Excerpts from Chapter 25
Near the end of the book, he struggles to sum up his life and circumstances.
I like to have breakfast for dinner. I don’t know why. Once or twice a week, instead of frozen pizza or chicken pot pie, I have cereal and toast or scrambled eggs and sausages. Maybe it’s a way of starting the day over before shutting it down. It’s comforting, especially in winter. I like cream of wheat with gobs of butter floating. If there was anyone else around, they’d warn me I’m softly, silently killing myself. That’s alright. I never imagined I would live this long, or outlive so much. I believed I would die much younger – suddenly, dramatically…
Dad could explain it. He would tell you how he got straight with me about commitment at the lake, how he came to me on the hill north of the orchard and was forthright. Dealt with me man to man. And gave me half a dozen other chances through the years, to speak up and say what I wanted, what I was willing to do for it. Then since he had a wife, another son, and long declining years to think about, it fell to him to act in place of me.
Now isn’t that ironic. The son who stayed turned out to be the prodigal and profligate. For me the land was divided, the robe and ring brought forth; for me, the slaughtered calf. And since the tale is inside out, I stand here waiting to awake someday among the pigs. And not a word of protest from my brother, not a sound.
I was quiet as the wind in Papa’s Sycamores – which stand now on the northern edge of my remainder – when Dad took an offer for his and Bo’s shares. I said not a word except in refusing to add my own third to the deal. And so it went, and Dad might say it broke his heart to see it come to that, but that he was finally impressed by the action I took.
I would rather have had them see me waiving down from on high, bearing an enigmatic smile born in the lessons taught outside of time and space, of how perfect life is and how much better than life is death. So people die, but they keep watch on what we do and how we spend our fading days, but most don’t choose to stay too close. Everything looks purer in its blues and greens – even the dull brown between the trees and the ruddy drying tack of our blood on the land – from an infinite distance like heaven.
© 2009 by J. Kyle Kimberlin
All rights reserved