The Suit Coat

Sunlight is streaming in my window and I am warmed by the autumn rays. It is a day to sit and do nothing but stare out at the world. I could get up and open my door, step outside and really be connected, but I prefer the safety of detachment. I am just settling in to counting dust motes caught like stars twirling in my own private galaxy when the figure of a man walking past my window catches my eye. His hair is long and lustrous, and dark and wavy, and I only see him from behind as he quickly strides by in a black t-shirt and jeans. He carries over his right shoulder a suit coat — black and expensive looking. I can see the shiny reflected light off the satin on the cuffs and collar. He may have the trousers as well, I can’t tell.I am curious about this new development and abandon my counting to watch him. Did he just pick the suit up at a dry cleaner’s and toss away the plastic wrapping when it made him sweat carrying it over his arm and shoulder? Where has he been? Where is he going?Perhaps he is returning from a funeral. A funeral where he was a pall bearer for his ex-brother-in-law, who had been a friend before his sister made him choose because of the divorce. His last memory of the man was watching him drive away, heading for a small town to the south where he tried to eke out a living as a prospector but ended up sitting in bars all night, drinking away his dreams. It was on one of those nights that he stumbled out, tripped and fell, hit his head, and died. He lay on the cold, frosty sidewalk, in the shadow of a sign that flashed “Hot Babes” but in reality was a pathetic reminder of a long ago time when gold was in every man’s pocket.When the casket was brought into the church, his sister had lain over it weeping because she still loved him.Maybe it’s a wedding he’s coming from, a wedding that was in the Bay Area. He was the best man but the night before the ceremony the bride-to-be had come to his room and said she wanted to know if marriage was really right for her, and if she could spend her life never having tasted the fruits from other trees. They had lain together until dawn and when she left she carried a mark on her flesh that he knew she hadn’t seen. As he stood beside the groom in the church, he carefully avoided eye contact with the bride, and she him. It was an unnatural and difficult feat to pull off and it was not lost on the piercing angry eyes of the maid-of-honor, who confronted him in the hotel lobby before the reception. He had no explanations and left before the party started, thinking he had lost another friend.But, I think he’s really a musician on his way to meet his ride for a gig at a downtown casino. It won’t do to get the suit wrinkled in the car so he dresses just before he goes on as a bass player, hiding in the shadows of the vocalist on a dark smoky stage. He will be introduced in the show, like the rest of the band, after the first break. Everyone will politely clap but no one will remember his name later that night when the alcoholic beverages seep into the brains of the tourists unaccustomed to drinking so much and at such high altitude.He doesn’t really care. He plays for the joy of playing (and for the money of course, it pays the rent). And yet, sometimes when he is rendering his part for the fortieth time and his programmed fingers robotically hit the right notes, and his eyes are hidden behind dark glasses he lets his mind drift to a girl he met two years ago in a park outside Roseburg, Oregon. The air was perfumed with grasshoppers and snakes and a faint odor of something else mysterious and earthy and erotic.It is as if he is still sitting on the concrete picnic table weaving tales of half-truths to impress her. And as the twilight mists swirl about them, her eyes grow large and luminous and melancholic. He can hear her ragged, shallow breathing through her gently parted lips, and he knows she will swallow him and he will swim in her soul forever.Then, when he gets to the part where he bends down to kiss her the song always ends, leaving him lost and lonely but savoring the memory of the moment.

The Suit Coat

andreaoliveras

Silver Springs, United States

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