queuing down


It’s a very British thing to do. Queue. They say it’s their national past time. I reckon they’re right. I reckon it has a lot to do with the NHS and that pervasive politeness they’re all decked out in. The kind that holds firm until it outs itself in the form of sarcasm. Extreme.

I dreamt last night he queued down into a mine and never came out. When I woke I could feel the loss but not the face so I kept asking ‘Who?’, until I remembered. Then all I wanted to know was ‘Why?’. Why was he down there in the first place?

I somehow ended up back home. With a big lump of hurt but no tears running from my throat to my stomach. Bunched up in the middle of my chest like an ole bull frog. The kind that use to sit by the creek bank and holler and look ugly when we were kids.

My father and my brother were trading my car in for a new one. New car new life. I said ‘What kind?’ and they said ‘Ford’. I asked ‘What colour?’, they said ‘Doesn’t matter’.

That seemed to be the default. Fords and fathers. An old farm high on a mountain that looked much smaller than it use to. Than it once was. It’s the Elementary Effect. I reckon. Where everything seems just so when you’re stuck in grades K though Six. Then you grow into high school and go back and wonder how you ever fit in all those tiny rooms and tiny chairs and tiny toilets.

I grew into something else and went back and wondered how I ever fit.

When I left home there was a song that played on a country music station. Wide Open Spaces. I somehow turned it into me and my-life-then because that’s what you do. A few years later I heard it again and thought Isn’t it funny how green and grass sometimes suffocates me? How most times, if I think about it, it does. How pavement pizza and all its stench and foulness is often more preferable. More desirable. Than a field of trees and country side? I thought these thoughts then. In the middle of Fords and fathers and some foreign place I once called home.

But he was still down in the mine. And I was still covering my face. Trying to breathe deep the air cupped to it. Still shaking my head. Unable to cry. Unbelieving, because ‘He’s a city boy who’s never even seen a lightening bug. So what was he doing in that mine?’

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