Friday, October 2, 2009
Memoir in Progress #4
On another day he and his playmate had the idea to play on that lawn again and being that they were alone they ran from between parked cars and as the other boy reached the far curb he saw the car coming up hard and fast and he was paralyzed with fear and numb with shock and breathless. The father later said the man told him he flew ten feet and landed on his head. He guessed it hurt because he remembered how he cried and when he did there were people and an ambulance and forever after the mother said, he could not be badly hurt because when she heard him cry, from upstairs in the back where the apartment was, while she consulted her Tarot cards and Ouiga Board for instructions from beyond, she knew he could not be badly hurt to cry so loud, and so she would tell the story for years to come.
They said he was lucky to escape with just a black eye and a lump on the head and he was dressed as as an Indian with war paint for Halloween that year. It would be decades before he could understand the horrors inflicted on those he played at in a child’s game called Cowboys and Indians, a game but a remnant of the imagined romance of a west that existed only in movies and he didn’t even know that yet.
For a long time after this the father kept him near, in his studio and had him sit very still while he drew or painted him sometimes clothed and sometimes nude, like the women he hired to come and pose for him from The Models Guild. Within those studios was a heaven to the child, filled with the fragrances of oil paint, linseed oil and turpentine and the pot bellied stove that smelled of coal and the safe warmth and love of a father.