Fort Worth, Texas, 1956

Henry Anderson


Table of Contents

1. The Only Chapter

Chapter 1.  The Only Chapter

Somehow, in some very strange way, the sunlight through the blinds reminds me of the 1950's when I was a child in Texas. Would have been later in the year. Same slightly smoky, yellowish day. Dust in the air, and nothing close by too clean. The sun going yellow on its way into the ground. Evening, an hour before sundown. Nothing doing today, bored and useless, like I was back then. The sunlight is blocked from me by an old-fashioned table lamp and venetian blinds, none too clean, covering a not very clean window. Everything very still. Everything quiet. Even more quiet now that I'm deaf. But it was a sleepy neighborhood, back then. Same feeling of sadness, loneliness, despair. I was wearing a white tee-shirt, bluejeans, and tennis shoes. We had money to dress me, but only just.

Everything shimmered in the almost horizontal rays of the descending sun. Nothing moved on our street. No cars, no people. The only people you would ever see would be children playing from one front yard to another. And my grandfather coming downhill to visit his daughter and me once a day, to sneak a cigarette, and even a beer from time to time. About twice a year. The bugs are still alive, but tired from the long Summer coming to an end. Their end as well. Ever-present flies bumping into the glass and landing on the furniture. Nobody home but me. Where were they? Where was Mother? Was I reading? Probably. I usually was. There wasn't much else to do. I had no friends. I couldn't make friends, there was always something wrong with me, and they didn't like me. So I read a lot.

There went a car past the half-closed blinds, finally, all black and chromium and with a steel-pointed nose. I didn't know whose car it was. I rarely noticed anything in detail. I wouldn't recognize my own family's car except for the color. It was a jeep, disguised as a country sedan, with steel panels painted to look like wood. Later on it would be called a station wagon. For country living. The blocks were short and the corners were square where I lived. There were curbs but no sidewalks. It wasn't the country. It was called the suburbs, which meant that there was nowhere to go unless somebody's mother took you, and mine wasn't taking me anywhere, and since I was not in on any of the other kid's activities, their mothers weren't going to take me anywhere either.

It was 1956, and I had been living on this planet for 13 years. I wore glasses and was called four-eyes. Being mentally slow, I had not yet caught on that there was no purpose to life, although I was certainly told that I had no purpose often enough. Everyone else seemed to be moving around and doing things, and those things seemed to be important to them, but I didn't know why. Only later did I finally figure out that they weren't important, that nothing was important, and never would be.

Well, the sun has finally gone down. It was time for supper, and then a shower, and then bed and more reading, and tomorrow morning I could watch the shadows move in the other direction for a while.