Track 02 - Food

It was a cool winter morning and a certain youngish couple were driving into town to eat. As the man drove off the interstate into the town the woman looked down at her engagement ring and lapsed into an inexpressible reverie. Or at least, if expressed it would look something like this:

The engaged ring for was a so full beautiful week! He it had glistened gotten in down the on sun his it knee was and so popped huge open and the massive box and it must have been be six carats, at least. It was a good man ring to look go at with to eat world food love light the day his face the sun… where was the sun this cloudy day?

She hummed a happy little song while she thought about it.

"Which way was it to the restaurant?" He asked roughly at the stoplight.

"Hmm?" she asked.

"Which way is it?"

"Uh, turn left."

"Then what?"

She poked at his shoulder and smiled. "I said ʻturn left twiceʼ, silly. You never listen."

He smiled back at her and turned left again. He was certain she only said it once, but it was no use arguing with her. It was hard enough to keep up a good mood through the ice and the cold and the clouds, but he wanted a good meal and a good day and he wasn't going to let anything get in his way. He kept up the smile and drove safely into the restaurant's parking lot. They walked inside, pausing briefly to let him pick up a newspaper.

"Oh honey, look, they remodeled the restaurant."

He was busy with the front page, so he didn't notice it at first. He glanced up and saw new wallpaper and chairs and tables and people. He shrugged and registered for a table and continued reading the paper. She nudged him while they were sitting down and waiting. "Do you like the dress Iʼm wearing?" She smiled at him as he glanced over her dress and mumbled a yes and went back to reading his paper. "Do you remember?" she asked, gently squeezing his arm.

It was nice and blue and it looked familiar, but he couldn't explain, so he guessed. "Yeah, it's that new dress you bought last week."

I had been so ready to light up for him.

She didn't say anything more and he kept reading the paper. Nothing but bad news. Volcano erupts as tourists trapped; many dead. Military advances without resistance; many dead. Digital sundial struck by lightning explodes; many dead. The brightest news on the back page: man bites dog; one dead. She was still smiling while so many were dead and dying. Good thing she never read the paper.

A handsome young waiter took them to their tables. To be a young man at a dead-end job, with no cares except what ends up on his own table, the small bills that loom large, the small meals that fill so much, the small life that could mean everything. A life with options, like a restaurant menu. He picked familiar food, biscuits and gravy. He hoped it would be good. She had tried to make biscuits and gravy once, but the gravy burnt. She ordered something simple and easy to make. The awful, wretched smell. Itʼs a wonder he didn't loathe them outright. Someday she would learn to cook and he would smile every time.

She circled the diamond around her finger as she stared at the creases running along his face. He had gotten more than a few in the past year, but then when you work as hard as he did it's really no wonder. What did she do all day? Sit around the house, mostly. She didn't work, she just expected him to pay their way, which he did without complaint. He was a pretty good fiancee, he thought to himself. She should probably get a job, she thought to herself.

After awhile the food arrived. She smiled and looked at her husband as he absentmindedly ate his biscuits and gravy. He was so intelligent, so cerebral. She wondered what he was thinking about.

I wonder what that woman looks like naked.

That woman was sitting on a table down the room, talking to a man about some fellowship. He mentally kicked himself; heʼs not supposed to think those thoughts with the love of his life sitting across from him. Heʼs supposed to think only of her at all times, yet the very first thought from the very first glance was the very first thing youʼre told over and over not to think. He pushed it out of his mind and tried to think of something else.

I should give her my business card.

Well… why not? It was honestly a good cause.

The biscuits and gravy went down smooth while she ate her own food. She thought about looking behind her, but he was probably staring off into space again, thinking about whatever it was he thought about. She wondered how often he thought about her. She remembered the bumbling car driver who kissed her for the first time, made love to her for the first time, asked her to be his for the last time she hoped anyone would ask her. She remembered what it felt like to be close to another human being. Itʼs terrible she didn't feel close to him right now. He was always worrying about this or that, and why couldn't he stop for one moment and look at her again like he did that first night together?

