Sansaku: He Talked Up
We tend to reduce a story to its end, but ends are tricky. Take this three-sentence chapter. It can come at the start or the end of the story. The last line, “I love you.” But we need the first for context. “Sitting alone in a bar, the drunk walked up to her.” The symbolic sentence connects the two, “She hadn’t seen her mother in years.”
There needs to be long dramatic pauses between each of the three sentences. The fractal sentence, “I love you,” is infinitely complex. I’m still writing about Corder. You need to know, he’s been dead forty years and I’ve never known him better.
A story like this is made whole cloth, even when it comes in parts and pieces. He was torn to pieces.
Relationships, mysteriously, can exist out of time and space. They can go on, keep growing. Corder’s in his soul form now. Without him, I’m not sure I could have understood redemption, grace and forgiveness.
Corder died perfectly ripe. He was not a timberline tree like I am. He always drove fast. I like to walk. He told me, “You know I sowed my wild oats. I just didn’t plan on a bumper crop. And, damn, my reapers are all worn out.” We laughed loud and people wondered.
People who didn’t know him, but had heard of him, sometimes called him Dallas. I loved when that happened. Denver looked like a crow and was very opportunistic. This was easy prey.
There’s a father wound in me, where I come from. I can’t see the bottom. Am I good enough? Are you good enough? I had to test him. Are you honest? He gave me the crow stare that seemed to assess how much I could handle.
When I asked about his relationship with Irma, the answer sounded like a line. “Don’t you know? No one can see into another person’s relationship. Your relationship with her isn’t mine.” I got it. Say no more. But I was grateful when he did.
Corder didn’t use an alias. He changed his name to Denver. I doubt he made it legal. Garon wrote a homily for his church last week where he told the story of learning his birth certificate was a forgery.
It reads like a mystery and I really should tell the whole story. We all knew who did it. Corder was district attorney when he committed the crime. I’ll always think of his escape to Tombstone as a get-away. Instead of wearing a disguise, he took it off. Hence, Denver.
His parents named him Corder after an uncle, a well-known judge. He was also a well-known drunk. What were they thinking? Corder lived up to his name. He needed to leave it behind.
The piano at the Crystal Palace was against the wall on the side opposite the bar. He had to turn around to see the crowd, which meant he often stopped in the middle of a song.
They didn’t come to hear him play, although they requested song after song. He played them, often making up the words. When someone gave him shit, he had the excuse he was looking for. Not that he needed one.
He’d played Doc Holliday in a cheesy production that’s still being shown in Tombstone and earned him the nickname, Doc. Until I saw that film, I’d never seen him run. It was strange for me to realize, I didn’t know my father. The stories I’d grown up with, re-contextualized.
He was no longer Corder or dad, that was a past incarnation. Luckily, he remembered it well. He never talked down, always up.