Thursday, June 8, 2017

...And You Hang On Real Tight

He thought about hope. It was a sort of obsessive, recurring thought. Hope.

Like when he was very young and used to daydream about the flying trapeze. He’d only been to the circus once. But he’d seen Disney’s “Toby Tyler”. He couldn’t imagine anything more perfect than the swing, the lift, the release, the flips. Over and over.

When he was a teen he traded up for a new obsession – not about the game of basketball, but about the perfect release of the perfect jump shot. The image circled his brain like a cerebral gif. Over and over. The tips of fingers feel the seam. The flick of the wrist. The follow through. The back spin. 

Over and over.

And throughout both those life chapters, images of fingers on guitar entered his brain unbidden. They were just there. Always. Chord changes. Fingerpicking patterns. Over and over.

As he got older -- and approached old -- those unbidden thoughts circled around hope.

Thirty years before he had heard a haunting story. A woman from his small town left the local hospital having just received a terminal diagnosis. No hope. Months. Maybe. She drove from the hospital, down Arthur Street and into Center Lake. She didn’t even try to stop for the cross street. Somehow she made it across the usually busy street and the parking lot beyond. She hit the seawall and launched directly into the drop-off depth of the lake. She never even tried to open the un-openable doors. Inevitable is inevitable.

He couldn’t grasp it. His life’s hold on reality was always tempered with excessive, preposterous optimism.  Over and over.

Something would happen. Something would change. Rescue was around the bend.

But he was a born cynic and skeptic. No, really. In all other cases but the unbidden dreams, daydreams – the palpable expectations for the improbable – he was hard-edged.

Not about this.

He admired the hopeless. He admired the clear-eyed vision of the realist. He admired it, but he couldn’t be it.

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