Wally Rorschach has been on my mind a lot. A related subject came up in the fiction course yesterday. It has a lot to do with my smoking habit, which I’ve gotten away from. The torture continues and continues but it makes sense. I’ve had a few smokes in the last month but have basically given up the habit. It feels good, my lungs feel cavernous, and my energy level–with some strange alterations in brain chemistry–is up. But cold turkey is still torture.
But what if you’re seventy some-odd years of age? Wally isn’t. He’s in his 60s; he’s lost his wife; and he’s basically tired of his adult children, who’d rather worry about his problems rather than about their own. He’d quit smoking years ago, but has decided to take up the habit again. Why not? What can his children argue?
A women is accosted by her own children; she’s 80, tired, sick, and about to be hooked into a nursing home.
“Mother, you’ve never used that kind of language before.”
“I’m taking up cussing,” the woman says. “I’m giving you cussing for Christmas, Shitforbbrains.”
She understands her gardens; rolls artery marbles with her fingers in sleep; she remembers Arlington; she can still smell her husbands homecoming(1944). She’s lucky that she has a batterypowered wheelchair. She decides to take off in that chair and head down the highway. Where will she go? Why not depart? And what about that couple she meets at a rest stop? A man and a women who smile a lot and offer to strap her and her cart to the top of their van.
“For the wind,” the woman says.
“I remember the wind,” the old woman says.
Wally wont know what to make of this image. But it will be something he can follow. Why not?
“Things with wheels,” he says.
“Right answer,” says Swellman. “But what’s the difference between running away and running into?”
“Maybe I can show you,” Wally says. The knuckle he taps against a coffee cup sounds like cavedrip.
“How old is that sound?” Swellman asks.
“What are you looking at?”
Swellman turns away from the big window, smeared with morning handprints.
“That women on the van the other day.”
Wally smiles. He reaches across the table and taps Swellman’s temple with a knuckle. “I need a pair of socks,” he says. “I don’t like muddy socks.”