It had been so long since they had been together, and when they were it all seemed so… perfunctory. Was that a mature relationship? If only father was still alive; if only he knew. She remembered the funeral six months ago, remembered all the people crying at his casket. She remembered the Father on the stage reciting oaths, praying with the congregation for the Father on earth gone to the Father in heaven. So many Fathers to pick and choose. Should we want them all? Should we want to want them all? All the lonely people – where do they come from? – crying out for Father: Come down from the cosmos, comfort our souls! Then every body left.

Maybe thatʼs why he didn't cry. Maybe he knew it was useless – pointless and redundant. Even so, she wanted him to cry. She wanted to help him. She wondered if he would ever let her. It was like he was locked away in a closet; she never knew what he was thinking. It was different that first date. Was he different? He couldn't look at her then and he didn't look at her now, but it was different, the non-looks were different. Why couldn't it be like that first night again? Oh, but he has a job in a business; he reads the paper now.

Might as well torch the damn thing.

He was always so absorbed in it, though you wouldn't know he was reading it by looking at him. The bad news smashed across those pages never seemed to touch him; when she read the paper she mourned the dead, but he skims through it, no problem, no sadness.

He wasn't the same man. Look at him, look at those creases; he was so much more serious, so much older, so much more… mature. Maturity. Sheʼd had enough of the word. She watched the handsome young waiter. How does he treat his love? Does he ever just take her into his arms for no reason? Does he ever wash her dishes because he knows sheʼs got a headache? Does he ever bring her breakfast in bed? Does he ever look at her?

Is he looking at me right now?

She wanted to love him. Later, perhaps.

The Small And Meaningful Life delivered the dessert menu and smiled and left to deliver for everyone else. What was his own life in comparison with such raw potential, such power? He couldn't smash tables or crush men; he couldn't wave his hand and change fate. He was so weak – but he had to protect her, that smile, from anything; volcanoes and exploding sundials, dead men and… oh he was such a pathetic creature, so weak, what could he do? Not even cry. His tears were gone forever. For the one man who remained – the lost Father within him, a vanishing image he wanted to call Father – he feared the day it would disappear, like it never belonged, or existed.

He moved down the dessert menu, looking through it for the food he wanted. Would he ever fnd what he was looking for? He didn't know. He didn't even want to know. He wanted it to be a surprise, but the only surprise is the depravity all around you. He wanted to choose something, anything, wanted to be able to choose, but there were no choices, there was only one kind of pie. He closed the menu and set it aside. Heʼd had enough of decisions. The paper was on his lap. He folded it up and set it aside, too. Heʼd had enough of death. He remembered how she refused to cry at the funeral. He remembered how she looked around, so concerned with everyone else – everyone except for him. He needed her. She wasn't there. She was off with soiled wet handkerchiefs and bleeding teardrop mascara, caressing the dead, black hearts tucked deep inside every black suit and black dress. They didn't care about anybody. They loved themselves; they cried because their help was gone, because they lost someone. They didn't love him. She didn't love him.

He was alone, lost and alone, and his chest begged him to clutch at the flesh in front of his heart. But he would be better. He would help her. He would love her, even though she didn't love him. He would bear these burdens, he would smile his fake smiles, and he would keep on choking back the non-existent tears. It was all about appearances; that was his lot in life. And you know what? It was alright. Who needs love? Who needs to cry? It was pointless and redundant anyway.

The check came and as he stood up to pay it and leave he grabbed the newspaper and knew that every world has its volcanoes and sundials – one needs only fnd them. He had found his fire. He had found his light. Time and nature would bow down before him. He would be the master of his world.

My needs are met, Father. Disappear.

Guilt failed to ache his bones, and instead he felt only peace. Wordlessly, the couple walked out to the car. She looked into his sternly set face, locked her arm into his, and felt a bit closer to him. Yes, she could love this man, and that was happiness. He cast his stare down her face, still looking up into his, and smiled. Maybe she did love him. He helped her into the car and closed her door and got into his side of the car and looked into her face again. Yes, he had found his light, and she would be it. He hoped. His fearlessness scared him. His confidence was worrying.

"Arenʼt you going to give me a kiss, dear?"

He reached over and kissed her briefly and she smiled and he smiled and started up the car and they drove away. The sun was still hidden behind the clouds.

Shelly said her husband gave her a ring and it looked so beautiful but it was a fraud…

track 01 - snapshØt
track 02 - fØØd
track 03 - if Ønly