The other night a young woman appeared at the bar, off her head. I couldn't understand what she wanted to order, vodka and something. The husband signalled that she wasn't to be served. I looked at the mother-in-law for guidance, and she wouldn't look at the girl. Then the girl said, "Fuck you. I want to be served by someone who understands English." Ugh. Her boyfriend was mortified.
On Saturday, we hosted a 21st birthday party; the bar was heaving for the first time in weeks. Then on Sunday the footballers won the county final. They made a victory lap of the town, and came in with the cup, the gleaming outcome of months of hard work, a parochial fetish dutifully filled with vodka and red bull. They partied for 3 nights straight, until the last man tottered home.
I went for a walk in the countryside around the family farm. Cattle had been sold and assessed, and Bernie was more relaxed than she had been in months. The final bits of the father-in-law's estate were in order, and the autumn had arrived, casting deep shadows all over the land. Sam was finally walking on his hurt hind leg. The summer was over, the pragmatic effects of its aftermath dealt with.
Whatever had injured Sam was in the past, and it feels so good to finally move on, past the exhaustion and worry. I could finally think about the book proposal and essay ideas. I could read a short story, like David Hayden's "Reading", and feel it haunting me for days. I could dream, and the dreams could feel like stories, such as the dream about a secret magical language children know until they forgot it. I could read, while the shapes of sentences began to form in my unconscious.