry…one before her and the one before that…a whole list of failed relationships…these women haunted him…

He’d think ’bout ’em in his sleep…had dreams…dreamt ’bout the red head, blondey, and big brunette…all of ’em had long hair…just piles and piles of it he’d run his fingers through…used to love the smell of it…would kiss ’em on the forehead just to catch a whiff…

But…all these women would leave ’em ‘ventually…said he was too much to handle…said his wild ways were gettin’ wilder as he grew older…takin’ off in the middle of the night to walk ’round town…Sheriff would find ’em out on highway 30 thumbin’ rides to go out West…then sometimes they’d find him out on 24 over by the Ohio line…just sittin’ there grinnin’ like an idiot…like some kid with blueberry pie all over his face…

So…he’d spend his final years alone…sittin’ in a recliner with his feet up at night dreamin’…just dreamin’…that’s what became of him…

him…

They thought they’d never hear from him again…all that time away…seems like he was gone forever…didn’t have a phone number or an address…nobody knew where he took off to…just left one day…like some mischievous dog that you best keep on a leash and the one time you don’t…he’s gone…

Well…he come back to town…friend of mine saw him down at the bar the other night…said he was nursin’ a Coca-Cola…didn’t sound like him…he was drinkin’ whisky last time I saw him…he’d put down three or four in less than an hour…in fact…I never saw him sober…stayed drunk all the time…and he’d get in that mustard colored Chevy of his and drive all ’round town…runnin’ stop lights…swervin’ and turnin’ down one way streets…nobody dared get in the car with him…put your life in his hands…no sir…no sir…

It’s a funny thing when people leave…they don’t give you any clues…just leave…his daddy left a long time ago…raised by his momma…her parents would watch him when she went to work at the plant…worked the graveyard shift…she’d get off work and go to the bar too…stay there til noon…playin’ pool and drinkin’ whisky…just like he would…she was probably thinkin’ ’bout that man that’d left her…

But…he’d keep runnin’ away throughout high school…took off to Chicago…Denver…took off for New York one time…thought he never would come back from there…but he did…kept comin’ back and comin’ back…momma put him in some special councilin’ to try and make his head right…it was no use…he just took off again…

So now after years he’s back in town…drinkin’ Coca-Cola…wonder if he’s gonna stay…I wonder…

sure she figured it out…

couldn’t keep em straight…too many rules to follow…got to be a relationship built on instructions…guess she thought she could control me that way…guess she thought it was best if she was in charge…

so…I let her…let her be in charge…dictated where the money went…how it was spent…every dollar was spoken for…I’d go out for a beer after work and get an earful…everything had to have her approval see…everything…

and this led to other deals in the marriage…what we would eat…places we’d go to…when we’d make love…it’s as if all activities were scheduled…like she had a plan…

so…one day after work at the factory…spendin’ all day screwin’ bolts…I drove on my way home…and I didn’t pull into the gravel driveway…just kept on drivin’…drove out past the town park…past the DQ…drove on out to 24 headin’ east…towards the Ohio line…kept drivin’ the old Ford truck on into the night…threw the cellphone out the window…kept watchin’ the orange line hoverin’ ’round E…I just kept drivin’…

there was this real sense of freedom I had…like I was a bird flyin’ solo…the smell of alfalfa come up through the vents…a full moon shined down on me…

yep…a real sense of freedom…guess it’s what I always wanted…didn’t say goodbye…didn’t write a letter…sure she figured it out…

used to have dreams ’bout her…

He used to have these dreams ’bout her….short films goin’ off in his head at night while he tossed and turned…he’d wake up thinkin’ she was next to him…he was wrong…

dreamt ’bout long walks they used to take out in the woods with their dogs…she always wore a black wool cap with her blonde hair comin’ out of it down to her shoulders…and she always wore boots…cowboy boots that looked like they’d been beaten up a little…used to dream they walked hand in hand…

these dreams went on for a long period of time…and it was always Fall…pretty leaves of golds and reds covered the ground they walked on…he’d pick up a handful and toss ’em at her…she’d run and giggle…run and giggle…

that was a long time ago…funny how things change…people love and fall outta love…people quit seein’ the need to have anybody in their lives…and people give up…

they were in love for a short time…but she haunted him in dreams for a good spell…those dreams kept him from wantin’ any other…scared to love again…terrified to give it a shot…those dreams…those dreams…

He used to have dreams ’bout her…

Sunday morning…

it’s Sunday morning and a wind wails…Mexicans walk down alleys wearing cowboy hats of black and white…fathers holding hands of children dressed up for church…moms talking in Spanish as brown leaves blow into the streets of a Midwestern town…

trees sway in the wind…back and forth…pines and limbs on maples which are bare…gray clouds move in from the North….and it looks like rain…it is noon…church bells ring out…

cars drive by slowly…an old silver van…red pickup truck…some beat up Chevy in need of a muffler goes down side streets…stopping at stop signs…watching the Mexicans coming out of Saint Patrick’s…they have received their blessings for the day…

I sit here and look out my window…watching…waiting for light…where did the sun go…where did it go…

Margarita…

she sat in the bar drinkin’ by herself…had Margaritas…the kind with Grand Marnier in ’em…sipped at it with a straw…

and she didn’t talk to no-one… men would approach her…tell her how pretty she looked…there was no response…not even a mischievous smile…just sat there in silence…watchin’ Wheel Of Fortune with the sound down as blues played in the background…

had these red fingernails she’d run through her pitch black hair every once in awhile…would take out a tiny mirror to check her looks…then she’d point to her glass and in a whisky cigarette voice ask for another…she’d slide tens for seven dollar drinks…

came one day I didn’t see her in there…then another and another…didn’t ask ’bout her…didn’t wanna seem as though I was pryin’…just came to the conclusion she was gone…one way or another she was gone…

wonder what happened to her…

just talkin’…

he was tellin’ stories last night…

always tellin’ stories…

never know if they’re true or not…

gotta investigate…

can’t take him at his word…

nope…who can ya…

I’d hope you’d take me at my word…hope you’d think it’s true…

I do…I do…I’m just sayin’ in general…the way people talk…can’t getta full understandin’ on ’em…they just talk to hear themselves talk…everybody’s gotta voice…whatever that means…

he was talkin’ ’bout some woman…always ’bout a woman…how he conquered her…broke her will…made her do things she didn’t know she had inside her…

it’s always ’bout women…or fightin’…always someone talkin’ ’bout fightin’…how he’d duck and dodge…landin’ the perfect punch…

and what’d they fight over…

women…always talkin’ ’bout fightin’ over women…it’s a young man’s game…

yep…

he’ll learn…some guy’ll get the best of him…call him out on his bullshit some night…you’ll see…won’t talk so proud then…put him in the backseat awhile…been ridin’ shotgun too long…hell…I might do it myself…

really…

nope…just talkin’…