Thursday, September 12, 2013

After the Sunset

After the Sunset

    Let me tell you about after the sunset or what I know about after the sunset.
    We were immersed by a herd of Bedlington Terriers. Four moppy little gray dogs stampeding toward the water. A slightly whiter, moppy little dog with a genetic mohawk from the top of its head to the tip of its nose trailed behind them. The breeder of the dogs, a broad shirtless red and white man, balding and middle aged with a beer gut and defiantly proud posture, bounced down to the shore. Instead of the dogs following him to the water, they detoured to our camp.
    Is there anything more emotionally satisfying than petting a dog? Petting a designed dog with curly teddy bear hair and a perfectly plastic looking snout still wet and glistening because it is still real and alive? Petting a herd of designed dogs in recline with the reward of compassionate stroking and petting? Petting a wet dog with thoughts of loyalty, though it does not understand word, but does recognize the action? Brushing away the anomalies in their coats gently, but meaningfully?
    Yes. There is, but this would do.
    "They're okay?" the breeder yelled to us. I waved my hand to indicate yes. Eventually Savannah and Haleh ran over to the breeder of the terriers. Jacob and I watched and made quiet sarcastic comments. "You have questions." He told them. 

"Bashar Assad's government must be punished after allegedly using deadly chemical weapons, possibly including sarin gas to kill hundreds of Syrians."
-The Associated Press, August 2013

Read the sentence again. Focus on two seemingly benign words: allegedly and possibly. Translation: United States policy is shoot first and ask questions later. In America we are confidant about our actions, but a bit wishy-washy about our explanations. We tried to attack another country in the Middle East: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and no doubt countless others I am woefully unaware of.
    When the light was still good, I saw her naked beneath her bathing suit, white wet cloth barely concealing her peach and tan skin. An Iranian and an American and a beautiful girl with no doubt beautiful and terrible thoughts in her mind. 

    Let me tell you about after the sunset or what I know about after the sunset.
    We walked on the beach towards the east in near total darkness. At first Jacob posted up next to Savannah. Haleh was next to Savannah, farther away, closer to the water. Facial and figure expressions were faint. I lagged behind them. I ran to catch up and create an equal sequence of four instead of an uneven sequence of three. When I reached them Haleh dashed forward. Savannah sped up, turned in front of Jacob, then me and grouped with Haleh. Ahead of the boys.
    The waves had grown near deafening. As the ability of ones eyes recede the other most present sense takes over their perception. I learned my second sense is sound, again. The white noise of the waves of water crashing against sand and rocks over and over, relentlessly crashing, foaming, bubbling, sloshing, misting, gurgling, roaring, the waves were roaring.
    I hate myself sometimes for knowing I should be doing something, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I am a procrastinator. I have to live with this.
    Jacob stopped walking, but I did not know. I was staring at my feet moving in front of my dwindling line of visions. Wide feet walking in wet sand. Eventually I looked up. Haleh was faint, but far ahead of me. I could no longer see Savannah. I looked back and barely saw Jacob, staring to the west. I shrugged my shoulder to the east to imply walking with no luck in him responding. Then I simply shrugged and tried to catch up with the girls without running. I looked back again.. I almost reached Haleh. I still could not see Savannah. Haleh dashed ahead once again. I kept walking until I saw them both. I stopped because they had stopped. They were talking. I looked back at Jacob, who was nearly out of sight. I looked over to Savannah and Haleh. They began walking towards the west and me and Jacob. I began walking west and towards Jacob hoping we had not lost them to unknowable darkness. Dark white noise.
    We were a group again on the walk back to the car. We found a small sand dune and tried to smash it down to the water with our feet. We could have done it if we were more determined, but we were hungry.

    Let me tell you about after the sunset or what I know about after the sunset.
    We went to a Mexican restaurant in a plaza with dental care offices and wine distributors. It had a triangle-shaped court yard with a gazebo and a fountain. Rose bushes scattered the courtyard. I could not tell it is was fake or surreal or if there was ever really a difference between this place and the places I truly know. 
    "I've had better quesadillas, but these will do for now." Some asshole said.
    After dinner, Jacob and Savannah sat under the gazebo. Jacob started rubbing Savannah's neck. I leaned against a wood post supporting the roof of the gazebo staring into the dark sky. Haleh cradled, then plucked a rose from a rose bush by the fountain.
    I elected myself to drive home. Not a hard sell from the rest of the group. I stopped for gas and coffee, then drove home to Lafayette, Indiana with two slumbering girls in the back seat and a barely conscious young man in the passenger seat, trying to listen to me pontificate about the song I recognized on the radio. They were adorable in the backseat car light, sleeping head to head when I opened the car door.
    "We're home." I said.

     Lake Michigan has been I vacation destination through the most wonderful and most dreadful times of the past century, when taking flight was not necessarily an option. The Globalization of my mind almost lost this notion. Almost.

Aaron C. Molden

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