Monday, August 18, 1997

Sounds Inside My Mind

It was a SKRINCH, or perhaps it was a SCQUINCH, or maybe it was more of a SKUANCH but from the height of the arc of the ball to the solid sound of the softball against the socket of the eye of the man who misplayed the ball off his face, it was perhaps one of the most dreadful sounds those on the field could possibly hear. In that one moment lives can change, perhaps temporarily perhaps forever. Just a couple weeks before the fielder had revealed to the batter, almost a complete stranger, his reachable dream of building the land he had purchased in Northern Minnesota into a camping area and all the work that would entail.

The nose was broken as the blood drained into the eye causing a loss of sight and meaning an operation to alleviate the pressure in the eye as a possibility. The man spent a night in the hospital and the rest resting. The batter and the pitcher felt bad, one for hitting it solidly and seeing the serious results that can come from playing games, the other for pitching a smaller, more solid softball than that which was supposed to be used and being the fielder's girlfriend.

It was a YOWL, or perhaps it was a long YEOW, but at first from the next house's bedroom it sounded like an unhappy child either crying out of pain or hunger or both. The listener contemplated in the early morning hours, before the sun had risen, whether or not to get up and investigate the outside sound. His cat excitedly darted from window to window. The duration of the YELP led the listener to believe it wasn't coming from a human but from a wounded animal. Should he help out the source of the sound of distress? What help could he be whether that source was from a domestic situation or whether it was from a wildlife nature situation? His weariness was greater than his curiosity thus he managed to put it all out of his mind.

It was the dreaded THUMPA THUMPA sound that as a driver one never wants to hear along with the corresponding bumpy ride. As the driver pulled into the parking lot of the Dakota County Government Center he saw his back right tire was missing the necessary air to effectively do its job and function properly. He put off trying to figure out a solution to the problem however as he scampered inside to attend the meeting which was the very reason for him being in a strange place miles from where he usually was at that time of day.

Throughout the meeting he pondered whether or not to call Triple A, or put on the spare himself, or use the Christmas gift his parents had provided, an aerosol tire pumper upper that filled the tire with a material, enough to inflate him home. He decided to try the latter despite having to drive home on the unfamiliar country highway over the extremely busy Lafayette Bridge during the heart of rush hour. As he approached the bridge and traffic was at a complete standstill he began to question his decision. He had been lucky to get this far how much longer could that luck possibly hold out? He avoided getting on the interstate that would take him home, but rather cut through downtown figuring traffic might be a little lighter. As he made it home he let out an audible sigh of relief. He brought the car to a service center where a competent but quiet young man removed the tire, removed the aerosol gunk inside and looked for the culprit of the loss of air. In the middle of his checks the driver pointed out that he had the young man remove the wrong tire. The young man didn't say a word and went to work on the right tire that was supposedly flat not too long before.

The young woman came over and they agreed to take a walk. They had taken several long walks before which reminded the not so young man of other days when he was quite the walker and when he stumbled upon another who shared his understanding of how useful a good walk can often times be. This walk began awkwardly with the young woman pressing the young man to tell her what had been going on in his mind the past couple of uncommunicative weeks. He was unwilling or unable to share. Their pace quickened as they listened to the sounds around them, of the excitement in young children's voices as they approached the nearby zoo, of the mechanical interruptions of lawn mowers and automobiles, of the sound of the steps of their own feet hitting the hard pavement in front of them. The tension of the silence brought a dreadful look upon the face of the young woman and the not so young man thought he could hear the sound of his own heart beating. At an earlier than expected point the young woman said in a tense voice, "Why don't we turn around here?" And they turned around and carefully retraced their steps. As they approached their starting point he asked her to stay but she got into her car and drove away. The silence was all too familiar and revealing and far and away the most difficult sound of the week.

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