Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Broken Man

Deep into the pocket of his dusty dungarees laid an unforgettable memory. Better yet, a broken promise or a betrayal. Its presence caused him so much pain both physically and emotionally. Emotional because the memory of his wife was crippling, physical because his pants were so tight that the ring in his pocket dug into his skin.
       He drove in his dirty pickup truck over a bumpy, neglected road. Each bang of the road caused a vibration in all parts of the truck, including its driver. His travels shook his inadequate regions, the wallet that was never full enough for her, the heart that didn’t care enough for her, and the selfish crotch that couldn’t satisfy her. His head also moved with the dips in the road, allowing the tears that he was holding back to spill out like the glass of whisky on the dashboard. If the truck shook enough, the glass would fall and shatter into a million pieces. An outcome like this would ironically match the broken man driving to nowhere.
       His left hand was oddly immaculate and wrapped around the steering wheel. His right was swollen with bits of drywall powder embedded in the cuts of his knuckles. He had spent the evening testing their durability by punching holes into the wall after he heard the news.
       “I am selfish, I want too much, and I cannot be made happy by you. I need time to try to change that. Try to change me. And I cannot do that while we are together. That is why I have to leave.” His wife confessed.
       The urge to fall to his knees and weep was overtaken by the instinct to attack. He wouldn’t dream of ever physically hurting her, but he never made any promises to the walls. Each strike delivered surges of pulsing pain throughout his body that was quickly replaced by surges of adrenaline and brief euphoria. His blood smeared on the wall after three hits, but after that he found the way to break through the wall leaving an ample sized hole. Once the process was mastered, he broke holes into the walls with each hit. He breathed rapidly to supply oxygen to his over-worked muscles while teetering between giddiness and tears.
       ‘You bitch! He thought. I ain’t even gonna tell you how I feel ‘cause you can’t take that shit. But I’ll show you. Work hard and this is the thanks I get?! Watch me destroy this damn house I built for you. Let me see the look on her face.’ He turned to her and saw an open door. She left before he could even react.   She heard the crashing noises from the outside as she entered her vehicle. But it didn’t matter to her because she rehearsed this night a thousand times before the opening act; his breakdown wasn’t at all a surprise. She knew him very well, and sadly he didn’t know her at all. He and his damaged hand walked to the door left ajar. On the table next to the door, lay her
wedding ring. He snatched the ring and stuffed into the pocket of his snug jeans. He grabbed his keys from the key holder and slammed the door behind him. He intended to follow her but she was already long gone.
       That incident left him driving in his truck into the wee hours of the night. A sudden pothole caused left tire to go flat. He wasn’t aware of this and continued on. His crying blinded him slightly and he tried to wipe his eyes. Once his vision was cleared, he saw the sparks coming from the right side of his truck. He stopped the truck and got out of it. He studied the remains of the tire, spat and sat down on the ground.
       He thought about the contents of his truck, it was overly full. Supplies, equipment and such seemed to be thrown about in its bed. To the uniformed eye, its presentation would appear devoid of organization. But for Texidor the broken man, everything was in its right place. He knew the paintbrush belonged tangled under the mass of dirty blankets that seemed to be miles away from the rusty cans of paint. When working with friends, he would refer specific tools as ‘the thing, by the thing, under the thing.’ If the right “thing” wasn’t brought to him, he would be baffled at the misunderstanding.
       This time the “thing” in particular was supposed to be alongside the “other thing.” But it wasn’t there. He remembered checking the truck bed weeks before the unexpected confrontation with his wife. “Damn it, somebody stole my spare tire.” Nobody actually did, the spare was the sudden flat that has now left him in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps a more organized man would have replaced the spare a long time ago, or better yet buy a new set of tires. But sound practices like these weren't common place for Texidor Williamson.
