I Think We're Scared Again
The house is as quiet as it wants to be and it wants to be very quiet. It mimics the outside where the zombie apocalypse has taken place. Nothing out there but dead people and dead leaves. Everything wet and gray but shellacked with a fine, crystal finish. There’s a shine to it that reflects the sun. The silent outside makes the inside that much quieter. I am a bull inside its china shop. I stomp around in my slippers.
I cannot make breakfast in the quiet. After many phone calls they arrive. I buzz them in; singularly and in groups. I show them into the living room, kitchen, dining room and ask them to get comfortable. They begin their warm-ups. Guitars, harmonicas, and horns fill the house. I sigh, relieved there is noise.
I tell them to begin when they are ready. Show them the corner they can play in. I set up a few chairs so they can play sitting down if they want. I tell them to work out amongst themselves who will play first and who will play next and so on. One of the men tells me, “The Blues are patient and kind. We’ll all get up there. Don’t you worry.” It makes me smile.
As the music starts I begin making breakfast. I pull random things from the refrigerator and set them on the counter. The pile begins to look like ‘a scramble’. I get to chopping.
The Blues are sad but happy. The music comes upbeat and deceiving while the words dig a melon baller into my heart. Every song tells me one of my truths. The living room and dining area are a sea of brown heads bobbing, shoulders swaying, eyes closed and open. Nobody is watching me make breakfast. There is a bedroom down the hall with its door open. All I can think is, “I hope the music is reaching back there.”
The chopped things go into the pan and it sizzles so loud like it’s pissed off. Like it hates the Blues. An old black woman, beautiful in a midnight blue dress, holding a short glass with dark liquid is singing “Let’s go ahead and fall in love, I need a little sugar in my bowl, and plump juicy frank on my hot dog roll, bring a little spackling you can fill my hole, Let’s go ahead and fall in love.” I stick my finger into the middle of the pan until I scream. I’m so happy.
I crack the eggs while the musicians sing, finish and switch. New ones arrive, old ones leave. There is a fine layer of cigarette smoke pooling against the ceiling that I want to walk through. I open the door to the balcony and the players and their smoke spill outside infecting its quiet with their song. Fuck the zombie apocalypse. We have the Blues.
I pour the eggs onto the chopped, silencing its hissing. I put some bread into a
machine that will turn it into toast. I ready plates. I hum the Blues.
The house is in full swing now. I can barely remember the quiet I woke up with. How it made me feel so large. A noise King. A Godzilla wrecking the house with my slippered footsteps. I am microscopic now. A mute’s orgasm underneath slide guitar and jangly piano. It feels safe. I think about the back bedroom. About blankets wrapped around a head. It takes all of me not to run down the hall and rip the blankets off that head, pound the pillows with my fists yelling, CAN YOU HEAR THE BLUES? CAN YOU HEAR THEM?! But I don’t. I am making breakfast for that head. That head I will wake with a gentle shaking. That head will hear the Blues shortly. I must be patient and kind, I tell myself, like the Blues.