Jun 10, 2009

The architecture of private spaces

1. After the polls closed he didn't answer the phone. He sat in the dark in the big house, the brick house on an acre-and-a-half of uncut fescue, a ranch-style house with high ceilings and hallways without pictures and empty, echoy rooms, and he listened to the phone as it rang and then stopped, rang again and rang and then stopped. The next day he didn't go to work.

2. He wore hawaiian shirts and a mustache and he collected antiques for his vacation home, finding them and buying them on his ever-lengthening lunch breaks and storing them in his editor's office, in there with the stacks of newspapers and the broken TV, the old computer, the slumping manila files, and the artwork which was never hung on the wall. He never said anything about his personal life, but he acted like a man in exile.

3. He realized it while shifting into fifth, while settling into a stretch of interstate, while the road's hum in the hollow cab switched to a lower pitch (the pitch of a raspy kazoo). He hadn't talked to anyone in three days.

4. In the hotel room above the conference hall, above the big ball room where christian kids sang songs and above the pool where fat kids swam and girls walked in new swim suits and where there would be a baptism later, he looked out the window at the snow and he said he couldn't do it, couldn't do it, couldn't make it work. She said his name and said, look at me. I need you to look at me.

5. He carved duck heads and attached them to wooden golf clubs, so the head of the club was the body of the duck. He called them putters. He didn't think they were cute anymore and he'd tell you he hated them, but he had 20, 25 of them carved, a flock of the fat ducks on a shelf.