Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tug of war

I like the moon the way it is tonight, a tiny sliver against the setting sky.

When I was a kid, I used to think it actually changed shape, evolving from round sphere to a thin slice of cheese, and back again. In the second grade, John Bob Whitehead told me that his dad was an astronaut and had taken him to the moon one night. I asked him how he stood on it when it was a tiny sliver. He said he just did.

Where does it go? Second grade was 24 years ago. Older than some of these kids with whom I work.

Sometimes I get so tired of it all. Inman Majors calls Knoxville "paved hell" in his debut novel, which I'm reading now. Half the time, maybe more than that, I know what he means. I hate this place, says Nelson Mutz, throw a rock at the Sunsphere, knock it down. But don't you badmouth it, buddy, or I'll punch you in the face.

East Tennesseans are a strange bunch.

I sat out on the porch tonight, watching the remains of the day, wondering if this is all a bad dream or just a moment in limbo. None of it makes sense anymore. Or precious little of it anyway.

Saturday morning I will fly on an eagle into the northern sky, toward cooler climates and a little deliverance, precious peace for a scant few minutes. Nothing will matter, no ties, no responsibilities, no clock to punch, no phone to ring, no bell to answer. I don't need you, I don't need friendship; I don't need flowers in the spring.

And then you think about that radio interview with John Majors, laughing it up with a complete stranger about inane KnoxVegas politics, Marshal Andy and talkin' to Brandy, take home a pound or two of Tennessee Pride, real country sausage, the best you ever tried. How can I leave it? How can I ever go anywhere else?

It's the great tug of war inside this soul of mine, getting out versus staying put, thank you for being a friend or kiss my butt and don't let the slamming door hit your rear end. God, I hate the Volunteers, and oh, here's my check for this year's season tickets. Don't ever let me hear that damn song again; but now it's on the radio, so I'll crank it up. Osborne Brothers version, to boot.

Oh, hell. What's the point in introspection? It never solves anything and usually makes you feel worse.

I'm going to go watch John Wayne. I need a little black-and-white tonight.


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