(Sunday) Orange Bikinis On A Hot Tin Roof
That tree, planted two years ago, is almost twenty feet high.It hides the debris behind the fence.Leaves fall in bunches,Or cascade down like ballerinas leaping in slow motion.Even the deejay gets tired of hearing his own voice.William hates everything and everyone. At times, it is not certain if bitterness comes with aging or if cynicism is a rite of passage.Most people I know grew tired of reinventing themselves long ago. They wake up each morning like prisoners in solitary confinement.Some have opinions they share with so much passion you can almost hear their hearts breaking. Others sit and stare at the trees asking only that you keep their glasses filled. A lot of the women have held on to a youthful quality, mixed with a fading sadness only they can feel.William dropped out of sight years ago. Visiting William is equivalent to an audience with someone considered important.The first hour of every visit is filled with a tour of his property. Out behind the lake he gets excited about new plantings and a rock wall the size of China.The wall surrounds his property line like a fence built to keep secrets hidden. The people he hires to help him build his fortress never carried a birth certificate over any borders. These men have skills no longer taught in America. They can carry the earth on their shoulders and ask only for a glass of water.William likes to pontificate about the fall of the empire. He keeps a warehouse filled with water and cans of food. Some nights, after the sun has surrendered he checks the status of his batteries and a generator kept buried behind a big red barn. He has a vegetable garden filled to overgrowing with tomatoes, corn and potatoes. He is no longer capable of conversations. When you visit its a marathon of speeches about the decline of western civilization."Put all your money in Gold!" he yells in to the distance out behind his home. A home, long ago abandoned for living purposes for anyone except William.The debris inside his kitchen is piled so high no one could recognize he once cared about cooking. The living room has one chair not filled with newspapers, books and leftovers from meals prepared before that fateful day.A psychiatrist would have a field day if allowed inside William's head. It would be a lifetime's worth of new studies on the effect of gamma rays on man in the moon marigolds. A dysfunctional ism so profound it defies logic or definition. Still, he gets excited when the next door neighbor decides to tan herself in a string bikini atop the garage, sitting on an orange blanket on the tin roof."Can you imagine how hot that roof is in this heat?" he says out loud when I visited last weekend. "She's out there every morning. She wears a different color bikini every day.It's gotten so I can tell what day of the week it is by the color she's wearing. Today is Sunday. She wears orange on Sunday. Do you see the way the blanket matches her bikini? That takes some doing don't you think? Did you ever think you would live in a society where a person can match their bikini to a blanket? She drinks water like it was going out of fashion. Yesterday, for the first time I saw her do something that would cause her generation to freak out. She was smoking a cigarette. It's the mark of decadence you know in the modern world. Soon it will be sold like wine."Watching William pontificate about the lady in the orange bikini was embarrassing. I could not deny how his observations held a clarity not many his age are willing to share. We stood on a small deck behind his house for several hours talking. He talked. I listened. I tried several times to lighten the conversation with anecdotes about travel. "William, you need a road map to get from one room to another in your house." He stopped talking long enough to look over his shoulder at the debris commenting, "It's a work in progress."While standing on his deck, looking down at ten acres of perfectly manicured grass; with the bikini lady on her tin roof, William managed to mention what was left worth celebrating. "At my age," he said noting how eighty is the new sixty, "I get excited about very little. I listened to enough opera to understand this is as good as it gets. That crap your generation grew up listening to has no redeeming value. The deejays should be arrested. They overplayed the same songs so many times it's become fodder for selling us shit to eat. The deejays should be put in a special prison. A place with perfect acoustics and modulation. And the same ten songs are played all day long until they can safely be transported to an asylum for the criminally insane."Sometimes William will say things that cause you to laugh out loud. He does not know he is being funny. As the sun set, for the first time all day he got quiet. "Wait until you see this?" he whispered in reverence. I stood trying to see what he was seeing. The lady in the orange bikini was stretching before getting up to go inside. She did a strange dance as the soles of her feet stood on the hot tin roof. I looked over at William. He was looking to the horizon. The sun slowly disappeared behind the mountains. He had tears in his eyes saying, "Beautiful."Keep smiling and Rock On, Kiddrane out near Lake Marie wondering what color she wears on Monday.