And it ends there.  The torn page ends there and there is no more to be read and why Maddie tore it out—this page—perhaps random no reason the cerebral melancholy of a woman trying to understand what a man loves.  It is a selection.  Whether it is early or late a postmark to her own soul staring into another and all that really happens as she reads it reads it again the sound of a train blowing its whistle.  Far away but coming to her like the past.  The sound coming from the river.  Her fingers find another chord but she doesn’t know what’s happening right now.  She doesn’t know Benjy and Aaron are at the train bridge how it will be Benjy who pays her a visit and not his father.  That is for tomorrow the day she dies so what are you doing when it happens—death—and is yours the same as someone you know someone who’s shared that inestimable price of marking in you a time when you were happy or sad a person you shared a secret with a secret about yourself that no one else in the world knows save God and those unseen spirits—do you mourn?  You see David couldn’t put himself in his son’s place.  He could not pay that price could not barter his soul to save him.  He’d already done that a long time ago.  He’d already tried to beat the devil.  At least he thought he did and by that thought he could think of nothing else no other sacrifice because would you if you knew—would Maddie have done something different when she heard that train if she knew a finality was happening something you don’t get another chance at and once it’s over it’s over and perhaps something is ruined irreparable in that person who knew you who perhaps knew you well better than anybody else someone you revealed yourself to so that when they came calling you weren’t afraid to answer you answered even if you knew they would find you naked and you were not ashamed you weren’t afraid.  This finality a strange death in that you still see them you still see the people that died to you or this even harder to fathom—you are dead to them.  Because Benjy hadn’t died yet.  It was Aaron.  But in what happened as that train went by the train Maddie heard from far away as she spent time in a room she’d spent too much time in surrounded by David’s writing his music the guitar his son never wanted a change happened that was irrevocable and the moment is tragic without you ever knowing it and in the blink of eye your life is changed and you have the rest of your life to ponder it even if it is but one more day even if one more day is all you need.  That soul that knew your soul.  And even if you mark down the price if you put your soul on sale it doesn’t matter because it’s too late and for all time after you are left with wondering if only you put your soul on the market before this irrevocable change when you take away all a person’s got and all they’ll ever have and if the dead could come back what would you say to them what could you possibly give what could you say which redeems it which hold the keys the power over all this sin and death?  And the dead are silent.  You don’t go look for the living among the dead.  And sometimes mercy is too late.  Sometimes you can’t ask for forgiveness even if the person is there even if they stand right in front of you if they pay you a visit and give you the chance to say all you want to say as if saying it can make it go back make time go back to that moment of finality and you are given the chance to make another choice and draw out a new and different adventure another day to your life… Just as that torn page which Maddie stole and read just as the sheet music on her bed the guitar on which her fingers find another chord the posturing the time increment of when a cigarette is lit and then put out the view from her room the balcony which overlooks Hemphill and that river in the distance Maddie must mourn even though she doesn’t know that’s what she’s doing.  She doesn’t know a tree will be on fire soon.  And all in it burning how the past burns.  She doesn’t know she will be dead soon and even if she did if she knew her death would save David’s life (leaving him deaf in one ear) would she could she change just one small detail making it a different story.  Because we don’t really have the story.  The story of what happened on that train bridge April Fool’s Day the day Benjy killed Aaron for raping his sister and all we have is dream images of a tree house where Dulcinea hid and a long time ago it seems what is etched there—the etching Benjy made with a heart when they were children their mother Bethany calling to them.  All symbols are lost in death.  Just as David’s journal from that time burned save the page that Maddie kept…  So go easy.  Go easy on your time and the tragedies maybe happening at this moment unbeknownst to you.  Be comforted you do not know.  Better to know it ends there it truly ends and nothing more because the truth is it’s always easier dealing with your own end than dealing with the end of another.  A page which stops with one word you know leads to another basic joy.  A curse…

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