Monday, April 14, 2008
The Longer Journey
When the Matron confronts this hill on her daily 4 mile run, weariness overtakes her. Worse? See that slight bend ahead? This is what is on the other side:
More hill. Lots of this.
She lives in a neighborhood nestled high above the city, full of 100 year old houses with million dollar views. Did she say high above the city?
Very. Every day, the Matron follows the city park path that runs right along a river bluff.
Sometimes she feels sorry for herself and a just little bit whiney. Oh, about everything.
The job interview, the wrinkle that is not a flexible laugh line but a permanent entity, the economy, Stryker's disdain for hygiene, the weather, that stupid hill she must climb one more time, Satan's Familiar, Scarlett's inability to fold a sock or close a drawer, the way her husband wipes his mouth with the back of his hand instead of a napkin (only when eating cereal).
The Matron frets and whines and puffs but then she eventually goes down the same hill and sees this, every day:
This is where a boy the Matron does not know but read about in the newspaper fell off the cliff and onto the railroad tracks next to the river, hundreds and hundreds of feet below.
You can see, his name was Georgie.
Because the Matron's neighborhood is high above the city and boasts a spectacular view, he was here with thousands and thousands of other people to watch fireworks on the 4th of July.
Being a teenager and and immortal, he crossed the little wimpy one foot safety chain and got as close as he could.
His mother was standing behind him and got worried: "Be careful!"
He laughed: "I am not going to fall."
And then, he did. Just like that.
This is what the Matron read in the paper, nearly five years ago.
But every day she runs past that wooden cross. Sometimes there are new flowers. Sometimes a rosary or poem.
Every day she runs past that wooden cross and thinks about that mother and that boy and those few seconds.
She stops whining, usually because she has to cry. Again.