Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An old truck hauling firewood has lost its load in the snow. The truck is parked by the curb, facing uphill. There are disinterested people walking by in dark coats and hats. The driver points to a low flat empty trailer behind the truck, and says he’d be happy if the wood were put on the trailer. I volunteer. He thanks me, then climbs into the cab. The wood is white. It blends with the snow. I pick up as much of it as I can find and put it on the trailer. Before long, the pieces I’m picking up are only the outside bark portion. I find them by locating their eyes, which look up at me through a layer of ice. I handle them carefully, because I think they might be ancient tribal masks. Finally, I give up. The driver is asleep. I walk into a building, thinking it’s a bank. Instead, it’s a little bar with very simple tables. Everyone is drinking the same thing, a non-alcoholic clear fluid served in six-ounce juice glasses. Everyone is happy. About three tables away, my mother is chatting and laughing with an elderly woman I don’t know. They’re having a wonderful time. She looks my way without recognition. I’m joined by a friend. He’s holding one of the drinks. He says it’s time to leave. I follow him around one corner and down some steps. The walls are made of orange clay. As we reach the bottom of the steps, he almost collides with a young boy, but he doesn’t spill his drink. The boy is no longer a boy, but a navy man in a fancy uniform. He passes by us without saying a word. I ask my friend if he’d like to go somewhere and have a real drink. He says no, he had far too much to drink the night before. I realize then that I don’t even remember the night before. It makes me wonder what else I don’t remember.

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