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Heidi's Neighbor's Son

It was one of those Saturdays. Languidly overcast, still and quiet.
An old cassette tape suddenly became a temporal teleportation device.
You remember don't you?
Weekend visitation rights, right?
Don't you remember getting dropped off?
When Dad would drive us over in his beat up Volkswagen, you know the one he spent Saturdays trying to keep running, sprawled out in the driveway with all of his tools and shit everywhere. You remember, don't you?
So Dad would drive us over to Mom's new place, an apartment in a totally uncool part of town, everything the color of dirty khaki.
And then what if Dad would become silent for the entire ride? What if Danny, Mom's new boyfriend, had parked his car right in front of the eight single-family units?
Single-family units remember?
The apartment complex, like the one we used to live in, but now just Mom lived here.
O yeah, and we lived here on the weekends.
How did Dad always know Danny's car? How could he tell? Was it a bumper sticker he'd remember suddenly from when they were still married,
You know, the time mom said to Dad over dinner,
"Oh, that's Danny from work"

Don't you remember the apartment complex she lived in?
You know, the one with the shitty pool, too far from the 7-Eleven to walk.
       "No Oz didn't never give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't, he didn't already have."

That's what was playing on the radio in the car, remember when Dad dropped us off?
And then it was on Mom's shitty boombox, just like the one I've got now.
And it was the same song. In the house and in the car.
Get it? Mom and Dad still listened to the same radio station,
There was still hope, right?
Remember with me for a second goddamnit. Please?
Please, help me remember the lemon-haired girl by the pool speaking to the sky.

And we would get to Mom's shitty plaster apartment that was a museum replica of the old house with terrible new gadgets. All the cross-stitch shit. All the old furniture she got out of the settlement. And there was nothing to do but the radio was on, the radio was on always buzzing.
And Mom was busy with new love. Don't you remember it was about to rain?
    "Or the Tropic of Sir Galahad, so please believe in me when I say…OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO"

Wasn't that it, do you remember, why the rain, do you have anything to say for yourself? I mean we were there together, I mean fucking say something, I'm going to shove this song down your fucking throat until you remember, remember the way Dad's face looked in the rearview mirror. Remember, Remember, DAMN YOU!
     "No Oz didn't never give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't, he didn't already have."

-Charles Waters

 

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f[email protected] | December 2000 | Issue 9