Friday, January 20, 2006

The Night We Fell

The children ran with fire in the night. They went up and down the shore of the lake--tiny, giggling streaks of light. Molly and I sat on our deck in our folding chairs, holding hands as we watched them play.

"From here," Molly said in her low, soft voice. "You almost forget they're children."
And it was magical that she'd said that just then, because I'd been thinking the very same thing.
"They could be angels for all we know." Molly continued. "Or some new, amazing species of bird."
Well okay, maybe we hadn't been thinking the exact same thing--I'd been thinking something more like Angry Villagers, but close enough.

Molly gently rubbed my knuckles with her thumb and I knew she was happy.
"Know what I mean?"
I shrugged. It was too dark for her to see it, but of course your shirt tends to rustle a bit with a shrug, and I'd certainly done it enough times over the years for her to catch the move. She laughed lightly.
"You know what I mean--you just think it's manly to pretend not to."
I dismissed that statement with a very grumpy snort but met her thumb with the tip of my own so she'd always know I cared.

"Let's join them Molly." I proposed after some time had passed. "I think there's some sparklers in the shed. Let's light those sparklers and run crazy in the night."
Her hand went rigid in mine and I knew I'd said something wrong. A moment later I remembered she had no legs--which was just a truly absurd thing to forget. I mean, for Pete's Sake, in half our wedding pictures you can see the stack of apple crates she'd been placed upon to bring our eyes at least close to level.
Senility's a real fuck in the mind sometimes.

"I'm sorry Molly." I whispered. "I keep forgetting you have no legs."
"I know you do." She replied. "It's one of the reasons I love you."
I sat up abruptly, a wild grin spreading across my craggy face. "We're doing it anyway." And I tottered off to get the sparklers.

It had been years since I'd lifted her but I put that from my mind. Hell, I had already fetched the sparklers by then, which was easily thirty steps and back, and at my age you don't ever want to waste perfectly good strides.

We were halfway to the lake when the stroke hit. I dropped as if shot but managed to safely cradle Molly as we fell. I'd have probably minded the pine cones digging into my spine a lot more if I could have actually felt my spine.
"Run for help Molly." I managed to groan. "I think it's the big one now."
A second later I had to laugh at myself, though it came out as more of a whimper.
"Oof, I'm such an idiot."
She pulled herself over, propped her elbows on my chest and kissed me for a very long time.
"Yes, you are." She replied. "But in the very best way."

And a man can't do better than that. And even if he could--why would he want to?

15 Comments:

At 3:20 AM, Blogger Peter said...

How does the old line go Latigo? and now for something completly different, hardly a trace of squinty eyes showing there.

 
At 5:24 AM, Blogger Sadia said...

At least you know Molly can't run away with another man, Latigo. This must bring peace to your cow-poking er... mind.

Loving a beautiful woman with legs - never was there a more sure recipe for dark, tortured, jealous imaginings...

 
At 7:54 AM, Blogger hen said...

Latigo you may have a rare and previously unheard of psychological condition called Sanscrurisnonmemoria. Sufferers are incapable of retaining the memory of the lack of legs on others.

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger Berlinbound said...

Your brain must be made of mercury ... because you are all over the place. I had no idea in the world where this was going ... Great stuff!

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger SugarHigh said...

sorry to be the sappy one, but that one made tears well up in my eyes. i also cry at hallmark ads...but who doesn't.

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger Teaspoon said...

You got me LF, you got me. I was reading it wondering where it was going and then half way BAM! got hit like a ton of bricks and even though it was a sad tale I couldn't help but laugh at the same time, so there I was laughing and feeling bad about laughing and laughing all the more.

You are a right bastard for putting me in that situation sir. A right bastard.

 
At 5:10 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

Oh, how I long for true love.

 
At 6:54 PM, Blogger Ev said...

The sweetest tale of love I've heard in quite some time. Would that we were all so lucky...

 
At 9:45 PM, Blogger Cad Grublygold said...

That reminds me of the time I chalenged an armless hobo to a thumb wrestling match, he cried for three days. I'm glad Molly was so forgiving.

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger Ari said...

I'm printing this out straight away to save and read at the next wedding I'm invited to, even if it's my own.

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

There were four men floatin' down the river on a marble slab. The blind man seen a duck! quack quack.

the man with no arms on grabbed up a gun and shot the duck. quack.

the man with no legs on ran out and got the duck.

the man with no clothes on grabbed the duck and put it in his pocket.

Now, what do you think of that?

It's a damn lie, just like Mr. Flint tried to get past us.

 
At 5:38 PM, Blogger Rasmus said...

What you have there is an amazing woman.


Even though she just leaves you to die.

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Um, run this by me again, will you? It was too perfect the first time.

 
At 10:36 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Peter, I'm lost.

Yes Sadia, at least there's that. But it doesn't bring as much peace as one might think.

I like that Hen--I like that a lot. It's going very close to the top of my list of psychological conditions--right above water dementia, and just below night terrors.

Thank you very much Berlinbound. But don't ever forget how toxic mercury is.

No need to be sorry Sugarhigh, I wept like a schoolgirl as I typed it. (And touched myself twice when it was done. But we don't need to mention that part... oops, except that it would seem I just have.)

You are correct TSP, I am a right bastard, very much so. I'm also the Grin in the Dark--but does anyone ever mention that? Noooo, they don't. Fuckers.

Tuck your child in Cindy-Lou and softly sing to him as he sleeps. Don't waste time searching for what you already have. (Fuckin' whiner.)

Yeah but we aren't all so lucky Ev, not even close. A lot of screenwriters would be out of business if we were.

Of course she might have been faking 'cause I was dying Grublygold--never can tell with gals, you know?

I think that's a great plan Ari. Hell, might even work for weddings you aren't invited to.

You callin' me a liar Old Hoss?!!! Tougher men than you have done so and haven't even lived to regret it.

It wasn't real Rasmus, if you must know the truth. Oh, the dyin' part was, just not the woman part.

They say perfection is in the details Old Hoss.

(Wait, is that right? Maybe it's glory that's in the details.

Huh? What's that you say? The Devil? The Devil is in the details? Are you sure?!!! What does that even mean?!!!

Oh.)

 
At 12:41 AM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

Latigo, somehow I never read this. It was a big mistake. This is so, so magic.

 

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