*Another Time, Another Place*
By Wendy Clark
“If there was an answer, he’d find it there.” My father was a man of few
words, ambiguous and insinuating, of metaphysical poetic statements that
were never open for discussion.
But I suspected my father thought I had the right answers; mostly, I was
only offered broken questions.
I suspected my father knew, as did I; nothing would ever be the same.
I was often suspicious during those wild childhood days; without a doubt,
that suspiciousness had a direct psychological connection: frequently,
when trouble surfaced, I consistently proved myself to be a suspect.
No one had to tell us where we were headed, because there was no one else anymore, anyway. My brother sat next to me and never spoke as we all
watched the present transform into this future we were living in – fading
sunlight, golden against the spinning clouds, our little boxcar clicking
consistently over the tracks; moments suspended into a timeless sensation that roused
a sense of apathetic optimism – while we chased the sun as it plummeted
into the vague horizon; the dark would be upon us soon; we just had to stay on
the right track.
I had fallen outside myself that evening; my wandering mind guided my
eyes to trace the image of my epitaph on the beautiful canvas of the cloudy
Whispering my last rites, I abruptly stumbled over my words when I was
nearly finished, because I could not, for the love of Pete, recall my own
name! I theorized that I existed somehow; slightly, I knew I was thinking and slightly I was amused; I wanted to speak to my companions, just to verify that I was concrete in this abstract story. I weighed my
conversational options, and but rather wanting to explain to them my
philosophical meanderings – that not everything in life had meaning or
sense to it; life was a mere dream: got to “row, row, row your boat gently,”
and my mind went to another place, another time. I was lost in the chaos of
nothing to lose but my mind yet genuinely as well surprised that I could
sit and handle the sail of our boxcar so coolly.
Out of left field, my grandmother turned to me and inquired, “What is
to be there?”
I repeated her question back to her, but slowly and in the form of a
sentence, not a question. I didn’t look at her for a while. I wasn’t sure
she was messing with me. As smart as I was, I knew that she knew she was
smarter. I was quiet.
She waited, though, and I finally angled an eyebrow in her direction –
suspiciously – and we locked vacant stares.
I sighed, and finally responded, “Nothing is going to be there until you
have found some good in something, I guess, amidst all the nothing
the light, maybe,” I paused because I wasn’t finding the words that
connected to build that symbolism, then I wandered back to her eyes,
“sometimes, if you let yourself go, completely and profoundly, you can
some sort of meaning, grandma; the light may only be there – in how you
at it just right.”
“Then what happens?”
I shrugged and replied, “Well, maybe we will know when we get there.”
“No plot?” She blinked hard. “That’s not a plot.”
“You see,” I said, “if you don’t have a plot, you can make your own way.”
She softened her gaze and turned to face the distance and beautiful
elasticity before us, surreal as the steamy splashes of the bluest water
either side of our car.
“Good story,” she whispered. She smiled at the last of the day. I
silently into the night toward a destination unknown.
I was a writer.
I made the story as I went along. I was recharged – my mind was mad with the infinite spectacular phenomenon which engaged my beingness, a gleam in my young eyes, I was on my way there.
by wendy clark hudson