Jimmy, he lives in a town where all the people, they know all the things about one another. Jimmy knows who is taking pills. Jimmy knows who has a spastic back. Jimmy knows that Ms. Weather’s meatloaf smells good but is powder dry, a fork crumbling it to bits. Jimmy knows these things because he lives in a town like the one he lives in.
And Jimmy, everyone knew his mother was a drunk. Everyone knew that she drank gin on the sides of streets and sucked down bottles with her fingers wrapped on the label, well after all those bars had closed, her throat a gulping calamity.
Jimmy’s mother the angel. Jimmy’s mother the saint. Jimmy’s mother.
And the static that Jimmy sometimes hears in his ears, it is like some kind of reflection, echoing back all the dead moments in his life so far.
There are no streetlights in this town. The neon of a few places casting shadows on the ground, casing the world in colors, otherwise it is dark.
Jimmy sometimes feels like a fish down so low that the light has gone and staying found is like trying to breathe with lips sewn shut. Jimmy’s gills going open shut. Jimmy’s mouth only sometimes making sounds.
There are a million words that Jimmy will never use. Jimmy watches his shadow crawl.
His father, Jimmy’s father, he knows that the sliding door on their patio is sticky without oil and needs to be fixed. Jimmy’s father knows that the newspaper has never stopped coming, that it is making piles on the driveway. Jimmy’s father knows what it is like to be a stand of aspens awaiting rain that never comes. Jimmy’s father, he hears violins sometimes in the night and he weeps so loud that Jimmy, even when he is deaf, he hears it. And the water collects on the carpet, saturates how they wake in the mornings.
When Jimmy’s ears hear, they sometimes hear the words that he doesn’t want to use. They sometimes hear his father and a prayer that flutters like bird wings, and then he goes deaf again, sinking down.
Don’t go near the water is what Jimmy’s mother always said to Jimmy, especially when she saw his rod hung over his shoulder and that look in his eye that was half hook and half bait. Jimmy’s mother, she was afraid of the water that surrounded them, so she drank it to fill her belly, to balance out the dryness she felt in her fear.
The river, when it burbles, that is what Jimmy sometimes hears, even when he is listening.
And down the street, where Jimmy goes when his feet are following the road that leads away from the place he lives, down the road there is the sun, coming and going, and Jimmy wishes so many days that he could straddle its surface and punch away, live out on the sky for a day or two, soaking in the blue, forgetting that he is motherless here and his father is going blind with grief.
The violins that his father hears, Jimmy’s father, they are part of an orchestra.
Jimmy watches the wind.
Jimmy’s father, when the dust runs thick in their house, collects, he hires a woman from town to come over and clean it up. Otherwise they become antiques, Jimmy and his father, living with arms covered in price tags, stickers of orange colored dots, on sale, half off for Jimmy and his father.
But when a woman, like their woman, like the woman that was Jimmy’s mother and the woman that was too Jimmy’s father’s wife, when she is cut in half and the train just keeps going, it is hard to see straight.
Jimmy goes deaf some nights and smiles because his father was in the middle of something slick and thickening and Jimmy didn’t want to hear it anyway. Jimmy’s father’s words are sometimes like weeds that they can’t keep out of their garden. Jimmy and his father in a lot of ways have given up. Jimmy and his father are mostly waiting for the end to come around. And everyone in this town knows it, because they live in a town like this, where everyone knows everything, and keeping a cut in half woman hidden is like trying to drape the moon in black cloth. It is there, all the people only have to look.