Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Wilderness Years - Last of the Mohicans


The war had spilled over into it's second year, a house that i once thought vibrant and alive was now nothing more than empty space and dead air, the battle lines drawn and the place sectioned off like Berlin via 1946 or so, i was breezing through the last year at the university, going to class and doing well, far away from the front lines of the war, i was isolated but still felt it's effects...

Most days i could occupy my time by doing my work and writing and drinking and chasing women but there were times when i couldn't run from the situation and did the best i could to deal with a problem i couldn't understand and when spring break came up i was faced with no option other than to stay in my shitty little western Pa. town and ride it out, a week where the place turned into a ghost town except for those desperate souls with nowhere to go and then i was faced with the reality of the situation, that at 22 i didn't want to sound like a pussy but it would have been nice to eat a home cooked meal and sleep in an actual bed, see old friends, take out old girlfriends, generally have the last hurrah before being shoved off into the working world of the dead and joyless, of course a few friends hung around through the first weekend to party and lay about but by monday i was standing in an empty apartment with just a stack of books and the first handle of Seagram's 7 and a bottle of 7-Up to keep me company...

Since i was living the bohemian dream i had no television, i could only read so much and though i had an ample stash i still had to ration the weed so as not to run out before everyone came back, the war at home had sent every one's finances into a shamble and since small towns are not conducive to giving students local jobs i created one for myself... as luck would have it the local legend had been suffering from paranoid delusions and a healthy speedball habit and suddenly the town was dry, so me and a friend pulled together our resources after we stumbled upon a connection, basically we cobbled together money from refund checks and cash advanced the credit cards they so loved to dole out to students back then and took up where the local legend left off, my services provided me with some pocket money and a nice head stash but with the population gone for a week i knew i'd be running skint, that and the fact that all the kids would go home and come back with better shit than what i had was leaving me looking at a tough couple of weeks but i thought i was smart and being a self-sufficient derelict i had a few tricks, mainly i saved on food by going down to the dive supermarket around the corner and lifting whatever i could to eat, mainly beans and rice and cans of Chef-boy-Ardee, then i'd plop down a couple bucks for bread and peanut butter, maybe some mac and cheese just to make it look like i wasn't wandering around the store thieving...

The other stroke of luck i had that week was the new found attention of one of the local co-eds, a tomboy with the body of a centerfold, all 36-24-36 or whatever the measurements are, she had been attracting alot of attention from the art crowd/ skater gang but somehow it was me she had taken a shine too after her popular neo-hippie genius boyfriend had cut her loose, he was a striking lad whose daddy was a science professor and this girl had followed him to school here only to have him tell her he didn't need a shadow, he was one of those guys who i had a feeling was more intelligent than i but who i think had a bit of fear in him due to my size and reputation of something of a loose cannon, i was a guy who seemed to fear very little, we did the alpha male dance civilly, cordial but always keeping our distance...

So my days where spent lying about reading and drinking, on sunday i was walking aimlessly down the street, stoned and drunk of course, and looked up to see that the Last of the Mohican's was playing at the local movie house, the one with Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe, needless to say i had a major thing for Madeleine Stowe around this time and seeing as how she was pretty much the embodiment of the perfect woman in this movie i spent part of the next four days sitting in this movie theater and watching this film, sometimes i would sneak in bottles of beer and sit there all drunk and dreaming of somehow winning sweet Madeleine's heart, of course i did have a sweet young girl to curl up with now and then but this week was about killing time and this movie was helping me do it...

The week was also about keeping the memories at bay and by wednesday i had ran through another handle of Seagram's not to mention what i was downing at the local boozer, a place where few students went, a place for the townies to avoid the frat boys, only the Art Crowd really drank there and since i was damn near president of the club i spent my nights sitting on my stool in the corner and gazing at the stuffed large mouth bass hanging on the wall, this was a place to drink, no telly, a jukebox with country golden greats, all run by a little old lady everyone called "Ma", Ma noticed that i was still around as the week progressed and one night she pulled me aside and asked why i was still there, i explained as best i could without breaking down like a drunk fucking sap that my house was a bit of a shambles and that i didn't feel like going back cuz it wasn't even like my home anymore, explained the silence and the cold and she told me to sit down in a booth in the corner and a few minutes later walked out of the kitchen with giant hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potato's and gravy, a roll and some green beans, told me to enjoy it cuz it was on her, i ate with my head down so she wouldn't see the mist in my eyes and it felt like the best fucking hot roast beef sandwich i had ever eaten...

It was a long week and in some respects a great week, i'd probably been better off staying a bit more sober but when you've got nothing to do sometimes things just go off the rails, i had my movie and my books and i'd drink and look out the corner window at the town's main street and count cars and people, painting childlike pictures that i'd later destroy, lining up beer cans and whiskey bottles as they met there demise, i'd also take long walks and it was friday i believe and i was drunk and it was late, the streetlights all flashing yellow and in my drunken state i began to realize that i was never going to get Cora Munro aka Madeleine Stowe, mainly cuz i wasn't Hawkeye, i was Uncas, the last of the Mohicans, alone in a small town, the circle of my family broken and it was left to me to pick up the pieces and make something of what i had left, i could hear the traffic light click as it blinked and could smell the water on the trees as the wind blew down out of Cook's Forest and into this sleepy little town, i stood there a long time and felt the cool, damp air... admired the stars and even cracked a smile as the air went in and out of my lungs... then i climbed the steps and walked into my apartment... and there, to my surprise, was a girl curled and sleeping in my bed, i gently slipped the glasses off her nose, placed them on a table and fell asleep beside her...





4 comments:

twin said...

hmmm....frustrated....very frustrated. just when i fall into the groove of your sentences...they're gone. when's your book coming out?

daisyfae said...

lifting cans of The Chef? them's some big pockets...

i love Ma and every woman like her.

nursemyra said...

I hope you gave her what she came for in the morning when you both woke up

Kono said...

Twin- thanks, i thought this one came out a bit crap but it's good to know they're still interesting enough to read, still shaking the rust off... and you're saying you'd read my book if i wrote one? hell i'd sign it and send it to you, just give me a few years, i'm lazy and prone to bouts of drinking and the like...

Daisy- It was still cold and those winter coats come in handy, especially if you lift the microwave meals. Ma was a gem.

Nurse- I'm nothing if not a Gentleman Nursie, see Afghan Whigs album of the same title.