The Fall – Jed

The walk in the woods with my brother and his friend was anything but pleasant. I don’t remember what I hated about it most. Probably just feeling lost all the time. Good thing we understand that our mule did it so we should be able to too. So we all saw how tough a mule can really be and of course we all know, because a mule will just keep walking until he’s home. That’s it. That’s what mules do. They don’t stop walking.

I remember when I was in Michigan walking to the Applethorpes house a long time ago, too long it seems now. That was when, oh well, it doesn’t matter what happened then. What matters was that that walk in the woods with Albert and Dink and really, mostly, with Teardrop, made me think about what’s real and what’s not.

I think about the pain on the face of a family in Tennessee just like I see face in the pain of a family in Michigan and Teardrop saw pain in the face of his family, us, waiting for him, sad until he got home. We were worried, truly worried that something dreadful had happened to the mule and most of all it was me and Moxy looking at ourselves and thinking “what if our stupidity kills that mule” and our too intelligent daughter Minnie, only two, learns he is dead and we’re all funny and guilty about it?

That first lie would kill us, would break our hearts and we knew it so we searched for that mule but we didn’t expect him to come up the side that he did. Didn’t even begin to think so, but after climbing around enough we found it, a stone that was actually the dried mud cake of a mule’s shit. From there we just went up wherever we could.

Dink had climbing shit. Exactly that. His ropes were tangled and weak. He didn’t know how to climb but just acted like he did. I wanted the rope and he wouldn’t give it to me because what he wore was all one piece and he needed it about him. It was his armor. I could see that so I let it go.

I wasn’t planning on having a difficult time of this climb. I would go around if I had to, do anything but face the mountain head on. I was wrong. I learned to climb because if I hadn’t in a few situations I would have stayed on that mountain forever or until the helicopter finally come and picked me up which I’m sure it would have after a day or two when the others got back down. But when Dink actually got a hold of that rope like he did just when I started falling and he got it around my neck and pulled I looked up at him and wondered for a moment whether or not God Himself had always been a horrible, horrible lie.

I wrestled the rope up around my chin, my mouth clamped shut, Dink just looked down at me with his teeth grinning, holding on by a sliver of stone on the right side of his right shoe and the left side of his left shoe. I didn’t know males could do that, and he pulled. He pulled. And he pulled and I don’t know how he was standing there, frankly.

It was as though he were standing upright on the side of the mountain, then I saw it, Albert right above his left shoulder, face down, with his teeth clenched as blood slowly began to trickle out of Dink’s shoulder and into his shirt and that’s when I noticed the silver flash of the knife that Albert had sent all the way through.

I’d managed to secure the rope around my chin. I just clenched my jaw. My arms were stuck slightly in two cracks and the rest was just pretty much down. But Dink saw immediately and lowered what he later called his “Emergency Lasso.” He liked to keep it handy to tie around trees. We got in a fight. Albert called me an asshole and Dink…then Albert pulled us in. He fastened that knife right through his best friend’s shoulder to save me. He was probably hoping to find bone to make sure it was secure then all Dink would have to do is balance his legs. I realized Dink had got me, but he too was going over and down for good and then I realized Albert had saved me again and I thanked God for kin.

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Published in: on September 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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