verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Prelude to a Memory

I am just back from Prelude in Kennebunkport.  This was my second tour. It's Down East meets Who-ville.  Every single living, breathing thing is wearing lobster-themed Christmas rigging, complete with Bean Boots, hand knits, toggle coats, lobster cracker wreath hats (no joke--see below), and bees wax hand balm. The shops are be-decked in glitter and garland, and tables of hot mulled cider, cookies, dog treats, and stocking stuffers are all wrapped in stereophonic Christmas tunes.  Fa-la-la-la-la, La-la-la-la... Streets are closed and the crowds flow. Sail boats are buttoned up along the dock.  A large green wreath with a gingham bow hangs on the town pier. The town square is home to a plump and merry Christmas tree--the perfect backdrop for a family photo. The ocean sparkles.  Historic colonial inns reveal blazing fires.  Everyone is cheerful and happy.  Everything seems perfect.

We are walking towards the car.  We are crossing over the bridge that leads to Dock Square.  A man sees us from across the street.  He's yelling something.  He's walking very quickly towards us.  We stop.  His walk has become a charge.  He's yelling louder. His fists are clenched, his neck is taut and his eyes bulge in rage.  He's yelling as if he knows us.  He comes right up to our faces, and is firing off words and urgencies and blasts of cold, cold heat. We speak to him quietly.  He yells more.  He suddenly steps towards us.  My heart...I am very aware of the icy water just below us on this narrow bridge.  I look at Pam.  Fear.  Neither of us can move. We are madly working to understand what is happening.  He's well-dressed, young, very handsome--something about being thrown out of a bar, but we know he isn't drunk.  WHAT KIND OF TOWN IS THIS? he yells.  WHAT KIND OF PLACE IS THIS? he demands to be told.   He is becoming more desperate.  So are we.  He shouts so loudly that his voice cracks, breaks. His eyes are wild--desperately looking at us...or maybe to us. He finds us, and then loses us again.  He comes in and out of Now. Fear, his.  He yells again about the bar.  He hollers that he is an Iraq vet--that he has seen three tours in Iraq--and WHAT KIND OF PLACE IS THIS....

He lunges closer.  His desperation grows.  He wants to smash us into pieces, and he wants us to save him from wherever he is.  A crowd has formed across the street.  They are watching.

They are just standing there. Watching. 

We talk to him but he can't hear us.  His terror engulfs us like fire.  He's stuck far away, lost in Iraq.  Somewhere way back in Now, unmetabolized.  We can't bring him back.  All three of us are trapped. Here we stand, on this bridge, in this town. Not here, not there. 

And they are just standing there, watching.  

Joy to the world....   

1 comment:

  1. Whoa! All this in the backyard of W's summer place. So frightening and so very sad.