       It was just him and his wounded vehicle. He laid his head against the cold metal of the truck as he sat down, legs stretched against the dusty ground. Hypothetical thoughts permeated into the thinning layers of common sense. He wondered many things that had nothing to do to help his situation: What if I punched the couch instead of the wall? Probably hurt less. When was the last time I spoke with my mother? Three months ago. If I lay down in the street, how long would it take for a car to hit me? One would have to try to find out.
       A polyphonic melody whispered its way out of the rusty truck. For a brief moment, Texidor didn’t know what it was and just hummed along: Silent Night, Holy Night. The music almost brought him out of his self-destructive mindset. He quickly realized that it was his cellular phone ringing loudly in his glove box. He got up on his feet, opened the door, and grabbed the electronic device. The LCD screen simply read: 1 missed call. He scrolled to the recent calls menu and read the most recent entry: Tanya Williamson (MUM.)
       “What the hell does she want?” he said to himself. “Forget it, she’ll hear from me through my obituary. I am so sick of this fucked-up world and its fucked-up people!” With that, he shoved the phone in his back pocket and sprawled out into the quiet street. The pavement was cold, providing an odd benefit to his overheated skin. He kicked his boots off, thinking that without them; being struck would cause more damage, therefore killing more efficiently. Perfect.
       The dark sky above put a dismal show of sparse clouds, and dimming stars. Nature didn’t even care enough to impress Texidor with its wonders in his final moments. ‘If I close my eyes, he thought, they wouldn’t be much difference. He grunted at the sight before him: Might as well keep ‘em open, so I can see the car coming.’ He moved the back of his head against the rough concrete, scratching an itch. He continued to move his head from side to side to the point of dizziness, laughing along the way. ‘Dead man on the road, he was inebriated without a drop of liquor. This is sweet, so sweet!’
       In the distant horizon, he could see two headlights slowly inching towards his direction. He was still tossing his head, sloshing the fluid in between his ears vigorously. Around the same time nausea presented itself, the fear of dying left as well. He was moaning loudly, simply because it felt right. You have to make some kind of noise when you leave this world. But the following noise, wasn’t a noise he expected, although he heard it before.
       Computerized chimes of silent night played from his back pocket. I’ll answer it. Make one final fuck you to whoever is calling. He answered the phone with a “yeah.”
          “Hello Baby, its mum.” A kind voice spoke.
          “Oh yeah mum!? It’s funny that you called ‘cause guess what your baby boy is gonna do right now?” Texidor began.
          “Honey I’m sorry this medication is making me sleepy, I really don’t have much energy to speak. I just wanna let you know somethin’.”
          “Meds?” Texidor said. He looked to his right and saw the headlights a lot closer than before, but far enough for him to still have more time. But it was his mother who had even less time to speak.
          “Well two months ago, I fell down the stairs, broke a good number of bones, and I have been in the hospital since then. Messed up my back too. They have me on this vicodin, it helps some. I wanna go home but I can’t because I am still all bandaged up. But the nurse lady said I can go if I have somebody to see about me.”
          Texidor couldn’t believe what he was hearing. That’s why he hadn’t heard a word from his mother is such a time, because she got hurt. ‘What a jackass of me not to be there! But I can fix this’. “Why didn’t you tell me that you were hurt?” he asked.
          “Well last time we spoke you were mad because I told you my friend saw your wife having dinner with another man. That’s why. I thought you didn’t want to speak to me anymore.”
          Texidor raised himself up, stumbled a bit and casually missed the oncoming car. Horns blared loudly at him, as it sped even faster away down the street. Where he was and how he got there didn’t make a difference to him anymore: he was not a broken man, he was now a man with purpose.
          “Listen mum, I can take care of you. How about I’ll be there tomorrow morning to see if I can get you released? Which hospital is it?”
          “The same one you were born in honey, Madigan. I love you. And thanks.”
          “No problem, I love you too.” He hung up the phone. Suddenly, he knew the only time those three magic words meant anything was when his mother said it. He raised himself up, put on his shoes, walked back to his truck, and hopped onto its hood. He scrolled through the numbers on his phone. ‘I think I still have that taxi number in here somewhere, right?’

No comments:

Post a Comment