A deeply shocking and poignant “What it’s like living here” from Court Merrigan in Torrington, Wyoming. Neither a former student, nor a VCFA graduate (he doesn’t have an MFA), Court is just a writer and a human being who joined the conversation and became part of the NC community. DG wishes there were more like him, more nominal outsiders who join the blog just because they like writing and a supportive camaraderie. We’re not a closed shop. This text reminds dg of something Tomaso Landolfi once wrote: “…is not this a world in which incredible things take place and, I would say, only incredible things?”
WHAT IT’S LIKE LIVING HERE
by Court Merrigan
Four extra bedtime stories for your daughter, five. She grows fidgety and irritated, wants to be left alone to sleep. Once she would have stayed up all night with you. Now she’s three and those days are gone. You trudge upstairs. Your wife is in bed. She goes to bed early nowadays. It’s too early for you. Time to get yourself occupied.
Two weeks it’s been. Two weeks of closing your eyes to see Todd.
1.5 miles up Laramie Peak Trail
At first Todd looked like he was taking a nap, or had just leaned against the warm rock on that perfect seventy-degree day, looking across Friend Creek through a golden-leafed bough of aspens to the sheer mountain slabs across the rift valley. I thought he was on the lookout for mountain goats. He really wanted to see a mountain goat, kept on asking if we thought we’d spot one.
“Well, this is about where we expected to catch up with him,” my father said.
Irritated, I thought that he ought to be further along than this, that he was going to start talking about the goddamn mountain goats again – all he wanted out of Wyoming, it seemed – and at his trudging pace, it would be hours before we got back to the trailhead. He was semi-retired and at his leisure, but I had a pregnant wife and a kid to get back to.
Then I noticed the odd angle of his neck, the wrist twisted behind his back, legs folded in an Asian posture he could not possibly have adopted at sixty years of age. I began to run. His face was slack jawed, sunglasses askew, lips a pale violet. When I knelt and touched his face a skein of spit dribbled onto his new denim shirt, so new you could see the store creases, smell the store shelf.