Henry Mills Diary


Page one. I think I’m out of Tennessee. Got a good spot in this freight. A fellow said it was headed to California. Say there is gold there in some places. Not interested. I’m sorry I gave the rest of you away to Jones. Don’t matter. I don’t need to remember much anymore. The words I write here and along the way are new words. The point of all this isn’t remembering what was, but what is and might be someday. The wheels been lulling me to sleep, but haven’t been able to do it quite yet. I got a good view of the stars and even though the wind is cold it’s not freezing and I got me a blanket and a bottle. Got some bread and cheese in my bag somewhere, but I don’t want to dig it out. Just like riding along like this. Wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. Couldn’t do it sooner. One thing I’m not going to do anymore is lie to myself.
I got the world behind me now. Cut my losses and went. Not much to think about really. Feel like I’ve done enough thinking to last me a million years. Got enough thinking under my belt to be ranked with the great philosophers, but it ain’t thinking with answers that I’ve had or I’ve got. It’s not that I got anything in my head from my experience of loss that’s going to teach me something that’s going to make my life better. Well, maybe that’s not true. It got me here in this night sky going to the ocean. That’s something.
The girls are in me like those dinosaurs they say walked around the earth millions of years ago. They’re huge. If I tried to look around them i’d fail. I’d just fail. So I’m not going to. If I don’t fight seeing them I see through them and they look like stars and skies and black trees that are passing. Sometimes they look like house lights or cows standing still beside the tracks under the moonlight. If I don’t let them be the world around me then they become the world inside of me and, well, I’ve cried, rather, I’ve tried to cry them out of me at those points but I ain’t never been able to do it quite right, not all the way. They just make me look at the bottle. Gotta get some sleep.

July 18, 1870

Another day. Still the same day since I wrote in you last, Diary, which was about five hours ago. Got a little sleep, but I got cold and this floor is hard. Got a good warm feeling from the whiskey. A good way to come out of sleep to face the cold. Got the stars still and the train’s steady roll, it’s a fufufufu sound and it lulls you. It really does. My head wanders. It’s like I’m sitting here trying to hold on to something, but my head wanders. What does it mean? I can’t place nothing on it that’s meaningful. But I got a hum in me. I’m more of a hum than a man it seems. I lean into this sound in my head and it’s got no real melody but it’s a tune of some sort. Not no tune like I ever heard before. It’s a tune of loss like I never heard before but that don’t matter because it’s mine and mine alone. It’s like the sound of the girls if they have a sound now. I know it’s their memory, maybe their ghosts. I don’t want to think of this. I want silence. But my head turns towards the tune. I feel myself giving into it and I don’t know if it’s going to be my end or not. I feel myself going mad. I have to shake my head sometimes to pull out of it. It’s so peaceful, but it’s the girls. I can feel it’s the girls and every time I do it I miss them and I think that maybe I should jump off this train. But I ain’t dying before I see the ocean. Goddam those forces that would take the ocean from me before I even see it.
I got mad just then. I think that’s good. I need to get more mad more often, but I don’t know how long it’s going to do any good. I feel off. More later.

Published in: on October 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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