I read that the world is going to end with a bang. One day the tractor will run again. My left wrist is hurting, but that’s not unusual. Most of these sentences have been relatively simple; I should complex it up a bit. I’m already stalling. My mind wants to focus on something—anything—but it can’t. I want this stuff to stop. I think I’m losing myself. Where did I put that vase? Mother’s going to kill me. I keep hearing this ringing, but I don’t know what it is. And I’m so tired…
The first time Ella saw Hank, she didn’t think he was anything special. Sure, he looked different, with his skin that milky brown color and his eyes so black, but mostly he just looked normal. Not like the person she was going to fall in love with and marry. But first impressions are often so wrong. Hank proved to be unlike anything she’d ever imagined. Sometimes she thought his brilliance was too much, that he really was “off his rocker,” like her Mama would say, like when he would ramble and say things that made no true sense to anyone, not even the dogs. Other times he would just stare and say nothing at all. Always, though, he was sweet and loving, especially to Ella.
Sometimes I get the distinct impression that I’m more than just Hank Tasla, that I’m really more than one person, living more than just one life. This is the main one, the most important one, the one that I’m pretty sure is the real one, but sometimes I have my doubts. When I lay down at night, my dreams are so surreal and vivid that I’m sure they are actually happening. I dreamt last night that I was a little boy of five or six, playing on the floor with colorful, soft things and small, plastic men, beneath the glow of a wide moving picture-box. The box was mesmerizing, but so were the toys. I don’t even know how to describe the things I was seeing or doing, but it felt just like I was really there, doing it. Of course, when I woke up this morning I was here again, in my own bed. This is the way it always happens, but sometimes I wonder if I’ll stop waking up here and stay where I’m dreaming.
Ella and Hank walked to school together every morning. She was a head-and-a-half taller than him, but that is not unusual among adolescent children. They would go off down the dirt road toward the little one room school in Mt. Easter, always side by side. The walk would take their little legs about half an hour to make, all the while picking up other students on their trip. I’d sit here on this porch and watch ‘em make that trip almost every morning, curious to see how the situation would turn out. The Tasla’s were the first colored family to move to this region, so I had an interest in seeing how the young boy would be treated by his peers. Ella seemed to take to him all right.
I did well on my spelling words Mrs. Epperson assigned to us, but I’ve always thought that I had a good grasp on vocabulary. Perhaps it’s from the dreams. Sometimes I am an older man, with a job and a family, a house and a car, a large television and a small cell phone. I’m experienced and educated, so I already know these words. But whenever I bring up these strange things to anybody around here, nobody knows what I’m talking about. ‘Hank,’ they say, ‘you’ve got such a wild imagination.’ Maybe I do. And some days I can’t even remember what these devices are called. It’s all so confusing. That’s why I’ve started writing all of my waking thoughts down.