Saturday, June 30, 2012 chained... (3)

On the third day, Rodnee asked me a more personal question. The man chained to a tree looked fragile, weaker, and closer to the end of his protest, though he might’ve looked exactly the same and my imagination had deteriorated him, I couldn’t tell.  Other than the man, there wasn’t any other character worth mentioning, even when Rodnee showed up in a Doors shirt, wearing the same patched jeans, lip ring and barefoot, hair in three braids, earphones rocking and rolling her. This time, the treat she brought was rolled and tucked behind her ear, and I didn’t have to answer a question for her to pass it over once she lit up. “You won’t get fired will you?” The thought hadn’t even occurred to me. I felt no fear of consequence, and told her, “I’m not sure anyone even knows my name there.” We sat silently, toking on her joint and watching the man, who was now lightly shifting from foot to foot but otherwise, appeared the same as he had been.  Then, the question came, “Is there anything in this whole stupid world that you care about like that?” waving her hand towards the man. I felt comfortable enough to assume, “You’d chain yourself to a tree for music, wouldn’t you?”  She laughed and coughed, smoke blowing out her mouth and nose as her face turned a dark red. She shook her head a little. “Yeah, the right kind of music, for sure.  Answer me.” I inhaled deeply on the joint and watched the smoke float up through the park, into the tree and out into the sky. An old lady shook her head at us and I wondered if she even noticed the chained man. “What do you think he cares about enough to be there?  It’s not a woman, is it? There are no reports of this park being closed down and he doesn’t look like an environmentalist. Is he against crime? Starvation and homelessness? Who isn’t? Is he protesting a disease, a religion, abortion? War? Is he even protesting at all?  Maybe he just wants to test himself. There’s so much to care about, isn’t there?  I’d rather not choose at all than have to choose just one or two issues to support. I think he’s there because there really isn’t anything else for him. That’s why I’m on this bench, at least. The question probably isn’t what he cares enough about to be there, I’m pretty sure it’s: why do we care about him enough to sit here every day?” I took a breath and looked over at her, feeling her thigh press hard into mine. She was staring at her toes and didn’t notice that I was trying to pass her the joint. I could feel the heat of the cherry reaching my fingertips.

The next day, the fourth day of the week and the sixth day of the man being chained to a tree, Rodnee once again had a gift, but it wasn’t for me. Cradled in her hands was a styrofoam cup full of what I assumed was soup.  She stood in front of me, blocking the man and the sun, creating a blasting glow around her silhouette and making her appear more beautiful than she truly was. “What do you think?” she asked, her eyes electric, like she just found out her favourite band was coming to town. Today, it was The Steve Miller Band displayed on her body, and the same patched jeans, barefoot, with earphones forever blasting a lost rock tune into her head. Four braids, lip ring, scar on her forehead. This was Rodnee as I will always remember her.  I eyed the soup and said, “I don’t usually eat liquids”, not realizing how dumb that might’ve sounded even if I had understood her question in the first place. “No, for the man. I’m sure he’s really into this whole chain thing and the suffering probably feels great for him, but I can tell he’s hungry, can’t you? Who would say no to free soup? It’s broccoli and cheddar!”  She turned to look at him and I stretched my neck to see around her, glancing at the Deep Purple patch opposite from the Cream one on her left ass cheek. The man didn’t look hungry to me, but he was leaning against the tree with his head hanging down, so I couldn’t tell if he was still mumbling, but I imagined he was. He wasn’t shifting weight anymore, he just seemed to be waiting for the end. Approaching him with soup seemed like a terrible idea for someone like me to do, but I felt confident that Rodnee could somehow charm this man chained to a tree.

(End of Part 3)

This is original writing and copyright and all that fine print kind of stuff. Please credit this to Chessterr Hollowberry. Thanks!

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