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The Blistering Heat of Passing Time

The boy walking aimlessly down the street appears to be painfully hot in his black, rock-concert t-shirt. It is too hot for early spring.

The old man feels memories of tiny, distinct bits of last summer, stunned at how fast time has whipped through and past a fall and a winter and now, at any moment, there will be the swishing and swashing of the heat of summer. It will be here again. The old man wants to freeze the time. He wonders if there is a drug for freezing time.

When the old man was a boy, some days would last forever, especially days when he wondered down streets that were radiating heat seasoned with slight whiffs of tar. One summer before seventh grade, he dreamed of making the basketball team, and each day he spent two hours in the blistering sun, starting and stopping all over a blacktop that had the infinite presence of an empty universe. Those hours never wanted to pass, and the terrible heat reinforced the hope that hard work might result in glory.

A bent-up, blue, plastic antifreeze bottle with a fuzzy, faded label blows by, buoyed and inspired by the south wind, ringing out like a bongo drum with each landing and shaking the old man’s sense of peace, causing him to crunch his hope for a passable day.

He sits there twisting his face with the envy for the boy who can be aimless. He feels the knives of purposelessness aligning his innards, but he longs to be aimless again and to be given days that will last forever.

 

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  1. #1 by seabell on March 23, 2011 - 5:48 am

    I wonder if I ever lived a single aimless moment myself… I just learned to aim. I enjoyed reading your captivating prose too.

    • #2 by Carl on March 23, 2011 - 8:56 pm

      Thank you for your comment. You are very kind!

  2. #3 by Evelyn on March 23, 2011 - 7:37 am

    “He wonders if there is a drug for freezing time.”
    I would hope it would be a drug if anything…
    “When the old man was a boy, some days would last forever, especially days when he wondered down streets that were radiating heat seasoned with slight whiffs of tar.”
    my God, this is a stunning visual. Jesus, you are talented.
    “each day he spent two hours in the blistering sun, starting and stopping all over a blacktop that had the infinite presence of an empty universe”
    wow.
    I am in awe of you.

    • #4 by Carl on March 23, 2011 - 8:57 pm

      You are so generous you are going to make me keep writing. I appreciate your words more than you know and you know it’s a lot.

  3. #5 by Wordywoman on March 24, 2011 - 11:58 pm

    I love this prose:

    “When the old man was a boy, some days would last forever, especially days when he wondered down streets that were radiating heat seasoned with slight whiffs of tar. One summer before seventh grade, he dreamed of making the basketball team, and each day he spent two hours in the blistering sun, starting and stopping all over a blacktop that had the infinite presence of an empty universe. Those hours never wanted to pass, and the terrible heat reinforced the hope that hard work might result in glory.”

    Have you read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine??? It’s my pre-summer kick off and your work reminded me of one of my favorite texts (and authors). You should check it out!

    (enjoy your Metallica! I did today!)

    • #6 by Carl on March 25, 2011 - 6:28 am

      Thank you so much for your comment. You are very kind. I have enjoyed a good deal of Ray Bradbury, but I don’t think I have read Dandelion Wine – It is on my list now. I am sure there will be Metallica today! Thanks again!

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